1 US-MONGOLIA 'THIRD NEIGHBOR TRADE ACT' ON THE WAY WWW.THEDIPLOMAT.COM PUBLISHED:2018/11/17      2 CHINA'S FIGHT AGAINST SMOG MAKES PALLADIUM 2018'S BEST METAL WWW.MINING.COM PUBLISHED:2018/11/17      3 MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORPORATION PRESENTS GMS LICENSES WWW.MONTSAME.MN PUBLISHED:2018/11/17      4 MONGOLIA CALLS FOR GLOBAL ATTENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE WWW.NEWS.MN PUBLISHED:2018/11/17      5 ADB OPENS A NEW WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT IN ARVAIKHEER, MONGOLIA WWW.AGENPARL.EU PUBLISHED:2018/11/17      6 CHINA TO BOOST COOPERATION WITH INDIA, MONGOLIA: DEFENSE MINISTER WWW.GLOBALTIMES.CN PUBLISHED:2018/11/17      7 DEATH ON MONGOLIA’S ‘COAL ROAD’ WWW.NEWS.MN PUBLISHED:2018/11/17      8 MONGOLIA SHAKEN BY WIDENING LOAN SCANDAL WWW.ASIA.NIKKEI.COM PUBLISHED:2018/11/17      9 MONGOLIA’S UNEMPLOYMENT FALLS BY 2.2 PERCENT WWW.NEWS.MN PUBLISHED:2018/11/16      10 MEETING MEAT DEMAND: MONGOLIA TO TRADE 17.9 PERCENT OF LIVESTOCK WWW.NEWS.MN PUBLISHED:2018/11/16      БНСУ-ЫН АЖ АХУЙН НЭГЖҮҮДИЙН АУТСОРСИНГ ЗАХИАЛГЫГ ГҮЙЦЭТГЭХ ЗАЛУУЧУУДЫГ СОНГОН, ШАЛГАРУУЛНА WWW.UNUUDUR.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/17     НҮҮРСНИЙ ЭКСПОРТ 10 ХУВИАР ӨСӨЖ, 31.3 САЯ ТОНН БОЛОВ WWW.GOGO.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/17     СУДАЛГААГААР ЖДҮ ЭРХЛЭГЧИД ЗЭЭЛИЙН ХҮҮНИЙ ЗАРДАЛ ХАМГИЙН ИХ ХҮНДРЭЛ УЧРУУЛДАГ ГЭЖ ХАРИУЛЖЭЭ WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/17     ERDENE RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT: ХАЙГУУЛЫН ЗАРДАЛ III УЛИРАЛД 42 ХУВИАР БУУРСАН WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/17     ГОРХИ, ТЭРЭЛЖИЙН БАЙГАЛИЙН БОХИРДОЛД АНХААРАЛ ХАНДУУЛЖ ЭХЛЭВ WWW.MONTSAME.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/17     ИРЭХ БААСАН ГАРАГТ ХОТЫН ДАРГЫГ ОГЦРУУЛАХ ЭСЭХИЙГ ХЭЛЭЛЦЭНЭ WWW.MONTSAME.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/17     “АМГАЛАН” ХОТХОНД БАЙРЛАХ ГЭРТЭЭ КАННАБИС ТАРЬЖ, УРГУУЛЖ БАЙСАН ТУРК ИРГЭНИЙГ БАРИВЧИЛЖЭЭ WWW.MEDEE.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/17     ӨНӨӨДӨР АВТОМАШИНЫ ДУГААРЫН ХЯЗГААРЛАЛТ ҮЙЛЧЛЭХГҮЙ WWW.EAGLE.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/17     ГАШУУНСУХАЙТЫН НҮҮРСТЭЙ МАШИНЫ ЦУВАА 120 КМ БОЛЖЭЭ WWW.EAGLE.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/16     ТАТВАРЫН ОРЛОГО 32.2 ХУВИАР ӨСӨЖ, ТӨСВИЙН ТЭНЦЭЛ 341.9 ТЭРБУМ ТӨГРӨГИЙН АШИГТАЙ ГАРЛАА WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/16    

