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Waikato man Eion Kemp is always up for a challenge.
And in August he'll leave his home in Matamata to compete in the world's toughest horse race, the Mongol Derby.
The 1000 kilometre derby, in Mongolia, is run across high valleys and open passes, semi-arid dunes, wetland and river crossings.
Many riders compete in the Mongol Derby to win, others just for the experience. Far left is Marie Palzer, a New Zealander who placed sixth in 2017.
Temperatures can drop to -8 degrees Celsius and soar to 50deg C in one day.
In the past, riders had suffered dehydration, hypothermia, broken bones and concussion.
Even the most experience horse riders can get thrown from the wild Mongolian ponies used for the race. Injuries include ...
Even the most experience horse riders can get thrown from the wild Mongolian ponies used for the race. Injuries include broken bones and concussion.
Some were chased by wolves and packs of wild dogs.
The unmarked course changes each year and riders navigate by GPS.
Kemp was comfortable and confident around horses.
Friendships are forged between the riders in the Mongol Derby, a 1000 kilometre horse race in Mongolia.
Friendships are forged between the riders in the Mongol Derby, a 1000 kilometre horse race in Mongolia.
The Kilgraven Lodge owner breaks in and pre-trains thoroughbred race horses but he was yet to meet the Mongolian horses used for the derby.
Described as the "ballistic missiles" of the 13th Century, these tough, revered steeds once carried the all-conquering Mongol warriors across half the world.
Endurance and speed was there niche.
Kemp had been considering the derby for five years.
Last year he "took the punt" and applied.
"I decided it was time do something for myself."
He will join 45 other riders from around the world, including three fom New Zealand.
Kemp said he could have eased into the world of extreme horse racing with shorter races.
But something easier would have been "cheating" himself.
"I am capable of more than that, and I will either make it or I won't.
"It's something different, an adventure out of my comfort zone.
"Challenging myself and what I can do."
He said people entered to win, others for the experience but all had thing in common, to face the challenge head on.
"After three days, the field breaks away," he said.
"The winners will go forward and the people there for the experience will just cruise and probably see more."
He has spent months preparing, but a 1000km race at a gallop is fairly difficult to train for.
"I have done 40km rides, but that's only one leg.
"Treks are walking or trotting, but these horses are designed for galloping for long distances."
And participants are in for a wild ride.
The horses belong to nomadic herding families and breeders along the 1000km course.
But it doesn't mean they are even tempered or broken in.
"I am told the hardest part is getting on them," said Kemp.
"I have spoken to a lot of people who have done the race.
"They say once you get going, you may not have steering but as long as you point them in the right direction, you are half way there."
About 1400 ponies were selected and trained for the annual race.
Horses must be swapped every 40km at stations where riders could also replenish food and drink or spend the night.
Participants could cover 160km a day, changing horses four-to-five times, riding up to 30 steeds throughout the race.
For the horses benefit, riders must weigh under 85kg.
They could carry an additional 5kg on the horse, including sleeping bag, medicine, clothing and shelter.
"It's damn hard to organise your gear," he said.
"You don't have a lot of room or know exactly what you will be facing day to day."
A GPS tracker ensured riders were retiring their horses every 40km and keeping the animals' heart rates down.
It also ensures riders were not on course between 8.30pm and 7am.
If riders don't find a station by 8.30pm, they either ask a Mongolian family to take them in, or sleep under the stars.
Failure to meet guidelines could incur a two-hour penalty.
A requirement of entry was fundraising $1000 for charity.
Half must go to Cool Earth, an environmental charity working in partnership with indigenous communities to protect rainforests.
The other half goes to the riders chosen charity.
For Kemp this is CatWalk SCI Trust, supporting spinal cord injury research to get people with paralysis back on their feet.
But Kemp doesn't do things by half and has arranged a charity auction during the New Zealand Bloodstock sales on May 7.
The guest speaker is Brendan Lindsay, founder of Sistema, who now owns Cambridge Stud.
Kemp said there isn't much for he can do to mentally prepare.
