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Mongolia lodged a diplomatic protest with Japan on Friday after a monthly kid’s comic magazine included a picture of national hero Genghis Khan with a crude sketch of male genitalia across his forehead.
The comic's publisher, Shogakukan Inc., apologized Friday evening in a meeting with Dambadarjaa Batjargal, the charge d'affaires at Mongolia's embassy in Tokyo.
In an earlier protest lodged with the Japanese Foreign Ministry, the embassy said the cartoon "lacks respect for the Mongolian people."
"We deeply apologize for causing offense to all those who revere Genghis Khan," Shogakukan said in a statement on its website.
Dmitry Medvedev, the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, issued an order last week, in which he assigned the Russian Minister of Transport to sign Agreement between the Governments of Mongolia and Russian Federation on Terms for Railway Transit Transportation, permitting to amend without changing the fundamental character on behalf of the Russian Government.
With the agreement, the interested parties agreed that it was necessary to create favourable conditions for trade of goods and services based on parity and creation of long-term mechanisms of mutually beneficial cooperation on freight transportation of foreign trade.
The agreement will create favorable conditions for transit freights, such as flexible tariff policy, between the two countries. On this note, the parties are obliged to strengthen competitiveness by providing long-term flexible tariff compared to other trade routes; creating conditions for easing border checkpoint procedures on transit freights; stimulating growth of freight volumes; providing balance of volume growth of freights and infrastructure development of railway transportation; and creating conditions for Mongolian exporters to be involved in maritime transport without obstacles.
In its third clause, the agreement states that the parties will enjoy tariffs established under international contracts, to which both countries are a signatory.
The agreement clause 5 states that for the development of transit potentials, the parties shall provide realization of measures on modernization of infrastructure of Ulaanbaatar Railway JSC through competent and authorized bodies of the parties.
The draft states that the agreement term will be effective for 25 years.
The draft of the Agreement was prepared by the Mongolian side and was presented to the Russian side in the end of last year. Previously, Battulga Khaltmaa, the President of Mongolia, expressed his intention to export Tavan Tolgoi coal to third markets during the third annual Eastern Economic Forum which was held in Vladivostok, Russia, in September 2017.
Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ The Ministry of Energy has planned to build and expand 11 power plants this year and it was included in the Socio-Economic Development Guidelines of Mongolia in 2018. Most of the project investments have been resolved.
Energy Minister Ts.Davaasuren announced that construction work of the Tavan Tolgoi power plant is ready to start in July this year. The Tavan Tolgoi power plant will be commissioned in 2021, producing 2.3 billion kWh of electricity per year, annually selling energy worth of MNT 450 billion and paying taxes of MNT 45 billion to the state budget. The preliminary estimate presented by the Tavan Tolgoi power plant project director, D.Batbileg shows that the new plant will employ more than 400 people.
In addition, it is planned to complete the expansion of the capacity of Darkhan and Erdenet TPP this year and to build electrical substations in Baganuur-Undurkhaan-Choibalsan and Ulaanbaatar-Mandalgovi routes.
The Ulaanqab municipal government and Apple Inc recently negotiated the construction of a data center in the city, the first iCloud computing base headed for North China.
According to the agreement, Apple will register a company in Ulaanqab and conduct construction and operations projects there. The venture, which will utilize clean and renewable energy, is scheduled for completion and launch by 2020.
Apple plans to bring more services to its Chinese users, reduce the cost of data storage and transmission, and enhance the performance of iCloud services.
Hunnu Air (MR, Ulaanbaatar) has expressed an interest in acquiring the TVS-2DTS, a Russian-built single turboprop aircraft designed to replace the An-2 on commercial passenger flights in Siberia and Russia's Far East.
The Head of Buryatia, Alexey Tsydenov, told Tass this week that the Mongolian carrier had said it would be prepared to sign an agreement for up to six aircraft of the type.
Rostec plans to manufacture the aircraft at its U-UAZ plant in Ulan-Ude. The first TVS-2DTS is due to roll off the production line in 2019.
For its part, Hunnu Air would presumably use the aircraft for flights to more remote regions in Mongolia. Its fleet currently includes two ATR72-500s and three Fokker 50s used to serve 12 destinations across Mongolia, China, and Russia.
Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ The Cabinet has resolved to ban consumption of raw coal in Ulaanbaatar starting from May 15, 2019, in an effort to reduce air pollution.
The decision, made on February 28, won’t be effective in thermal power plants and power stations operating in Bayanzurkh, Chingeltei, Sukhbaatar, Bayangol, Khan-Uul and Songinokhairkhan districts.
The Cabinet ordered the Mayor of Ulaanbaatar and the corresponding Ministers to study the demand, supply and ways to ensure the price stability of refined coal, and reach a decision by July 1 this year.
The Cabinet sees that it is possible to replace the raw coal consumed by the capital city residents with 600 thousand tons of compressed fuel. In other words, a household that burns 4-5 tons of coal in heating season will consume 3 tons of compressed fuel, which is an economically beneficial alternative. For instance, coal from Nalaikh is purchased at MNT 170 thousand per ton. Five tons of coal will cost MNT 850 thousand whereas three tons of refined coal will cost MNT 660 thousand, thus saving MNT 190 thousand.