Events

Name organizer Where
Frontier's "Invest Mongolia Tokyo 2018" Frontier Securities Tokyo Japan
"Open to Export" ICC WTO International business award ICC WTO London

NEWS

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Wall Street at new record as oil prices jump 4% www.bbc.com

(Close): Stocks on Wall Street closed at a record high as oil traded sharply higher. The Dow reached 18,956.
The price of oil jumped more than 4% on hopes that the Opec group of oil producing nations will agree to cut output when it meets next week.
Brent crude rose $2.25 to $49.11 a barrel while US light crude climbed $2.05 to $48.41 a barrel.
Oil companies were buoyed by that news, with Marathon Oil closing 5.1% higher and Exxon Mobil adding 1.3%.
All three major stock indices set new records.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 88.76 points to 18,956.69, while the wider S&P 500 index closed 16.28 points higher at 2,198.18.
The tech-focused Nasdaq index jumped 47.35 points, to end the day at 5,368.86.
Shares in Facebook rose 4.1% after the social media giant announced on Friday that it was planning to buy back up to $6bn of its shares early next year.
Security software maker Symantec agreed to buy LifeLock, a company that offers protection against identity theft and fraud for $2.3bn. LifeLock's shares rose 14.7%.
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Shell in court over Niger Delta oil spill claims www.rt.com

London's High Court has begun a four-day hearing over Nigeria’s claims against Royal Dutch Shell and its subsidiary SPDC. They are accused of environmental damage caused by oil pollution.
Two legal claims have been brought to the court on behalf of over 40,000 Nigerians.
 
The Nigerian community of 2,335 people, mostly fishermen, say their environment has been devastated by oil spills in the past five years.
 
Another community which consists of roughly 40,000 people claim repeated oil spills from Shell’s pipelines have not been cleaned up.
 
In 2011 the United Nations Environmental Program exposed massive levels of pollution caused by oil spills from Shell pipelines in the Ogoniland region of the Niger Delta.
 
Shell insists the areas have been heavily impacted by crude oil theft, pipeline sabotage, and illegal refining. According to the company, those were the primary sources of pollution across the Niger Delta.
 
Under Nigerian law, the company isn’t required to pay compensation for spills caused by sabotage or theft.
 
The oil major argues that only its subsidiary should be held liable and that the cases should be heard in Nigeria where the incidents took place.
 
“The Bille and Ogale communities have chosen to bring these claims in the UK instead of in Nigeria, whose laws govern our operations. We believe that allegations concerning Nigerian plaintiffs in dispute with a Nigerian company [SPDC], over issues which took place in Nigeria, should be heard in Nigeria,” said Shell in a statement.
 
Last year, the company paid out about $80 million to compensate another Niger Delta community, admitting the spills were caused by operational failures.
 
In May, Nigeria’s federal government filed a $6.5 billion claim against Shell on behalf of 350 communities in the Delta and Bayelsa regional states.
 
The oil-rich Niger Delta has generated billions of dollars for the energy company over the past 60 years. Nigeria was one of its most productive areas for crude in 2015.
 
Home to 20 million people and 40 different ethnic groups, the Niger Delta is the largest wetland in Africa and contains one of the highest concentrations of biodiversity on the planet. The unique ecosystem also has more species of freshwater fish than anywhere else in West Africa.
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Gap, M&S join movement to disclose global supply chains www.asia.nikkei.com

TOKYO -- An increasing number of apparel brands are disclosing lists online of their factories, mostly in Asia, as the public release of supply chain information becomes a tool for them to show their commitments to promoting healthy workplaces for their subcontractors.

In September, U.S. clothing brand Gap made its supplier list available -- consisting of nearly 900 garment factories in Bangladesh, Cambodia and other countries. The company said it had revised its disclosure policy for supply-chain information seeking to promote global sustainability.

According to Human Rights Watch, an international nonprofit nongovernmental group, at least four major retailers, including Gap, C&A of Germany and British store chain Marks & Spencer, have disclosed their supplier list this year. Previously, Gap was known for its negative stance on the disclosure due to what it called "competition reasons."

