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ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia (AP) - Mongolians will vote for a new president on Monday in a race pitting a horse salesman against a former judo star and a nationalist wanting to get more from the vast landlocked country's mineral wealth.
The three candidates are seeking to succeed Tsakhia Elbegdorj of the Democratic Party who has served the maximum of two four-year terms. While the nation of 3 million had been an oasis of democratic stability since the end of communist rule nearly three decades ago, its politics have grown increasingly fractious amid an economic crisis and accusations of corruption among the ruling class.
Speaker of the parliament and horse dealer Miyegombo Enkhbold is representing the Mongolian People's Party, which won a landslide victory in legislative elections last year. He faces off against judo champion and business tycoon Khaltmaa Batulgaa of the Democratic Party, with Sainkhuu Ganbaatar of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party rounding out the field.
It's unclear whether Ganbaatar will be eligible to run after a video surfaced of him accepting a campaign donation from a South Korean citizen.
Sandwiched between Russia and China, resource-rich Mongolia has been roiled by financial upheaval and the increasing draw of China's economic and political influence that competes with its ties with the democratic West, especially the United States.
"This election looks orchestrated from the very beginning, with nomination of candidates in a very strange way," said Sumati Luvsandendev, director of the liberal-leaning Mongolian think tank the Sant Maral Foundation. "I have never seen an election like it."
Enkhbold, campaigning under the slogan of "National unity; Mongolian pride," is widely seen as representing stability at a time when Mongolia is showing tentative signs of recovery from its economic crisis brought about by a dramatic drop in global commodity prices.
He has been tainted by allegations of corruption, however. Last month, an audio tape was leaked to the public purportedly of a 90-minute conversation in 2014 between Enkhbold and two of his party's officials discussing a $25 million bribe to reshuffle government positions.
Batulgaa has campaigned on a "Mongolia First" policy, borrowing the language of U.S. President Donald Trump. His manifesto promises "a patriotic president" seeking "equal cooperation" with neighbors like China, which he has criticized in the past.
His company, "Genco," is one of Mongolia's largest, with businesses including hotels, media, banking, alcohol, horsemeat and a Genghis Khan-themed complex. He was also minister of agriculture between 2012 and 2014 and a former member of parliament, as well as president of the Mongolian Judo Association.
However, he too has been tarnished following an investigation last year by the Independent Authority Against Corruption into an alleged misappropriation of funds for a new railway during his time as minister of transport. Batulgaa is also reported to have various offshore accounts, an increasingly sensitive topic.
Ganbaatar, who like Batulgaa failed to keep his seat in 2016, has been a vocal critic of mining giant Rio Tinto, earning him past popularity. The self-described feng shui master and "Robin Hood" has often claimed the country should get a better deal with the company over its copper and gold mine, Oyu Tolgoi. The mine, 66 percent held by Rio subsidiary Turquoise Hill Resources, will account for one third of Mongolia's gross national product by 2020, according to estimates.
Foreign investment in Mongolia has slumped in recent years following weaker commodity prices and high-profile disputes between the government and large investors including Rio Tinto. Mongolia's economy grew just 1 percent last year, down from 17.5 percent in 2011 when it was the world's fastest growing. It now has $23 billion in debt, more than double the size of its economy. Unemployment is roughly 9 percent, with about one in five Mongolians living in poverty.
"Business is difficult," said Erdenechimeg Gunhabaatar, a 26-year-old fruit vendor and father of two. "I really think my government is in a difficult situation, especially with the economic crisis."
"I really hope with the new president, things will get better," Gunhabaatar said.
The country recently secured a $5.5 billion International Monetary Fund-led bailout to stem its financial crisis, with a $500 million bond repayment due in January 2018. Enkhbold's party pledges to continue the IMF's program, including higher taxes and spending cuts, while Ganbaatar has criticized the IMF.
That bailout will likely limit any Mongolian government's room for maneuver over the next several years, said Julian Dierkes, an associate professor at the University of British Columbia.
"The IMF plays a huge role; it locks in certain budgets and raises taxes," Dierkes said.
While a Sant Maral poll earlier this year suggested a strong lead for Enkhbold of the MPP, Luvsandendev says the likelihood of low voter turnout makes the result now "impossible to predict."
At least 50 percent of eligible voters must cast ballots for the election to be valid.