Despite the challenges ahead, he isn't one to quit once he has made up his mind.
"If I don't do it, I will regret it."
It's a costly experience, made possible with sponsors New Zealand Bloodstock, Prydes Feed, Livamol and Gregory Equine.
And it's not an experience he may want to repeat, so winning is his main goal.
"There is no point otherwise. I have a competitive nature, I like to do the best I can....
Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ We interviewed J.Bat-Erdene, Minister of Road and Transport Development on policy, agreements and documents established with China for roads, transportation, railways and border checkpoint development during the official visit of Mongolia’s Prime Minister U.Khurelsukh to China.
-The Prime Minister's visit to China had concrete outcomes rather than just talks. Within the scope of the visit several cooperation documents were signed in the road and transportation sector with China. What is the importance of these documents?
-First of all, we made changes to the memorandum of cooperation signed with China in railways, and agreed to expand the cooperation. The amendments were made to realize works agreed during the visit of China's President Xi Jinping to Mongolia in 2014 and expand railway and border checkpoints.
We talked more about the eastern railway. In this regard, Mongolian Railways and Chinese company signed a memorandum to jointly implement the railway project in route from Khuut-Bichigt to Khuut-Choibalsan. In terms of auto transport, we discussed on transit transportation issues and agreed to continue negotiations on making transportation essential for the two countries. Prior to PM’s visit, I visited China at the invitation of the Chinese Minister of Transport to discuss a number of issues and negotiations are still continuing.
-Will the cross-country railway exits increase?
-Erdenet-Ovoot railway will connect to Kyzyl of Tuva and Kuragino railways. This means that we will have two exits to Russia. The capacity of the Zamyn-Uud-Erlian border checkpoint is becoming insufficient. Therefore, we are discussing to open Khangi-Mandal international border crossing. Khangi Mandal is close to the Bugat city which is the economic and industrial region, so we consider it is possible to export coal and iron ore by opening an international border crossing in this route. We have almost reached an agreement on this issue. So we will have two exits each to Russia and China.
-USD 1.5 billion financing from the government to build a railway is impossible. So, who will build the railway, government or the private sector? Initially railways were supposed to be built by the government, but now the private sector is being relied on to build the railway. Does it seem like the Government is avoiding its policy?
-Regulation runs incorrect. It is impossible to build a railway worth USD 1.5 billion by a transportation agency or ministry alone. Coal buyers or mines that sell the coal should cover the cost for the railway construction in order to buy or sell their product. What I am trying to do is relate the project to the Ministry of Mining and Heavy Industry and it is important to look at the project jointly in a comprehensive way. For example, Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi and Energy Resource could jointly finance and take responsibility for building the railway. This policy should be clarified first. What rail should be built, in what route, and whether coordinates are right or wrong are issues for our ministry. However, raising money should be the mining sector’s issue to solve.
Today, ‘Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi’ has no debts and the company is capable of raising money. As owners of the large Tavan Tolgoi mine, they should raise money to build a railway to transport their products.
-At first 'Energy Resources' proposed to build a railway by itself, but the government suspended it. What
is the reason behind it?
-That is the right principle. If I own a mine, I have to decide to whom I should sell my coal and choose which road to use to deliver the coal. The initial principle of "Energy Resources" was to first build a road. Second, they planned to build a railway. Raising money could succeed when the mine company is guaranteed a profit from coal sales transported by rail. So, we will head in the right direction when we follow this principle.
-What arrangements can be made with state owned 'Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi' company?
-'Energy Resources' is a private company and Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi is a state owned company. So, first of all government should solve this issue. Negotiations should be made, estimating the reserve and value of mineral resources, plan coal mining activity, product sales, and offer proposals.
-Then it means that the government decision will not only focus on railways, but also to solve mining and sales issues of Tavan Tolgoi?
-Government should solve the complex issues. This means resolving issues regarding an increase in coal mining and improving product sales of Tavan Tolgoi. The railway issue will be raised in connection with these issues. In other words, the railroad building shall not be seen separately as a transportation sector issue because the issue will be resolved along with coal mining and money issues.
