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South Korean operator KT has announced that it has sold its entire stake of 40 percent in Mongolia Telecom Company (MTC) to the government of Mongolia, putting the operator back in full state control. No financial details related to the transaction have been disclosed....
Air pollution is involved in the deaths of around seven million people every year, with the vast majority of fatalities taking place in poorer countries.
The latest figures released by the World Health Organisation (WHO) show that nine out of 10 people are breathing air containing dangerous levels of pollutants.
These results largely echo those released in another global air pollution report in April, and experts have once again pointed to the particular burden falling on the world’s most vulnerable people.
“Air pollution threatens us all, but the poorest and most marginalised people bear the brunt of the burden,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO.
The new figures come as reports emerge concerning residents of Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar, drinking “oxygen cocktails” in an effort to ward off the harmful effects of air pollution.
Ranked by Unicef as the most polluted capital city in the world, Ulaanbaatar is one of the many Asian and African cities highlighted as particularly susceptible to the toxic effects of air pollution by WHO.
According to Dr Maria Neira, who leads public health efforts at WHO, many of the world’s megacities – such as Beijing, Delhi and Jakarta – exceed guideline levels for air quality by more than five times.
However, since 2016 – the year the new figures were calculated for – more than 1000 new cities have been added to WHO’s air pollution database, suggesting more and more countries are taking an active interest in monitoring and controlling pollution levels.
"Oxygen cocktails" in Ulaanbaatar
To cope with pollution in the Mongolian capital, residents have taken to drinking "lung tea" and "oxygen cocktails"
WHO experts have insisted that these bubble-infused drinks have no medical benefit, but people are desperate and say the government is not doing enough to protect their health
Drink brands with names like “Life is Air” compare their benefits to “walks in lush forests”
Ulaanbaatar was ranked the world’s most polluted capital city in a 2016 report by Unicef
The city’s air pollution problem is exacerbated by its poorer residents’ reliance on high-polluting coal stoves
The database now stands at over 4300 cities, making it the most comprehensive of its kind in the world.
There has also been an increase in air pollution monitoring from low- and middle-income countries in recent years – where the figures suggest more than 90 per cent of air pollution deaths are occurring.
“Political leaders at all levels of government, including city mayors, are now starting to pay attention and take action,” adds Dr Tedros.
“The good news is that we are seeing more and more governments increasing commitments to monitor and reduce air pollution as well as more global action from the health sector and other sectors like transport, housing and energy.”
WHO’s measures of air pollution focus specifically on concentrations of fine particulate matter, which are linked with diseases including stroke, heart disease and lung cancer.
“Imagine those pollutants getting very deep into your lungs and cardiovascular system and causing the terrible figure today, which is 7 million premature deaths every year,” said Dr Neira.
While generally speaking air pollution is not the primary cause of someone’s death, experts agree that it certainly contributes to diseases and shortens lives.
“There is no doubt that air pollution represents today not only the biggest environmental risk to our health, but I would also clearly say this is a major challenge for public health at the moment – probably one of the biggest ones we are contemplating,” said Dr Neira.
Besides so-called ambient or outdoor air pollution, the new figures emphasised the problem of household air pollution from cooking with highly polluting fuels and stoves.
“What is very important with air pollution is that it comes from multiple sources, so it is crucial to know where the air pollution comes from,” said Dr Sophie Gumy, technical officer in WHO’s department of public health, environmental and social determinants of health.
It is estimated that around three billion people still do not have access to cleaner fuels and technologies to use in their homes, resulting in a pollution burden that falls primarily on women and children.
WHO highlighted the need to clean up household air pollution in the developing world, as well as wider efforts to implement cleaner transport and energy systems.
In the UK, the conversation around air pollution has mainly focused on nitrogen dioxide – a toxic gas emitted primarily by diesel vehicles that the government has repeatedly failed to meet legal limits for.
However, the new WHO data reveal the UK is also threatened by particulate matter, with more than half of the country’s towns and cities measured suffering from levels above recommended limits.
In light of recent legal action against the government, environmentalists have taken the new WHO figures as another signal that ministers need to act to tackle pollution.