Earlier adopters of the disclosure include U.S. sport brand Nike and H&M, the Swedish fast fashion chain. Nike's supplier list includes details about its contract factories such as the number of workers by location and the proportion of female and immigrant labor.

Seeking endorsement from society

Major Western apparel brands and retailers are particularly keen on disclosing their factory list, said Takeshi Shimotaya, a London-based consultant. The lists have been considered closely guarded trade secrets for many manufacturers because making them public could lead to information leaks about specific products. Providing the names of skilled subcontractors to competitors could also harm competitiveness.

Nonetheless, the idea is rapidly spreading around the world that leading manufacturers should be responsible for the working conditions of their subcontractors.

In the late 1990s, Nike was criticized by the international community for ignoring the child labor at its factories in developing countries.

In 2013, a building collapse in the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka killed more than 1,000 workers of factories that manufactured garments for many popular Western brands, including H&M. The accident raised criticism that these brands did not care about the human rights of their subcontractors and led many of them to review their supply chain policies.

Among non-apparel manufacturers, Apple was one of the earliest to make its supplier list public. In the early 2000s, the company was condemned for squalid working conditions at its factories in China. In 2006, the company began improving the working environment of its subcontractors' factories and disclosed the supplier list.

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Apple offers free battery replacement for iPhone 6S shutdown problem www.cnn.com

Apple has admitted that some iPhone 6S devices can suddenly shut down for no apparent reason.
The tech giant is offering owners of the problematic smartphones free replacement batteries.
"A very small number" of iPhone 6S devices manufactured between September and October 2015 are affected, Apple (AAPL, Tech30) said in a statement Monday. It didn't provide details on the battery fault that is causing the phones to unexpectedly go dark.

Apple's announcement comes less than a week after a consumer watch group in China launched an investigation into the problem.
"A considerable number" of Chinese users reported their iPhone 6 and 6S devices would suddenly turn off despite showing plenty of battery life, the China Consumers Association said in a statement. The phones would not turn back on even when plugged into chargers, according to the consumer group.
Apple said the battery problem is "not a safety issue." Its big rival Samsung pulled its flagship Galaxy Note 7 smartphone after repeated reports of the devices bursting into flames. Samsung initially said batteries in some Note 7 phones were to blame but is yet to fully explain the cause.

Apple's battery replacement offer for the iPhone 6S applies worldwide. Owners of eligible phones with cracked screens will have to repair them before getting the new battery, Apple said.
Consumers were plagued by a similar iPhone problem earlier this year. A software glitch with the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus caused the battery icon to display more battery life than was actually left, leaving many people frustrated when their phones appeared to suddenly shut down. The company fixed the problem with an operating system update.
And just last week, Apple acknowledged iPhone 6 Plus devices suffer from "Touch Disease" -- when the phone's touchscreen stops working after it has been bent or repeatedly dropped on the floor.
The tech company rolled out a repair program, charging customers $149 to cure the disease.

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London attracts one-quarter of graduates from UK universities www.theguardian.com

The challenges faced by the government in tackling the economic dominance of the south of England has been illustrated by a report showing that London is attracting a disproportionate share of graduates.
 
Ahead of Philip Hammond’s first autumn statement this week, the report by thinktank Centre for Cities, published on Monday, found that one in four recent university leavers chose to work in the capital, a brain drain harming the prospects of other cities by depriving them of the skills they need, as the economy shifts towards knowledge-intensive activities.
 
Alexandra Jones, the chief executive of Centre for Cities, said: “The government will not achieve its vision of extending prosperity and growth across the country unless it takes steps to help more cities attract and retain the UK’s top talent.”
 
The report, titled The Great British Brain Drain: Where Graduates Move and Why, used data on university leavers and the jobs market to map where graduates end up. It found that 24% of new graduates from UK universities in 2014 and 2015 were working in London within six months of finishing their degree.
 