The replacement of raw coal by refined coal is expected to significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions, thus resulting in the decrease of air pollution.
About 202 thousand households in the ger areas of Ulaanbaatar burn 1.1 million tons of raw coal in winter, producing around 80 percent of smog in the capital city.
The decision that adopted the Paris agreement agreed to convene the Facilitate Dialogue in 2018, which has to evaluate collective progress towards meeting the Paris agreement goals, providing guidance to governments as they update their national determined contributions (NDC’s) before 2020, and prepare low carbon development strategies. The global stock take in 2023 under the Paris agreement will examine similar issues to those envisaged for the 2018 Facilitate Dialogue in relation to collective progress on meeting the objectives of the Paris Agreement.
With this as framing, it is clear that action on the NDC is not just about implementing them as written. It’s about working out how to increase their level of ambition, while at the same time increasing the level of policy action undertaken by governments to reflect each country’s fair share of efforts to meet the Paris agreement.
Proposed policies and measures for Mongolia’s 'intended' national determined contributions (INDC) are as follows:
Energy (power and heat): Increase renewable electricity capacity from 7.62% in 2014 to 20% by 2020 and to 30% by 2030 as a share of total electricity generation capacity.
Reduce electricity transmission losses from 13.7% in 2014 to 10.8% by 2020 and to 7.8% by 2030.
Reduce building heat loss by 20% by 2020 and by 40% by 2030, compared to 2014 levels.
Reduce internal energy use of Combined Heat and Power Plants (improved plant efficiency) from 14.4% in 2014 to 11.2% by 2020 and 9.14% by 2030.
Implement advanced technology in energy production such as super critical pressure coal combustion technology by 2030.
-State policy on energy production (Parliament resolution No. 63, 2015), Green development policy, 2014
Improve national paved road network.
Upgrading /Paving 8000 km by 2016, 11000 km by 2021.
Improve Ulaanbaatar city road network to decrease all traffic by 30-40% by 2023.
Increase the share of private hybrid road vehicles from approximately 6.5% in 2014 to approximately 13% by 2030.
Shift from liquid fuel to LPG for vehicles in Ulaanbaatar and provinces by improving taxation and environmental fee system.
Improve enforcement mechanism of standards for road vehicles and non-road based transport.
-Urban public transport investment program 2015; Mid-term new Development Program, 2010
Industrial sector Reduce emissions in the cement industry through upgrading the processing technology from wet to dry processing and through the construction of a new cement plant with dry processing up to 2030.
-NAMA’s, 2010; NAPCC, 2012: Building materials program
Maintain livestock population at appropriate levels according to the pasture carrying capacity.
Mongolian National Livestock program, 2010
Gaps and Barriers:
High priority of external barriers: Financial lack is the most important obstacle, Challenges to introduce advanced and new technology and equipment machinery.
Weak management of disaster risks still exists especially of local level and early warning system for prevention of danger.
Internal barriers: Lack of legal enabling environment, Weak coordination of integration between sectors , Weak natural resources management for pasture, forest and water, Insufficient human resources capacity and lack of trainings and courses about Climate change in curriculums of Universities, Institutes and college, In effective monitoring system for natural resources and incapable tracking and monitoring system....
The Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine in Mongolia’s southern Gobi Desert will lift force majeure effective March 1 and majority owner Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd said on Wednesday that it expected to make up any sales-related effect over the next few quarters.
Force majeure was declared Jan. 17 after protests by Chinese coal haulers disrupted deliveries by blockading roads near the Chinese-Mongolian border, leaving Oyu Tolgoi convoys unable to deliver copper concentrates. Force majeure is a legal status companies invoke when they cannot make deliveries of a commodity because of forces outside of their control.
Vancouver-based Turquoise Hill, majority owned by Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto , said the blockade was lifted Jan. 18 and the border re-opened Jan. 19, but ongoing congestion had hampered a return to normal border traffic.
A period of consistent convoy crossings and stable concentrate supply chain are required before force majeure can be lifted, said Turquoise Hill, which owns 66 percent of Oyu Tolgoi with the Mongolian government holding the remainder.
The Chinese truckers were protesting increased enforcement of rules requiring them to pay Mongolian taxes and social insurance to receive permits to deliver coal, a source in the capital Ulaanbaatar said in January. The source said Mongolian authorities had also stopped Chinese truckers from picking up coal from the mine.
Last week, the mine said it would weigh alternatives to guarantee electricity supply, after casting doubt on state plans to build a power plant in the region. Oyu Tolgoi is under pressure to procure power from domestic rather than Chinese sources within the next four years, as stipulated in a 2009 investment agreement.
Reporting by Susan Taylor Editing by Toni Reinhold.
Apple's latest move in China has privacy advocates and human rights groups worried.
The U.S. company is moving iCloud accounts registered in mainland China to state-run Chinese servers on Wednesday along with the digital keys needed to unlock them.
"The changes being made to iCloud are the latest indication that China's repressive legal environment is making it difficult for Apple to uphold its commitments to user privacy and security," Amnesty International warned in a statement Tuesday.