“These new statistics show a worrying level of this dangerous air pollution across the country. People shouldn’t have to breathe air on a daily basis which the WHO deems unhealthy,” said James Thornton, CEO of environmental lawyers ClientEarth.
“A new Clean Air Act would protect our right to breathe clean air and drive greater ambition to meet safer WHO guideline levels.
“Ministers should commit to this now. Without it, many people across the UK will continue to pay with their health.”
However Professor Anthony Frew, a respiratory medicine specialist at Royal Sussex County Hospital, noted that the UK population is largely spared the worst health effects of air pollution.
At the same time, he noted the developing world is bearing the brunt of air pollution in part due to consumer demand from wealthier nations.
“This report is a timely reminder that we in the West need to remember that we are lucky to live where we do, but our prosperity is built in part on polluting industries elsewhere in the world which impact on ot...
On 13 April, the President of the Bank of Mongolia issued a decree to establish a simplified ‘single window service’ for the purchase of gold items from locals across the provinces. The Bank of Mongolia purchased 2.3 tons of gold from legal entities and individuals in the first quarter of 2018, up 2.1 percent on the same period last year.
As of March, the central bank's average gold purchase rate (gold price) was 101.822.3 tugrik (42.56 U.S. dollars) per gram, which corresponds to a low rate on the London Metal Exchange, according to Bank of Mongolia experts.
It is expected that the gold purchase will increase with the start of the peak of gold mining period in August, September and October.
The gold producers in cooperation with the government of Mongolia have carried out a number of measures directed at enriching the treasury fund and improving the legal environment on foreign exchange over the past five years. As a result, gold miners provided 20.01 tons of gold to the central bank in 2017, contributing 800 million dollars to the state treasury.
Annual gold production had not surpassed 20 tons since 2005 when it reached its record high of 25 tons.
A new world standard football field worth MNT 800 million will be constructed in the slopes of Bogd Khan Mountain. Located south of Ulaanbaatar, the site is surrounded by beautiful scenery and is practically untouched by the air pollution which plagues the capital during the winter months.
Mongolia has national football teams in nine age categories and taking part in international matches. However weather and environmental conditions cause difficulties for trainings. To tackle this issue, a project on establishment of a training centre for the national teams has been initiated by the Mongolian Football Federation (MFF) and is being implemented in Tuv province, said Sh.Jargalsaikhan, Head of Technical Department of the MFF.
The three year project is being financed from the International Football Federation and the ‘Greenfield’ company of Holland will work as general contractor and ‘Derennaran’ as sub-contractor.
An additional football field with retractable roof is planned to be built. Therefore the new training centre will help Mongolia's national teams save their time and expenses training abroad and will create favorable condition to develop football sport locally, said G.Lkhagvasuren, Provincial Director of Physical Culture and Sports Office.
Japanese electronics giant Panasonic has agreed to pay more than $280m (£203m) to resolve charges brought under US anti-corruption law.
The US said the firm's in-flight entertainment division hired consultants for "improper" purposes and concealed payments to sales agents in China and elsewhere in Asia.
The US said the acts violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Panasonic did not respond to a request for comment.
The payments were made by US-based subsidiary, Panasonic Avionics Corp, between 2007 and 2016, the US said.
In one case, the firm hired a foreign official as a consultant at the same time that the official was negotiating a contract between Panasonic and a government-owned airline in the Middle East.
The official was paid $875,000 over a six-year period, despite doing "little work", according to US documents.
In other cases, Panasonic determined that sales agents in China and elsewhere did not pass anti-bribery certification, but executives "secretly" rehired them as subcontractors, the US said.
Through that process, the employees shielded more than $7m in payments to at least 13 people, the US said.
The US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) said Panasonic also overstated profits in one quarter in 2012 by backdating an agreement with an airline.
The firm has since "separated" several executives involved in or aware of the "misconduct", according to the US Justice Department. It has also improved its internal controls.
The fine includes $143m to resolve the charges from the SEC, a financial regulator, as well as $137.4m for the charges brought by the US Justice Department.
Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ Chairman of Lower House of the Irish Parliament Seán Ó Fearghaíl met with the Minister of Education, Culture, Science and Sports Ts.Tsogzolmaa and exchanged views on bilateral cooperation and discussed on expanding cooperation in education, culture, science and sports sector.