Centre for Cities researchers found that London was pulling in graduates with the highest marks from leading UK universities. In 2014-15, the capital attracted 38% of new graduates with firsts and 2:1s from leading research universities, known as the Russell Group, who moved for a job. The figure is about 13 times more than Manchester, the second most popular destination for that group.
 
The report said the trend was clearer still for new graduates from the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge. London gained 52% of Oxbridge graduates who moved for work after finishing university.
 
Evidence suggested that jobs were the most important factor influencing where graduates chose to move, the thinktank said. They were also attracted by the prospect of good career progression. But researchers found no relationship between graduates moving for work and the wages they were offered in the cities they chose. Policymakers should draw lessons from those findings, Jones said.
 
“Wage subsidies and other specific graduate retention policies will not tackle the root causes of this issue. Instead, the priority for national and local leaders should be strengthening city region economies, and increasing local demand and opportunities for graduates,” she said.
 
“In the autumn statement, the government should therefore focus on boosting economic growth in city regions across the country by investing in large-scale housing and transport projects. It should also use the new economic and industrial strategy to reinforce and complement the devolution deals currently in place for city regions like Greater Manchester, to give them greater scope to grow their economies, and to develop and attract talented workers.”
 
The Centre for Cities study helps build a picture of London’s dominance in the UK economy, illustrated by Observer data published on Sunday showing that 310,000 graduates have left the north of England in the past decade. Jim O’Neill, a former Treasury minister and the architect of George Osborne’s “northern powerhouse”, said more initiatives were needed to reverse the brain drain. The former chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management resigned from the government in September.
 
There have been doubts as to whether Theresa May is as committed to the north as her predecessor, David Cameron, with reports suggesting she also wants to focus on other rural and industrial areas in response to the Brexit vote.
 
Council leaders in Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle and Sheffield, along with the Labour candidates for Greater Manchester mayor and the mayor of the Liverpool city region, have written to the chancellor calling for east-west transport links to be made a priority.
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Mongolia is Asia`s 6th top gold producing country www.mongolia.gogo.mn

NEW DELHI (dataLEADS/ ANN) - Six countries in Asia produce 91 per cent of gold in the continent. China is the leader of the world’s gold-producing nations.
China became the top producer of gold in 2012. The production rose from 12 tons in 204 to 397 tons in 2013. In 2015, according to GFMS Gold Survey 2016, China produced 458.1 metric tons of the gold. The survey says that China recorded a 14 per cent, a year-on-year gain to a record high.
China is followed by Indonesia. The archipelago in Southeast Asia, according to GFMS Gold Survey 2016, produced 134.3 metric tons of the gold in 2015.
Indonesia is the home to one of the largest gold mines in the world known as the Grasberg Mine. The mine contributes the majority of Indonesia’s gold production.
At the third place comes Central Asian country, Uzbekistan. The country in 2015 produced 83.2 metric tons of the gold. Gold production plays an important role in Uzbekistan economy. In Uzbekistan gold is mostly found in the Kyzylkum Desert where Muruntau Gold Deposit, the largest single open-pit gold mine, is located.
Kazakhstan with 47.5 metric tonnes of production, Philippines with 46.8 metric tonnes and Mongolia with 31.3 metric tonnes are at fourth, fifth and sixth place respectively, according to the survey.
Despite India being the world's biggest buyer of gold, it’s contribution to world gold production is an insignificant 0.5 per cent.
The survey says global mine production increased by just 1 per cent in 2015, reaching 3,158 tones, with gains in countries like Indonesia and the United States overweighing the losses elsewhere, particularly in China.
This represents seventh successive year of increasing mine supply, and is another year of record global output.
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Direct aid program awards 10 organisations to assist Mongolian development www.mongolia.gogo.mn