The criticism highlights the tradeoffs major international companies are making in order to do business in China, which is a huge market and vital manufacturing base for Apple (AAPL).
In the past, if Chinese authorities wanted to access Apple's user data, they had to go through an international legal process and comply with U.S. laws on user rights, according to Ronald Deibert, director of the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab, which studies the intersection of digital policy and human rights.
"They will no longer have to do so if iCloud and cryptographic keys are located in China's jurisdiction," he told CNNMoney.
The company taking over Apple's Chinese iCloud operations is Guizhou-Cloud Big Data (GCBD), which is owned by the government of Guizhou province. GCBD did not respond to requests for comment.
The change only affects iCloud accounts that are registered in mainland China.
Apple (AAPL) made the move to comply with China's latest regulations on cloud services. A controversial cybersecurity law, which went into effect last June, requires companies to keep all data in the country. Beijing has said the measures are necessary to help prevent crime and terrorism, and protect Chinese citizens' privacy.
The problem with Chinese cybersecurity laws, Deibert said, is that they also require companies operating in China "to turn over user data to state authorities on demand -- Apple now included."
Other big U.S. tech companies have had to take similar steps -- Amazon (AMZN) and Microsoft (MSFT) also struck partnerships with Chinese companies to operate their cloud services in the country.
Apple says that it did advocate against iCloud being subject to the new law, but was unsuccessful.
"Our choice was to offer iCloud under the new laws or discontinue offering the service," an Apple spokesman told CNN. The company decided to keep iCloud in China, because cutting it off "would result in a bad user experience and less data security and privacy for our Chinese customers," he said.
Apple users typically use iCloud to store data such as music, photos and contacts.
That information can be extremely sensitive. Earlier this month, Reporters Without Borders urged China-based journalists to change the country associated with their iCloud accounts -- which is an option for non-Chinese citizens, according to Apple -- or to close them down entirely.
Human rights groups also highlighted the difficult ethical positions Apple could find itself in under the new iCloud arrangement in China.
The company has fought for privacy rights in the Unites States. It publicly opposed a judge's order to break into the iPhone of one of the terrorists who carried out the deadly attack in San Bernardino in December 2016, calling the directive "an overreach by the US government."
At the time, CEO Tim Cook said complying with the order would have required Apple to build "a backdoor to the iPhone ... something we consider too dangerous to create."
Human Rights Watch questioned whether the company would take similar steps to try to protect users' iCloud information in China, where similar privacy rights don't exist.
"Will Apple challenge laws adopted by the Chinese government that give authorities vast access to that data, especially with respect to encrypted keys that authorities will likely demand?" asked Sophie Richardson, China director for Human Rights Watch.
Apple declined to answer that question directly, but it pushed back on concerns that Chinese authorities will have easy access to iCloud users' data.
"Apple has not created nor were we requested to create any backdoors and Apple will continue to retain control over the encryption keys to iCloud data," the Apple spokesman said.
"As with other countries, we will respond to legal requests for data that we have in our possession for individual users, never bulk data," he added.
Rights groups and privacy advocates are not convinced.
"China is an authoritarian country with a long track record of problematic human rights abuses, and extensive censorship and surveillance practices," Deibert said.
Apple users in China should take "extra and possibly inconvenient precautions not to store sensitive data on Apple's iCloud," he advised.
Most of those users have already accepted the new status quo, according to Apple. So far, more than 99.9% of iCloud users in China have chosen to continue using the service, the Apple spokesman said....
The Youth Development Agency has inked a cooperation agreement with the National Center for Mental Health to launch an advocacy campaign for preventing alcoholism among students and young people.
Head of the Youth Development Agency S.Sukh-Ochir stated on February 23, “We organized measures advocating young people to avoid developing harmful habits and raise their awareness about it last year with the National Center for Mental Health. I’m thankful to the center’s administration, associate professors and everyone who took part. By the end of the year, we had involved 3,019 students of 30 schools and universities in Sukhbaatar, Songinokhairkhan, Bayanzurkh, Khan-Uul, Chingeltei and Bayangol districts in our work.”
Mental health doctor J.Gantulga and adolescent and teenage care specialist T.Mandkhai underlined that research shows young people are vulnerable to getting influenced and addicted to alcohol, tobacco and drugs and that awareness-raising actions are critical as a preventive measure.
For example, a study conducted in 2011 by World Vision and the Association Against Alcoholism and Drug Abuse found that 70.6 percent of young people between the ages of 12 and 17 drink alcoholic beverages. Out of around 7,000 respondents, 45 percent had no clue about the adverse effects of alcohol, tobacco and drugs, while 48 percent had basic knowledge, and merely seven percent had extensive knowledge and understanding about it.
Experts recommended government and non-government organizations to cooperate with the press, international organizations and youth agencies on organizing awareness-raising workshops and advocacy campaigns to provide knowledge about health risks and adversities of drinking, smoking and using drugs to the public.
Through the new agreement, the National Center for Mental Health and Youth Development Agency plans to organize at least three workshops and commence an advocacy campaign at all districts in the capital this year.