-A new 200km heavy road is to be built from Tavan Tolgoi to Gashuunsukhait. Will this increase coal transportation from Tavan Tolgoi?
-The railway project must be closely linked to mining operations because it is all about transporting mining products. It is the same regarding auto roads. A bid to construct a new 200km heavy road from Tavan Tolgoi to Gashuunsukhait alongside the existing road was announced and the selection process is underway. By building this new road, trucks loaded with coal will use the new road while the existing road will be used for empty trucks going back to the coal mines. The heavy road will be built with a build-own-operate-transfer concession agreement.
-The PM’s visit had a major impact on shortening the long queue at the Gashuunsukhait border crossing. What measures will be taken in the future?
-During the Prime Minister’s visit to China, we discussed increasing coal exportation to China, improving coal transportation, and logistics issues at the Gashuunsukhait border crossing. As a result, we agreed to make investment of CNY 148 billion or USD 24 million for the development of the Gashuunsukhait border checkpoint. Also, we talked about increasing coal exports of Mongolia. As of today, around 900 vehicles are passing the border loaded with coal. The number of vehicles crossing border reached 1500 at its peak. Therefore, we aim to increase coal transportation to the same volume of the peak.
While the average lifespan in China, the US and the majority of Eastern Europe is now in the late 70s, the rich across the globe are optimistic they will live for a century.
According to UBS Wealth Management, 91 percent of the 5,000 investors it has surveyed are “making financial changes due to increased life expectancy.” Each of those polled has at least $1 million in investable assets, with healthcare stocks as their favored investment.
Some 53 percent of the world’s wealthy expect to still be alive at 100 years of age.
“The idea of living a century was once confined to science fiction,” said the UBS report, titled The Century Club. “But no longer. For the world's wealthy, living a 100-year life is not an outcome they consider a mere possibility. It's one they expect.”
In Asian countries, about half think they will reach that age. Only 30 percent were so confident in the US.
Statistics from the US Social Security Administration showed that in 1930, the average life expectancy for American men was only 58. Fifty years before that, they could expect to live to around 35 years old.
While the millionaires are confident about their longevity, more than 70 percent are worried that their health will deteriorate over the next 10 years. Healthcare costs topped their list of concerns, with 52 percent of investors anxious about rising medical expenses.
The rich are more than willing to sacrifice money for extra longevity. Nine out of 10 wealthy people agreed that “health is more important than wealth.”
Asked by UBS how much of their fortune they’d be willing to give up “to guarantee an extra 10 years of healthy life,” those with $1-$2 million in net worth said could give up a third of their nest egg. Investors with more than $50 million were willing to part with almost half of their fortune for an additional decade of life.
Overall, 77 percent agreed that working as long as possible was good for your health. The sentiment was particularly strong in Asia and Switzerland but far less so in the US and the UK.
The Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi JSC shareholder's meeting was held on 27 April, during which the financial and work reports for 2017 were presented. The company announced a net profit for the first time in its history; this constituted MNT 461 billion.
In March, Erdenes TT registered Mongolian citizens, born before 2011, who now own its 1072 shares. According to the 2009 Human Development Fund Law, the company distributed its shares to all citizens.
According to plan, the company will trade its 20 percent of its shares internationally. Currently, Erdenes Mongol LLC owns 65 percent of shares of Erdenes TT, 14.5 percent is owned by Mongolian citizens and 0.05 percent by private enterprises.
Erdenes TT will start paying dividends to its shareholders from 2019.
On Thursday (26 April), Mongolian Prime Minister U.Khurelsukh, held an official meeting with Yury Trutnev, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation and Presidential Envoy to the Russian Far Eastern Federal District. Earlier today, a business roundtable entitled ‘Russia’s Far East and Mongolia: Cooperation Opportunities’ took place in Ulaanbaatar to coincide with the Russian Deputy Prime Minister’s visit.
