1 LOCAL PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEER EVACUATED EARLY FROM MONGOLIA WWW.VOICENEWS.COM  PUBLISHED:2020/04/03      2 70% OF TOURISTS PLANNING TO VISIT MONGOLIA IN 2020 CANCELLED THEIR TRIPS DUE TO CORONAVIRUS WWW.AKIPRESS.COM PUBLISHED:2020/04/03      3 U.S.-MONGOLIA SIGN FORMAL CHILD PROTECTION COMPACT PARTNERSHIP WWW.MN.USEMBASSY.GOV PUBLISHED:2020/04/03      4 POPE APPOINTS APOSTOLIC PREFECT IN ULAANBAATAR, MONGOLIA WWW.VATICANNEWS.VA PUBLISHED:2020/04/03      5 MONGOLIA STARTS CONSTRUCTION OF CHINGIS KHAN MUSEUM WWW.INFORM.KZ PUBLISHED:2020/04/03      6 XANADU MINES: EXPLORATION AT THE KHARMAGTAI DEPOSIT WAS SUSPENDED IN FEBRUARY WWW.ZGM.MN PUBLISHED:2020/04/03      7 MONGOLIA EXPORTED 306.6 THOUSAND TONS OF COPPER CONCENTRATE WWW.MONTSAME.MN PUBLISHED:2020/04/03      8 FINANCE MINISTER SHED LIGHT ON ECONOMIC RELIEF MEASURES WWW.MONTSAME.MN PUBLISHED:2020/04/03      9 NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES NATURAL GAS PIPELINE PROJECT WWW.MONTSAME.MN PUBLISHED:2020/04/02      10 2020 COPPER PRODUCTION FORECAST TRIMMED TO 21MT WWW.MINING.COM PUBLISHED:2020/04/02      ПЕТРОВИС ГРУППЭЭС COVID-19 ХАЛДВАРЫГ ИЛРҮҮЛЭХ 3000 ШИРХЭГ ТҮРГЭВЧИЛСЭН ОНОШЛУУР ХАНДИВЛАЛАА WWW.UB.LIFE  НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2020/04/02     МОНГОЛ УЛС КОРОНАВИРУСИЙГ ЗУРГААН ЛАБОРАТОРИД ОНОШИЛДОГ БОЛЛОО WWW.EAGLE.MN  НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2020/04/02     УИХ: МОНГОЛ УЛС COVID-19-ТЭЙ ТЭМЦЭХ ХҮРЭЭНД ДЭЛХИЙН БАНКНААС 26.9 САЯ АМ.ДОЛЛАРЫН САНХҮҮЖИЛТ АВНА WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2020/04/02     ГЕГ: I УЛИРАЛД ЧУЛУУН НҮҮРСНИЙ ЭКСПОРТ 250.6 САЯ АМ.ДОЛЛАР БОЛЖ, ЖИЛИЙН ӨМНӨХӨӨС 39 ХУВИАР БУУРЛАА WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2020/04/02     ГЕГ: ТЭЭВРИЙН ХЭРЭГСЛИЙН ИМПОРТ I УЛИРАЛД ӨМНӨХ ОНЫ МӨН ҮЕЭС 16.7 ХУВИАР БУУРСАН WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2020/04/02     МҮХАҮТ: 2019 ОНД БИЗНЕСИЙН ИТГЭЛИЙН ИНДЕКС ӨМНӨХ ОНООС 0.02 НЭГЖЭЭР БУУРЧ 0.47 БОЛОВ WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2020/04/02     БНСУ-ААС ТУСГАЙ ҮҮРГИЙН ОНГОЦООР 261 ИРГЭНЭЭ АВЧИРЛАА WWW.IKON.MN  НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2020/04/02     ЭХНИЙ УЛИРЛЫН НӨАТ-ЫН БУЦААН ОЛГОЛТЫГ 860 МЯНГАН ИРГЭН АВНА WWW.EAGLE.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2020/04/02     ГАДААД ХУДАЛДААНЫ БАРАА ЭРГЭЛТ I УЛИРАЛД ӨМНӨХ ОНЫ МӨН ҮЕЭС 24.2 ОРЧИМ ХУВИАР БУУРЧ, 2.3 ТЭРБУМ АМ.ДОЛЛАР БОЛОВ WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2020/04/01     ҮНЭТ МЕТАЛЛ ХУДАЛДАН АВАЛТ ОНЫ ЭХНИЙ УЛИРАЛД 4 ДАХИН ӨСЛӨӨ WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN  НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2020/04/01    

Events

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57TH ANNUAL ACADEMY OF AMERICAN AND INTERNATIONAL LAW The Academy of American and International Law Plano Texas USA

NEWS

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Local Peace Corps volunteer evacuated early from Mongolia www.voicenews.com

Mongolia wasted little time in battening down its hatches to the novel coronavirus. It closed its 2,880-mile border with China on Jan. 27. It closed its schools the same day. It didn't take long for all major events and gatherings in the country to be canceled through February, including Tsagaan Sar, the lunar new year.