"The youth don't see themselves in the candidates," said Lkhagva Erdene, executive producer of news at independent broadcaster MongolTV. "We and many others feel the only road ahead is the one we pave ourselves."
Saruul Enkhbold contributed to this report....
Vice Ministers, Members of Parliament, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s my great pleasure to welcome you here, as we come together to mark the official birthday of Her Majesty the Queen.
No monarch has reigned longer.
At her coronation in 1953 the Queen promised the peoples she served across the globe:
“Throughout all my life, and with all my heart, I shall strive to be worthy of your trust.”
It’s one thing for a 26 year to utter those words. It is another to live by them for the next 65 years; today Her Majesty is Queen of 16 UN member states and head of the Commonwealth of 52 nations.
So I would like you to raise your glasses for the first toast of the afternoon, to Her Majesty: [The Queen]
Birthdays are a moment to celebrate. And there is much to celebrate in the last year of relations between Mongolia and the UK. Polo, countering the illegal wildlife trade, enhancing export standards, strengthening mental health care, championing women’s rights, the UK and Mongolia are working together here, in the UK, and globally on things that matter to us, that matter to Mongolia, and that matter to the world we all live in.
That wouldn’t be possible without the dedicated embassy team and without all of you, our friends, colleagues and partners. Each of you is here because of what the UK and Mongolia are doing together. And the number and diversity of you says more than words. Thank you.
But birthdays are also a moment to reflect. Reflect on what has changed. What has stayed the same. What has happened. The Queen’s Birthday is no exception.
As the oldest and longest reigning monarch in the world, Her Majesty’s Birthday allows us a particularly long period of reflexion. 91 years to be precise.
But does any of us truly understand what 91 years means? To bring it to life I’m going to quote a short extract from two things that were written in 1926, the year Her Majesty was born.
The first is from a car manual:
The engine is started by the lifting of the crank at the front of the car. Take hold of the handle and push firmly toward the car till you feel the crank engage, then lift upward with a quick swing. With a little experience this operation will become an easy matter.
Fortunately, none of you arrived today having had to use a starting-crank. The beautiful Range Rovers at the entrance demonstrate far better than my speech just how much technology has changed over Her Majesty’s life – and I would like to thank Jaguar Land Rover for their sponsorship of today’s celebration.
The second extract comes from the British children’s classic Winnie the Pooh, also written in 1926:
“Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best,” and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.”
All of us will recognise immediately that moment that so confused Pooh. As the kaleidoscope of technology changes around us, human nature remains stubbornly constant.
That said, I know you won’t have Pooh’s feeling when you visit our sponsor Portmeirion in the Shangri-La mall - as I hope you all will. I thank Portmeirion today, and every time I have tea in my favourite cup. I am never disappointed.
Change and continuity. Which brings me to the last of my three birthday reflexions: what has happened.
A lot in the last year. Since I last stood here both of our countries have had parliamentary elections. And the UK has voted to leave the European Union - a perfect example of continuity and change.
The UK is exiting the EU. But we are not leaving Europe – that would be impossible, our culture, our values and our geography are inextricably entwined with our friends on the Continent.
The UK’s outward looking engagement with the world will also remain unchanged.
Our sponsor Holiday Inn, part of UK InterContinental Hotels Group PLC, is a perfect example of that. IHG’s origins lie in the founding of the Bass Brewery in 1777. Last year I was delighted to open Holiday Inn in Mongolia 9000km and 239 years later - a place that will further invigorate Mongolian business and tourism.
The UK’s global engagement is clear. We remain the only G7 country to have met our UN commitment to spend 0.7% of GNI on overseas development. We have the largest defence spend in Europe. And our universities will continue to foster some of the world’s greatest minds; the only countries to have more Nobel Prize winners than my university, Cambridge, alone has nurtured, are the US, UK and Germany, in that order. Of all the world’s heads of state and government, one in every seven was educated in Britain.
But as the Queen celebrates another birthday, we should pause for one final reflexion. Her Majesty is the only living head of state to have served in World War II. Shortly after her 18th birthday the then Princess Elizabeth trained as a war-time mechanic and truck driver.
3 weeks ago, over 70 years later, Her Majesty toured the wards of Manchester’s Children’s Hospital. She was there to talk with children who had been blown up leaving a concert.