At the meeting, Mr Trutnev promised that Russia will support Mongolia in signing the free trade agreement (FTA) with the Eurasian Economic Union. In return, Mongolian Deputy Prime Minister U.Enkhtuvshin proposed to increase the volume of exports to Russia, in particular meat products, leather, cashmere and wool. Mongolia is keen to attract more business investment from Russia.
It is hoped that today's roundtable with representatives from the Russian Far East will be the first of many.
A European court has ruled that Lionel Messi, the world's top earning footballer, can trademark his own name.
The Barcelona and Argentina striker fought a seven-year fight to be able to use his name on sports goods.
His original application was challenged by the Spanish cycling brand, Massi, which argued that the names were too similar and would cause confusion.
But the EU's General Court ruled that the footballer was too well known for confusion to arise.
The ruling comes days after France Football magazine reported Mr Messi had overtaken Cristiano Ronaldo as the highest earner in football, with an income of €126m (£108m).
Mr Ronaldo is making €94m, the magazine said.
Mr Messi's application to trademark his name was made to the European Union Office for Intellectual Property (EUIPO) in 2011.
It ruled against the footballer, saying the names were similar, because their dominant elements, "consisting of the terms 'Massi' and 'Messi', are almost identical visually and phonetically".
EUIPO said that only some people would be aware the two were different.
But the General Court, the EU's second highest court, disagreed.
It said on Thursday: "The football player's fame counteracts the visual and phonetic similarities" with Massi.
"Mr Messi is, in fact, a well-known public figure who can be seen on television and who is regularly discussed on television or on the radio," the court said.
Widely considered one of the world's greatest soccer players, Mr Messi, 30, scored his 600th professional goal last month and is the all-time highest scorer for both Barcelona and Argentina's national team.
Following recent calls for the resignation of the head of Mongolia’s leading anti-corruption body, Transparency International urges the president of Mongolia to stop undermining anti-corruption efforts nationwide and cease threats to fire the country’s top watchdog.
Formed in 2007, the Independent Authority against Corruption (IAAC) investigates cases of corruption across the country according to Mongolian law. Yet, the agency is under increasing political pressure from government officials who point to the country’s poor performance on the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) and hold the IAAC responsible for low national scores.
“Mongolia’s poor score on this year’s CPI underlines the need to strengthen anti-corruption efforts nationwide, not weaken them,” said Delia Ferreira Rubio, chair of Transparency International. “The CPI should not be used as a bargaining chip by the president to undercut the authority of national, independent anti-corruption agencies.”
According to national law, the head of the IAAC is required to serve a six-year term, with the present leader slated to be in power until the end of 2022. However, since its inception in 2007, the IAAC has changed leadership three times, with no single leader finishing a full term.
THE NEED FOR AN INDEPENDENT AGENCY
Well-financed and independent anti-corruption agencies, like the IAAC, can be strong weapons in the fight against corruption. However, these agencies need support from national governments, including the judiciary and law enforcement systems in order to be successful. Above all, agencies need independence; they need to establish credentials as independent investigators dedicated to fighting corruption both inside and outside government.
Anti-corruption agencies, including the IAAC in Mongolia, often emerge in the context of corruption scandals. The agencies are formed through broad political consensus and are regarded by most stakeholders as the ultimate response to corruption. However, in general, these agencies can also find themselves at the centre of political controversy if they decide to investigate those in power.
EXAMINING MONGOLIA’S CPI SCORE
Earlier this year, Transparency International released the 2017 CPI, which scores and ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption on a scale of zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). With a score of 36, Mongolia scores poorly on this year’s index, highlighting how corruption is a serious problem across the country.
Specifically, the index draws on 13 surveys and assessments from independent institutions specialising in governance and business analysis, covering experts’ opinions and the views of businesspeople. The score for Mongolia was aggregated from nine data sources.
Transparency International Mongolia was not involved in the data collection or score calculation process for the CPI. Based in Berlin, the secretariat for Transparency International calculates the index independently, and the score calculation approach is designed to be non-political and non-partisan.