"Mongolia has been in a government shutdown since January," said Tony Mercatante, a 2015 graduate of Marysville High, who spent 20 months there as a Peace Corps volunteer. "With all the schools shut down, I — and all the volunteers — had no work. For two full months there was nothing going on."

Then government halted all incoming and outgoing flights between Ulaanbaatar, the Mongolian capital, and China, South Korea and Japan, which accounted for about 80 percent of air traffic. The Peace Corps decided to evacuate all 96 volunteers in the country.

The evacuation of Mongolia preceded the worldwide Peace Corps evacuation by more than a week.

"On March 15, the agency announced it would temporarily suspend Volunteer operations and begin evacuating Volunteers from all posts due to the COVID-19 pandemic," the Peace Corps announced on its website.

Mercatante was back in Marysville by March 6.

"Next to Peace Corps-China, we were the first country to get evacuated," Mercatante said.

The outbreak of what came to be known as COVID-19 began Wuhan, China, in December.

All the roads in Mongolia flow into and out of the Ulaanbaatar, the capital, located in the north central part of the country. The government closed the roads early in February and closed public transportation later in the month.

"Once that ended, you needed a private car to get back and forth to capital," Mercatante said. "You were stuck in your town."

Nowhere
Mercatante worked out of Arvaikheer, about 400 km — an eight- or nine-hour drive — from the capital in south-central Mongolia, which gave definition to the phrase middle of nowhere.

"There was nothing surrounding my town except miles of endless steppe interrupted by the occasional mountain," said Mercatante.

Two other Peace Corps volunteers also shared the posting.

Temperatures in the winter hit 43 degrees Fahrenheit below zero.

"I don't even know how to describe it," he said.

The steppe, a subarctic grassland characterized by dirt and rocks in the winter and short grass in the summer, rolls across nearly 900,000 square miles of central and eastern Mongolia and China.

Mercatante had no hot water and no shower in his dorm, which had a hot water furnace system heated by coal and an air purifier.

"I had to use a bucket and sponge to bathe myself," he said. "I didn't have a washing machine. I washed by own clothes by hand."

In the U.S., you go outside for fresh air. In Mongolia, you go inside.

"In my town, I had to wear a pollution mask every day," he said.

Electricity was intermittent. The longest blackout he experienced was six days last summer.

"I always had a power bank with a USB port to charge my phone, a flashlight and candle," he said.

Mercatante worked as a public health educator, teaching nutrition, exercise, hygiene, food preparation, sexual reproductive health, first aid, vocational training, English and other subjects to students of all ages.

He graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in public health and has been accepted into the master's program at the University of Michigan School of Public Health to study — ironically — infectious diseases and epidemiology.

He taught in Mongolian, which he studied intensely for three months while living with a local family. Once he began teaching, he was assigned a local teaching assistant.

"At first it was a lot of gesturing and Google Translate and pointing to words," he said. "But I got used to it pretty quickly."

Mercatante's teaching assistant picked up on the rhythms and quirks of his pronunciation.

"I spoke Monglish," he said.

Time to go
"The Peace Corps had to get permission to drive us out using six private drivers," said Mercatante. "The country has 21 provinces and we had volunteers in every single one."

The drivers drove around the clock for six days getting everyone to the capital and on fights to either Moscow or Turkey.

"My route was Moscow-Berlin-Frankfurt-Washington, D.C.-Detroit," said Mercatante.

A full term of Peace Corps service is 24 months, plus the three months of training. He would be leaving his service five months early.

Because of the international emergency, all volunteers whose posting was cut short because of the pandemic will receive a completion of service certificate and the appropriate benefits.

Mercatante departed Ulaanbaatar on March 5, traveled 58 hours and — after a canceled flight, a skipped stop and flying west through 13 time zones — was home by March 6.

By the time he left Mongolia, after two months of doing nothing, he was ready. He had met his girlfriend in-country, but her tour had ended a year earlier and she was home in Columbus, Ohio.

But he was also leaving behind plenty of new friends.

"It was a bittersweet moment," he said.

He left a major TED Talks project with his students, about the future of the country, uncompleted.

"The Mongolian people are incredible," he said. "So warm and welcoming. I never met a collective culture so welcoming of strangers."

Then, suddenly, he was home. Four-lane freeways, McDonalds, billboards, bowling alleys and the crush of family and friends.

"I've adjusted pretty quickly," he said. "I'm really thankful to have hot water and a shower. I forgot how nice it was to have amenities."