Terrorism stalks the world. And today we remember those affected in recent weeks.
But I also want us to reflect on our personal response.
After the horrific attack, many thousands of people gathered in the central square in Manchester to commemorate the 22 who died and the dozens of injured. After the silence, the crowd struck up a song by Manchester band Oasis: don’t look back in anger.
We stand here today, the UK and Mongolia, as proud democratic nations. Let me conclude with something else the Queen said on her coronation day.
“Parliamentary institutions, with their free speech and respect for the rights of minorities, and the inspiration of a broad tolerance in thought and expression — all this we conceive to be a precious part of our way of life and outlook.
I ask you now to cherish them — and practice them too; then we can go forward together in peace, seeking justice and freedom for all men.”
Politics, events, what happens are shaped by people. We each have a personal part to play. We can choose to engage, to counter the narratives of hate, whatever mask they wear, whether of religion, ideology or nationalism.
Or we can choose to stand by and watch.
Each of us is here today because we have influence and, in different ways, power over narratives or people. As we make our choice each day, let us think of that 26 year old Queen:
“Throughout all my life, and with all my heart, I shall strive to be worthy of your trust.”
May we strive to be worthy of the trust of those over whom we have influence.
Mongolian National Broadcaster announced to organize the first Presidential debate for 2017 election on Jun 24 at 9 p.m. The debate will be carried live nationwide across Mongolian National Broadcaster, Mongolian News, and Mongolian radio.
All three presidential candidates; namely, a nominee of Mongolian People`s Party M.Enkhbold, a nominee of Democratic Party Kh.Battulga and a nominee of Mongolian People`s Revolutionary Party S.Ganbaatar will appear in the debate.
People are able to send their questions until 12 a.m today through 318971, 328643, 7000-1630 and firstname.lastname@example.org as well as http://election2017.mnb.mn
The questions will cover following issues;
Legal and Justice
Economic and social situation
Security and foreign policy
Three build-operate-transfer road projects are being planned in Mongolia. The projects will be carried out between 2017 and 2020. One project is for a 272km link connecting Bichigt with Baruun-Urt. Another project will be carried out from 2017 to 2019 and involves rebuilding the 250km road joining Gashuunsukhait with Tavantolgoi. Widening of a 205km road from capital Ulaanbaatar to Darkan is also planned with the link being upgraded to having two lanes in either direction.
The aims of the projects are to boost safety and capacity, as well as increasing economic activity directly through activating the road construction sector or developing other industries through the availability of better transport links.
BEIJING, June 23 (Reuters) - China's coal imports from Indonesia in May rose 24.5 percent from a year ago to 3.86 million tonnes, the highest level since July 2012, customs data showed on Friday.
Mongolian arrivals during May rose 42 percent from a year earlier to 3.16 million tonnes, while supply from Australia, China's largest coal supplier, fell 5 percent from a year ago, the data showed.
Cuba and Mongolia sign Agreement for the Mutual Recognition of Academic Degrees www.misiones.minrex.gob.cu
Ulaanbaatar. June 22, 2017. His Excellency, Mr Gelegpil Chuluunbaatar, Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Mongolia, signed an agreement on Mutual Recognition of Programs of Studies, Diplomas and Degrees in Higher Education between Mongolia and the Republic of Cuba. On the Cuban side, the Agreement was signed by Cuban Ambassador Raúl Delgado Concepción, who emphasized in his words that this agreement will allow young Mongolian graduates in Cuba to validate their academic qualifications automatically upon their return to Mongolia to begin their professional life.
The Ambassador also pointed out that cooperation in educational matters remains one of the main aspects of the relationship between the two countries, which has allowed more than 160 young Mongols to study different university degrees in Cuba. Of the 20 young Mongolians currently in higher education in Cuba, 19 of them do so in the medical school.
Minister for his part highlighted the results achieved by Cuba in education and said he was happy to be with Cuba with whom he could sign such an important agreement for both countries, which laid the foundations for continuing to strengthen ties of cooperation.