Despite this, recent reports in Mongolia have painted an inaccurate picture of the index’s methodology and results. The CPI has been criticised in Mongolia as a reflection of the poor performance of the IAAC. However, the CPI is not an adequate tool to measure the performance of any institution in a country, including the IAAC. Instead, the CPI looks at the general perceptions in a country. In fact, any interference with the proceedings of autonomous anti-corruption agencies could potentially backfire, resulting in additional negative perceptions and even lower CPI scores.
To truly tackle corruption in Mongolia, and throughout the Asia Pacific region, governments must strengthen anti-corruption rules and policies, punish corrupt individuals, support activists who demand accountability and denounce corrupt acts as soon as they occur.
For more information about the Corruption Perceptions Index and its methodology, visit: https://www.transparency.org/…/corruption_perceptions_index…
For any press enquiries please contact
Jen Pollakusky/Michael Hornsby
T: +49 30 3438 20 666
Ulaanbaatar/MONTSAME/ A business roundtable ‘Russia’s Far East and Mongolia: Cooperation Opportunities’ was organized for the first time in Ulaanbaatar on April 27, within the visit of Yuri Petrovich Trutnev, Deputy Prime Minister of Russia and Presidential Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District.
In his opening speech, Deputy Prime Minister of Mongolia U.Enkhtuvshin expressed his commitment to give all-round support to deepen collaboration between all levels of institutes of the two countries, as a head of Mongolian side to the Mongolia-Russia Intergovernmental Commission.
During the business meeting, Russian officials provided information and answered to questions by Mongolian businessmen, who are interested in exporting goods to Russian market, especially the Far East.
Deputy PM U.Enkhtuvshin also informed Mongolian and Russian businessmen that Russia’s Trade Representative Office in Mongolia, Development Bank of Mongolia and the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry will co-organize the meetings namely, ‘Mongolia-Russia cooperation in investment and financial market’ and ‘Cooperation of Mongolia-Russia frontier provinces’ next month.
A critical element to the NATO Resolute Support (RS) Kabul Security Force (KSF) is the Mongolian Expeditionary Task Force (METF).
The Mongolian Expeditionary Task Force Seven has arrived at the New Kabul Compound and relieved Mongolian Expeditionary Task Force Six, following the latter's successful six-month deployment. During the hand-over ceremony, U.K. Army Brigadier Simon Humphrey, who is the Kabul Security Force commander highlighted the crucial importance of Mongolia’s participation.
Although the Kabul Security Force is officially comprised of six nations, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Australia, Finland and New Zealand, Mongolia is a key contributor.
Mongolia began to contribute troops in 2010 when it deployed an infantry platoon to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), Regional Command-North. In addition to the Mongolian Expeditionary Task Force, its current contributions to the Resolute Support mission include infantry, artillery and air mentors, and trainers to the Afghan security forces.
Aspire Mining ltd’s stock price has surged 25 percent at the Australian Stock Exchange on Monday, reaching AUD 0.0125 per share. According to Proactive-Investors, the management said that it wasn’t aware of any information concerning it that had not been announced to the market.
“Drawing further attention to the group was the fact that more than 60 million shares were traded compared with average daily trading volumes of 2.5 million shares in March,” reported Proactive-Investors.
David Paull, CEO of Aspire Mining, previously informed that the management expects to have a feasibility study of Nuurstei project completed by the end of the second quarter of 2018, which will provide a significant insight into the project’s economic viability. “The market for coking coal remains robust with historically healthy pricing of hard coking coal of the quality that we expect Nuurstei can produce,” remarked Mr. David Paull.
The company will soon be transporting minerals directly onto rail for delivery to markets including People’s Republic of China (PRC), Russian Federation, Eastern Europe and North Asian countries. For instance, the company signed several documents and MoU with PRC during Prime Minister Khurelsukh Ukhnaa’s visit to PRC. This includes an MoU with China Gezhouba Group on investment and cooperation, which includes to complete the feasibility of Erdenet- Ovoot railway within May.