Ireland ranks high with its education quality and curriculum among the European countries and students from Mongolia study in Ireland with their own expenses. Minister of Education, Culture, Science and Sports Ts.Tsogzolmaa proposed Irish side to cooperate in student exchange at government level and the sides agreed to sign a memorandum of cooperation on student exchange within this year. They also talked about possibilities on co-organizing cultural events with Irish cultural agency, exchanging professors in science sector especially in IT field and enriching contents of curriculum.
Ireland has developed equestrian sports highly and this has become the major part of the country's tourism industry. The sides exchanged views on sharing experiences and improving a legal environment for equestrian sports as suggested by the Speaker of the Mongolian Parliament M.Enkhbold.
Seoul, South Korea (CNN)South Korean President Moon Jae-in has convinced North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to hold his upcoming meeting with US President Donald Trump at the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, a source tells CNN.
Moon and Kim met at the same location in Panmunjom last Friday, a historically significant event that was televised worldwide and led to an agreement to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula and formally end the Korean War.
There is a "strong possibility" the summit will be held at the site, with some events possibly scheduled on the northern side of the military demarcation line separating the two countries, according to an official with deep knowledge of North Korea's thinking on the matter.
The venue makes the most sense logistically for Kim, the source said, because media facilities and equipment are already in place, which could the allow the summit to take place "in late May."
Traveling to the northern side of the demilitarized zone (DMZ) would also provide a historic opportunity for Trump, the source said, adding that Moon may be involved in the summit in some capacity.
A spokesperson for the South Korean president appeared to endorse the venue choice when asked about the proposal, Tuesday.
"(We) think Panmunjom is quite meaningful as a place to erode the divide and establish a new milestone for peace," the spokesperson told reporters. "Wouldn't Panmunjom be the most symbolic place?"
The idea of meeting at the DMZ wasn't a complete surprise to Trump's aides, since the president has been talking about it all weekend and raised it in his Sunday phone call with Moon, a senior US official and a person familiar with the conversations told CNN.
Trump loved the images from the inter-Korean summit and the fact the entire meeting was televised, those sources said.
Speaking to reporters Monday, Trump said he was enthusiastic about the idea of holding the summit in the DMZ. "There's something I like about it, because you're there, if things work out, there's a great celebration to be had on the site, not in a third party country," he said.
Millions watched Moon's meeting with Kim last Friday, the first meeting between two leaders of North and South Korea in a decade.
Cameras followed the leaders' movements throughout the day, from Moon's departure from Seoul to the moment Kim crossed the demarcation line into the South -- and encouraged Moon to cross to the North.
The US President wants to be involved in similar scenes when he becomes the first sitting US President to meet a North Korean leader, the source said. He's keen to take part in a cross-border handshake, but also wants photos to document the moment if he decides to stand up and walk out of talks, added the source.
The Singapore option
However, concerns remain inside the administration that Trump may be too eager for a deal. Those same skeptics worry holding the meeting at the DMZ will appear conciliatory toward Kim.
As a result, US officials are still arguing for Singapore as a possible location for the talks, telling Trump it presents a more neutral option, the source told CNN.
The wealthy and glamorous city-state sits on the end of the Malay Peninsula and has often been seen as a gateway between Asia and the West.
A close ally to the United States during the Cold War and currently host to a US military presence, Singapore also has a diplomatic relationship with North Korea. It is one of only 47 countries to feature a North Korean embassy.
Additionally, Singapore has previously held other historic events -- in 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping met with then-Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou in Singapore, the first and only time the leaders of the two Chinas have met since they split in 1949.
But one senior official conceded the symbolism wouldn't be there, and noted there are still logistical considerations to worry about with Singapore.
Singapore also raises problems for Kim. Similar to his father before him, the North Korean leader is reluctant to travel long distances by plane, partly due to security issues -- a plane is vulnerable to attack -- but also due to practical considerations.
"(Kim's) fleet of aircraft are very old and (we're) just honestly not sure if he can physically get to where he needs to go if its further than a certain number of miles away," Jenna Gibson, director of communications at the Korea Economic Institute, told CNN.