On Thursday 17 November 2016, Ambassador John Langtry awarded grants to ten organisations selected under the Direct Aid Program (DAP). Each project (see attached list) will contribute towards the development of Mongolia and be implemented in areas including youth development, women empowerment, environment, public health, poverty reduction, agriculture, and improving governance. The organizations will mainstream disability inclusiveness and gender across the grants to ensure the benefits of grants outreach equally to people with disability and men and women.
Since 2003, over 100 Mongolian NGOs and organisations have implemented a total of 114 projects. A total of 120 applications were received for the 2016-2017 DAP grants.
“DAP is a good opportunity for Mongolian organisations particularly civic and non- profits to address social and environmental issues. Demand for this competitive grant is getting higher as the number of organisations applying for has been increasing. I congratulate the organisations who won the grant for 2016-2017 and I am sure that they would do a great job. In the meantime, I thank all the organisations which participated and urge them to apply for the next round of DAP in June 2017,” said Ambassador John Langtry.
Tsenguun Tumurkhuyag, Program Manager for Mongol Ecology Centre said “We are happy to receive the Australian Government funding to implement our Junior Ranger Program. 200 students in 4-7th grades from Hatgal and Khankh secondary school will learn to protect Mongolia’s environment and learn natural history of Hovsgol area, its geological features, biological diversity, hydrologic cycle, forestry, soil composition and climate change impacts.”
ABOUT DAP
DAP is a flexible small grants program funded from Australia’s aid budget. DAP funding is designed to advance developmental outcomes with projects primarily focused on practical and tangible results. This may include projects which support good governance, human rights and those with a strong advocacy component.
1. Establishing a Classroom for Orientation in Surroundings at School #116 for Visually Impaired and Blind Children
Around 8,000 Mongolians are either blind or visually impaired. They are unemployed and poor. School #116 is the only school in Mongolia for the visually impaired and the blind. With DAP funding, School # 116 will establish a special classroom on Orientation and Surroundings with the aim to develop the skills of the students. Direct beneficiaries of the project will be 120 current students as well as their parents and future students.
2. Expanding Paper Craft Production Using Waste Newspapers
In 2005, a group of Mongolians with mobility disability got together, to form the Mongolian National Association for Wheelchair Users (MNAWU). Today, the MNAWU serves over 700 members, a half of whom are women. The Women’s Department of the Mongolian National Association for Wheelchair Users wants to ensure equal participation in employment for women with a mobility disability and women whose child with disability. The project will establish a business cooperation overseeing a production and sales structure, and train 50 women to produce and sell souvenirs on a regular basis and increase their family income in a more sustainable way.
3. Human Papilloma Virus in Mongolia
One of the most challenging public health issues facing women in Mongolia, irrespective of age, education and wealth, is cervical cancer. At least 300 new cases are diagnosed each year and 85% are at the late stage. Cervical cancer is the 2nd most common malignancy among women in Mongolia. Mongolia implemented a pilot project in 2012 and vaccinated 9,111 girls aged between 11 and 15. However, the program was unsuccessful in the face of anti-vaccination lobby groups.
The Cancer Council of Mongolia will conduct a study among 19 to 20 year old women in Selenge and Umnugobi provinces. Their research will evaluate particular types of HPV (16, 18 and 45) among 500 vaccinated and 500 unvaccinated young women. Moreover, other types of HPVs (31, 33, 35, 39, 51, 52, 56, 58, 59, 66 and 58) will be assessed. The findings will be important evidence to inform and design a nationwide vaccination program.
4. Enhancing the Capacity of Mongolian Scouts to Support Youth
The Scout Association of Mongolia in collaboration with Scouts Australia will establish a national campground on its recently secured land, which is 85km north of UB. As a result, 6-25 years old Mongolians, volunteers and leaders will be able to benefit from this open-air activities shelter. Asian regional Scout Jamborees will be held in Mongolia in 2017.
5. Engage Future Stewards of Conservation by Developing a Junior Ranger Program in Gateway Communities of Lake Hovsgol National Park
In 2014-2015, some 45,000 international and domestic travelers visited Lake Hovsgol, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mongolia. The tourism season is short and lasts for only two months; the majority of locals in Hankh and Hatgal soums try to benefit from the influx of tourists by engaging in a variety of tourism services, ranging from setting up ger camps to working as drivers and tour guides and selling crafts.