The ceremony was attended representing the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Mongolia, by Mrs. Т.Amarjargalan, Director of Higher Education, Ms E.Enkh-Amgalan, Director of Foreign Cooperation and Ms L.Tsedewsuren , Head of the Department of Administration and Public Management. Representing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia was present Mr. Ganbold, Deputy Director General of the Department of America, Middle East and Africa. (EmbaCuba Mongolia)
Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ The Mongolian Minister for Education, Culture, Science and Sports G.Chuluunbaatar and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Cuba to Mongolia Raul Delgado Consepcion signed the Agreement on Mutual Acknowledgement of Tertiary Education Certification and Degrees between the Government of Mongolia and the Government of the Republic of Cuba.
In accordance with the intergovernmental agreement, the authorities of the two countries will acknowledge each other’s educational certificates and degrees, so that professionals can continue their studies in both countries.
Educational cooperation takes up a great place in the bilateral ties. Since 1960, the Cuban government has been granting scholarships for Mongolian students. A report shows that 140 Mongolian students have received the Cuban Government scholarship grants since 1994. Aside from the dominating number of students specializing in medical science in Cuba, Mongolian students also pursue studies in industry, sports and social studies.
In 2017, the Mongolian government decided to grant scholarships to two Cuban students to study in Mongolia. The National University of Mongolia and the University of Havana inked a cooperation document this year, as well.
The 34 largest banks in the US have money on hand to withstand a severe recession, the US central bank said on Thursday.
The finding comes from an annual "stress test" conducted by the Federal Reserve.
The tests were put in place after the financial crisis to strengthen financial capacity in the event of a downturn.
Banks have been pushing to relax those rules.
Some said Thursday's results could make it easier to convince policymakers to do so.
"We see today's ... stress test results as a positive for Trump administration efforts to deregulate the banks," Jaret Seiberg, a policy analyst with Cowen & Co, told Reuters.
The Federal Reserve tested to see how banks with $50bn (£39.4bn) or more would respond in the event of a global recession, if unemployment increased to 10% and property values declined.
That would trigger combined losses of nearly $500bn over more than two years - including $383bn from loans - but the firms have enough of a cushion to handle such a blow, the Federal Reserve said.
Since 2009, the 34 firms have added more than $750bn in common equity capital, the Federal Reserve said.
Jerome H Powell, a governor of the Federal Reserve who has urged some regulatory reform, said the tests show that "even during a severe recession, our large banks would remain well capitalised".
"This would allow them to lend throughout the economic cycle and support households and businesses when times are tough," he said.
The firms reviewed included Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo.
A second, more closely watched component is due next week.
Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ The unemployment rate of Mongolia reached an all time high of 11.6 percent in the first quarter of 2016 with 143 thousand unemployed people.
Within the framework of the Government’s policies on improving livelihoods and restoring the economy through creation of jobs, multiple job creating projects and programs have been implemented. As a result, the unemployed rate has reduced down to 9.1 percent with 115 thousand unemployed people in the first quarter of 2017.
Specifically, in order to promote light industry through agriculture, USD 420 thousand worth of low-interest rate loans were granted to 10 major national manufacturers, such as “Gobi” JSC, “Denimon” textiles, “Khan-Brand” milk factory, “Mongolian Cattle” meat factory and “Zurgaan Khoshuu” pig farm.
These national brands are expected to create more than 1800 jobs and 40 percent of them will be for women. Presently, three Mongolian companies are aiming to establish co-branding agreement with world-renowned brands by the fourth quarter of 2020.
ULAN BATOR, June 22 (Xinhua) -- The relationship between the law enforcement agencies of Mongolia and the Russian Federation have actively expanded in recent years, said Spokesman of the Parliament of Mongolia Miyegombyn Enkhbold on Wednesday.
Enkhbold emphasized the importance of deepening trade and economic relations between Mongolia and Russia at a meeting with Mukharbek Didigov, deputy chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security.
After the formation of a new parliament and a new government following the previous parliamentary elections in Mongolia, bilateral relations between the two countries began to develop more intensively, said Enkhbold.
A number of mutual visits between the sectoral ministries of Mongolia and Russia have been carried out while several documents on expansion of bilateral cooperation were signed.
"All this confirms a new page opened in the strategic partnership between Mongolia and Russia," said Enkhbold.
The main task of law enforcement bodies is to create a favorable legal environment to attract investment, expand business ties and enhance regional and cross-border cooperation between Russia and Mongolia, said Didigov on a working visit at the invitation of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Policy and Security.