Faced with a similar dilemma, Kim Jong Il, Kim's father and previous ruler of North Korea, opted to travel in a custom built armored train, rather than moving around the world by air.
The wild card choice
Another option previously suggested by both sides was Ulaanbaatar, the sparsely-populated capital of Mongolia to the northwest of North Korea.
It might seem like an unusual choice of location but North Korean experts maintain it makes sense to both sides for a number of reasons.
Firstly, the Mongolian government has diplomatic ties with both Pyongyang and Washington, leaving it as a neutral ground for the two leaders.
Additionally from North Korea's perspective, Ulaanbaatar is much closer to North Korea and Kim could likely travel to the summit in comfort on his father's armored train.
"Mongolia is very eager to host this summit, they have come out and said they will host it ... They want to be the Switzerland of Asia, they want to be seen as a partner that can have good ties with everybody," Gibson said.
But it also is not a perfect choice either, as it would require Trump to travel a lot further than Kim, which may be seen as a concession to North Korea from the outset.
Speaking to CNN, Jean Lee, a North Korea expert at the Wilson Center, said a number of other potential options, such as Beijing, Pynongyang and Washington, were eliminated early on due to their political implications or logistical difficulties.
"Ultimately, they need a country where both leaders have the security they need, to have a country where they can meet in common ground ... it's a small number of countries to be honest" said Lee.
Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ At its irregular meeting on April 30, the Cabinet approved to submit draft bill on the 2019 General Guidelines on Social and Economic Development of Mongolia, the 2019 State Budget statement and the 2020-2021 State Budget assumption to the Parliament.
More than MNT 8 trillion and 780 billion has been estimated to be spent on realizing the objectives and actions reflected in the general guideline. Out of which MNT 5 trillion and 170 billion planned to be financed with public and private sector partnership and private investment.
The general guideline contains a total of 123 policy actions with 20 objectives to be implemented through policies including macroeconomic, sectors’ policy to support economic growth, regional and rural development and environmental, social policy on human development, governance, legal reform, foreign policy and defense sector policy.
Furthermore, the Cabinet supported the appointment of Ambassadors of Mongolia to some countries and decided to submit the proposal to the President. The Government agreed to appoint Enkhtsetseg Ochir as an Ambassador to the Kingdom of Sweden, Batjargal Dambadarjaa as an Ambassador to Japan, Ariunbold Yadmaa as an Ambassador to Canada, Tulga Narankhuu, as an Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Tenger Gonchigzeveg as an Ambassador to the Commonwealth of Australia and Chimguundari Navaan-Yunden as an Ambassador to the Kingdom of Thailand.
According to Bold Tsegmed, CEO of Gashuunsukhait Avto Road LLC, the establishment of a road parallel to the Tavantolgoi-Gashuunsukhait road that runs 247 kilometer is currently in discussion.
“Tender bid for the heavy-duty highway under a concession agreement has been announced recently,” informed Mr. Bold. In addition, it was reported that Erdenes Mongol JSC and Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi JSC are studying the feasibility study of the road to Khangi-Mandal border checkpoints.
The annual capacity of coal transport in the Gashuunsukhait route is 21-22 million tons and a total of 17.1 million tons of coal was transported in this route as of the end of 2017. “In the future, there is a possibility to transport 30 million tons of coal a year through Gashuunsukhait checkpoint and thus, the establishment of twin roads is necessary,” Mr. Bold highlighted.
MSE-listed And Energy JSC held its shareholders’ regular meeting on April 25 and approved the Board of Directors’ review to the 2017 operational and financial statements of the company. Last year, the sales revenue of And Energy totalled MNT 944.12 million and net profit - MNT 133.75 million. The profit saw MNT 261.7 million increase, which is 38 percent higher compared to the previous year and its profitability tripled year-over-year.
Thus, the company has decided to distribute dividend of 29 percent of its net profit or MNT 50 per share. However, the founders of the company, four major shareholders, announced that they have decided to distribute 80 percent of their dividend to other shareholders during the meeting, the Market info highlighted. According to the decision, MNT 33.88 million or MNT 127 per share will be distributed to other shareholders who hold a total of 26,544,058 shares.