The Mongol Ecology Center was established in 2010 with a goal to transfer best practices to preserve environment and natural resources and cultural heritage of Mongolia. They proposed to implement a Junior Ranger Program in Hovsgol province. 200 students in 4-7th grades from Hatgal and Hankh secondary schools will learn to protect Mongolia’s environment and learn about the natural history of the Hovsgol area, its geological features, biological diversity, hydrologic cycle, forestry, soil composition and climate change impacts.
6. Partners for Protection Network
According to the National Statistics Office, 764 crimes involving domestic violence were recorded in the first half of 2016, demonstrating an increase of 178 cases or 34% from the previous year. In a sparsely populated country of 3 million, over 90 victims have lost their lives between 2011 and 2015 due to domestic violence. Half of these victims had referrals to justice and public service providers, although protection services were not available. Systematic and technical problems exist in health care, police and judicial sectors. The National Centre against Violence (NCAV) has 22 years of experience and inclusive child protection and social works services have been provided to a total of 19,700 clients, including psychological counselling, legal assistance, advocacy and protection. Under DAP funding, the NCAV aims to enable a timely protection services framework for support of survivors through strengthening capacity building of and fostering supportive partnership and cooperation amongst government, multi-disciplinary officers and specialists who provide services to domestic violence victims.
7. Hope for the Future
Mongolia’s rural population of around 1.4 million is closely linked with semi- nomadic livestock herding and limited livelihood opportunities exist outside of this sector (UNDP, 2007). Livestock herding is becoming increasingly tenuous and risky due to a combination of small herd sizes, high overall livestock numbers resulting in overgrazing, loss of seasonal movement patterns, increased numbers of unskilled herders, and increased frequency of severe winters (dzud). Through its activity, Family Agricultural Resources Mongolia (FARM) will work with severely affected dzud area like Arvaikheer soum of Uvurkhangai Province. The activity will be implemented for one year with a goal to provide a sustainable livelihood of vegetable production that improves food security, gardening education and knowledge for 25 vulnerable women headed households in rural Mongolia.
8. Providing Rights of Well-being and Playing Basketball with Local Youths
Herlen and Bayan-Adarga soums in Hentii province have high poverty rate and have no sport clubs or designate facilities for youth development. The Trainer of Basketball B (TOBB), a local NGO proposes to build a basketball open court and provide training clothing for 30 children (15 girls and 15 boys) from poor families in basketball. This will help the youth to become self-confident and lead a healthy life- style. Local governments of both soums, Och Manlai LLC and Durvun-Uliral Hentii LLC will also provide in-kind and financial support for the project.
9. “Green Way” Waste and Recycling Education Centre
Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Ulaanbaatar, the Rotary Club of Khangarid will address municipal waste management issues by offering training on waste management and recycling to teachers at the Mongolian National University of Education and students at the Secondary School #9. Keep South Australia Beautiful (KESAB), South Australia’s not-for-profit organisation that delivers world-class environmental sustainability education program, will provide an engaging and interactive platform to the project beneficiaries. Selected classrooms will be at both schools will be redesigned as “Waste and Recycling Centre/Hub.”
10. Improving Public Services through “Check My Service” Mobile Application
Public services are an integral part of our lives. Governments throughout the world have been increasingly paying attention to improving the services for which they are responsible. The goal of “CheckMyService” is to create a mobile application that facilitates direct communication on service issues between citizens and the administration of Ulaanbaatar city. This application encourages citizens to report issues in their neighbourhood, share and discuss problems, and monitor the authorities’ reactions. According to the report of the Information Communications Technology Agency (2014) 45% of UB habitants were online every day and more than half of the UB population used internet at least once a week.
The Democracy Education Centre (DEMO) was established in 2002. In 2012, DEMO launched the Check My Service initiative and assessed the transparency and accountability of 84 public services by service recipients through a Community Score Card tool. Their past work was recognised with an Integrity Award by the Anti- Corruption Agency of Mongolia (2013) as well as selected as one of the best innovations in Asia and Pacific region by the Open Government Partnership in 2014 and 2016 respectively.
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Putin Sees ‘Great Chance’ of OPEC Deal as Moscow Ready to Freeze www.bloomberg.com

Russian President Vladimir Putin says he sees no obstacles to OPEC reaching an agreement later this month, and Russia is willing to freeze its crude oil output at current levels as he thinks that oil exporters have overcome major differences in their positions.
“Whether an agreement will be reached, I can not say for one hundred percent, but there is a strong likelihood that it will be achieved,” Putin told reporters on Sunday after he attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Lima. “Main contradictions within OPEC if not yet eliminated, they can be eliminated.”
After initial negotiations aimed at freezing production failed in April a preliminary deal was reached in Algiers on Sept. 28., which ended a two-year policy of pumping without limits. Although the OPEC pledge to cut output is still due to be finalized, Russia has already added more than 400 billion rubles ($6 billion) to the nation’s budget, thanks to its talks with OPEC, according to two officials familiar with the government’s calculations.
“There is no difficulty for us to freeze production” at current levels, Putin repeated Russia’s position on Sunday.
The world’s biggest energy exporter is struggling to pull out of its deepest recession in two decades after a slump in oil prices and international sanctions over its annexation of Crimea in 2014. In addition to the OPEC talks, closer ties with the U.S. may also help Russia ease pressure on its economy.
During the campaign, now Presiden-Elect Donald Trump called for an alliance with Russia to fight Islamic State and suggested sanctions imposed against Russia over the Ukrainian crisis could be eased. Putin say he is glad to wait to see whether this pledge comes true.
In a recent phone conversation, Trump confirmed his intention to normalize relations between the U.S. and Russia. "For my part, I did the same,” Putin said. They agreed that their staffers will have a meeting before two leaders will meet in person.
Trump is “actively forming his team”, but he has “no official staffers yet”, Putin said. “We will wait. There is still time”.
In fact Putin doesn’t know yet how his relation with Trump will go. Earlier this month he warned that “it won’t be an easy path” to restoring relations. Meanwhile he has his own domestic challenges and the main one is presidential elections in March 2018.
Recent wave of highly publicized criminal cases against governors, deputy ministers and other officials for alleged corruption, fraud and extortion has been described by analysts as one of key elements of Putin’s agenda for re-election, as Russia is still the most corrupt of major world economies, according to Berlin-based Transparency International.
Corruption scandal
The latest case has rattled the country’s elite. The Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev was arrested on bribery charges linked to purchase of the oil company Bashneft by state-controlled oil giant Rosneft. Putin was quick to remove him from the position in the government.
Although Putin says he can’t comment on Ulyukayev case before law enforcement agencies, judicial system, he said that such actions of law enforcers “only strengthen business climate in Russia” and all should know that “the law will be applied to everyone equally”.
Putin also strongly defended his economic policy and rest of the team.
The “regrettable” detention of Ulyukayev, “has not affected my attitude to government in general,” Putin said, adding that he plans to move forward with the privatization of state assets.
“This sad event can’t influence in any way the acquisition of Bashneft stake by Rosneft”, he said. Russia will not abandon plans to sell Rosneft stake as well.
“This will be a direct privatization of state assets”, Putin said. The government and management will work on selling the state stake in Rosneft, he said.
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Rio to idle Hope Downs 4 over Christmas www.mining.com

Employees at Rio Tinto's (LON,NYSE,ASX:RIO) Hope Downs 4 mine in Australia will do better than a lump of coal over Christmas this year.
 
The Anglo American mega-miner announced last week that it is shutting the iron ore mine down for two weeks at the end of the year to "reduce operating costs and maximize cash to strengthen the business" – the latter a thinly-veiled allusion to the lagging iron ore sector. While the price of the steelmaking raw material is up nearly 70% this year, most analysts believe that demand from China and other iron importing countries is not enough to keep up with continued robust supply from the Big 3 major producers: Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton (NYSE,ASX:BHP) and Vale SA (NYSE:VALE).
 
The temporary shut-down affects 440 workers and is the first time since the financial crisis of 2008 that Rio Tinto has taken such a drastic measure to cut production. Employees can either take leave or work shifts at other mines. Hope Downs 4 in the Australian Pilbara is one of the largest iron ore mines in the country.
 
Rio reportedly told employees in an email that the mine had achieved its annual production target early, allowing the company to lock the gates mid-December. However the Financial Times reports an analyst at Citi saying that doesn't really make sense considering the price of iron ore is sitting at US$72 a tonne. Clarke Wilson said the closure has more to do with limited rail capacity on Rio's Pilbara rail network during the holiday season.
 
Underlying market fundamentals no doubt also played a role in the decision. By taking production out of the market, Rio might be able to keep prices higher into the new year and stave off the correction that some in the industry are predicting will soon occur.
 
There is also a political dimension to the temporary closure. The National party, one of the coalition partners in Western Australia's government, has proposed a big tax increase on Rio and its competitor, BHP Billiton. The proposal would hike the production rental fee for both companies to AUD$5 a tonne from the 25 cents they currently pay. This is on top of the 7.5% royalty they already pay. Voters will decide the fate of the tax during state elections next March.
 
Rio Tinto took the opportunity of the closure announcement to ensure the state government sees that iron ore miners are vulnerable to more imposed costs:
 
"There couldn't be a worse time to tax our business an extra $1.5bn [US$1.1bn] every year. This will destroy jobs, hurt local businesses and damage Western Australia's international competitiveness," the FT quoted Chris Salisbury, chief executive of Rio Tinto's iron ore division, saying.
 
The company has been trying to rein in costs and raise capital, most dramatically by putting its Simandou project in Guinea on ice, followed by a decision in October to sell its Simandou stake to Chinalco for $1.3 billion.
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Tencent to spend $150m again on movies www.chinadaily.com.cn

Tencent Holdings plans to continue its bold push into the international film business.
 
Tencent Pictures, the Chinese internet giant's upstart filmmaking unit, has set aside more than 1 billion yuan, or over $150 million, to finance Hollywood and Chinese film projects in 2017, an unnamed source at the company told Bloomberg News.
 
Tencent has already spent approximately $150 million on film financing in 2016, the source said.
 
The company was a co-financier of Legendary Entertainment's Chinese box-office hit Warcraft (which grossed $220.8 million in the country) and the upcoming Kong: Skull Island.
 
In September, Tencent Pictures announced an ambitious 21-film slate spanning projects of various genres, including Tibet Code, a film adaptation of hit Chinese fantasy book series, and a 3D animation based on Tuzki, the popular rabbit emoticon used on WeChat, China's most popular messaging service (owned and operated by the Tencent parent company).
 
A Tencent representative declined to comment on the company's financing plans.
 
An online gaming platform that had become China's leading internet portal, social media site and instant messaging service before expanding into online publishing, TV and film production, Tencent passed Alibaba Group in September to become the most valuable tech firm in Asia, with a market capitalization of $250 billion. The company has been on an overseas investment spree throughout the year.
 
In June, Tencent bought Finnish hit game maker Supercell, the company behind Clash of Clans, for $8.6 billion. It later took equity stakes in STX Entertainment (Bad Moms) and Stuart Ford's foreign sales and finance outfit IM Global (Hacksaw Ridge) before partnering with sports and entertainment powerhouse WME-IMG to set up a joint venture in China.
 
Tencent Pictures also is exploring a collaborative pact with The Dark Knight producer David S. Goyer.
 
Tencent is engaged in an arms race with fellow Chinese corporate giants Alibaba, Dalian Wanda Group and Baidu Inc to secure a share of the expanding Chinese box office, which is expected to top North America as the world's largest movie market in 2018.
 
The Chinese giants see partnerships with experienced Hollywood players as crucial to their domestic and overseas success. Alibaba Pictures Group bought a stake in Steven Spielberg's Amblin Partners last month after taking stakes in several Paramount Pictures titles, including Star Trek Beyond.
 
And Wanda's chairman Wang Jianlin, China's richest man, told The Hollywood Reporter in October that he plans to invest billions into movies made by all six of the Hollywood studios.
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