It was a world that quickly became smaller. Soon after he landed, Michigan, Ohio and much of his home country were in shutdown mode, practicing social distance and trying to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Just like Mongolia.

Jim Bloch is a freelance writer. Contact him at bloch.jim@gmail.com.

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70% of tourists planning to visit Mongolia in 2020 cancelled their trips due to coronavirus www.akipress.com

70% of tourists who planned and booked a trip to Mongolia in 2020 cancelled their trip due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey conducted by the Mongolian Tourism Association.

In 2018, 577,000 tourists visited Mongolia. In 2020, their number was set to increase by 24%.

This sector employs from 50,000 to 60,000 people in Mongolia, but due to the current situation the unemployment in the sector is expected to grow.

31% of tourists come to Mongolia from China, 26% from Russia, 16% from South Korea, 4% from Japan and the rest from Europe and the USA.

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U.S.-Mongolia Sign Formal Child Protection Compact Partnership www.mn.usembassy.gov

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, April 2, 2020 – U.S. Ambassador to Mongolia Michael Klecheski and Senior Mongolian Officials, including Minister of Justice and Home Affairs Nyamdorj Ts., Minister of Labor and Social Protection Chinzorig S., and Prosecutor General Jargalsaikhan B., today signed a historic partnership to combat child sex trafficking and forced child labor in Mongolia. Implementation of this four-year partnership will strengthen the efforts of the Mongolian government, law enforcement and prosecutors, NGOs, and civil society organizations to fight all forms of child trafficking in Mongolia.

The Partnership signing comes after several months of high-level discussions between representatives of relevant Mongolian ministries and offices and the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP Office), which is responsible for leading the Department’s global engagement to combat human trafficking.

With the signing of this CPC Partnership, the TIP Office commits to providing approximately $5 million (nearly 15 billion MNT) in U.S. foreign assistance to nongovernmental and international organizations that will collaborate with members of the Mongolian National Sub-Council on Trafficking in Persons, which leads interagency efforts to combat human trafficking. The Partnership’s objectives include improving interagency coordination and collaboration, improving Mongolia’s investigation and prosecution of child traffickers, strengthening Mongolian and civil society capacity to provide comprehensive trauma-informed care for child trafficking victims, and expanding community understanding of the risks and indicators of child trafficking as well as how to take appropriate action to prevent child trafficking in all its forms.

Mongolian children are especially vulnerable to forced labor in informal sectors of the economy, such as horseracing, herding and animal husbandry. Children left alone at home are also at an elevated risk of sex trafficking and in some cases family members may be complicit in child sex trafficking and forced child labor.

The TIP Office will begin selecting implementing partners through a competitive grant process and will soon post a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) soliciting applications for projects that support implementation of the CPC Partnership’s objectives.

Though unable to attend the signing, United States Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Person John Cotton Richmond expressed his robust support for the Partnership stating, “Because of this agreement and Mongolia’s commitment to fight child trafficking, this partnership is poised to have a massive impact on stopping traffickers and holding them accountable in Ulaanbaatar.”

Recognizing the significance of today’s signing, Ambassador Klecheski noted, “I am honored to represent the United States in signing this historic Child Protection Compact Partnership, which came about because of the strong joint commitment our two countries have made to combat child trafficking, and has the potential to make a real and enduring difference in children’s lives here in Mongolia.”

Mongolian ministry officials responsible for anti-trafficking efforts also acknowledged the importance of today’s signing.

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Pope appoints Apostolic Prefect in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia www.vaticannews.va

Pope Francis on Thursday appointed Italian Consolata Missionary Father Giorgio Marengo the head of the Apostolic Prefecture of Ulaanbaatar. At the same time, he has been elevated to the rank of a bishop, with the titular see of Castra Severiana.

The 45-year old priest is currently the regional counsellor for Asia, superior for Mongolia and parish priest of Mary Mother of Mercy in Arvaiheer.

Father Marengo takes over from Filipino Bishop Wenceslao Padilla of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (CICM), who died on 25 September 2018.

An apostolic vicariate or apostolic prefecture is a local Church that has not yet been established as a diocese. Its administration is assigned to the apostolic vicar or apostolic who governs it in the name of the Pope.

Biography
Father Giorgio Marengo was born on 7 June 1974 in Cuneo, Italy.

From 1993 to 1995 he studied philosophy at the Theological Faculty of Northern Italy and from 1995 to 1998 he did his theological studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University of Rome.

On 24 June 2000, he took his religious vows as a member of the Consolata Missionaries, officially known by the Latin name, “Institutum Missionum a Consolata” (IMC).

He was ordained a priest on 26 May 2001.

From 2000 to 2006, he continued further studies at Rome’s Pontifical Urban University, from where he obtained a licentiate and a doctorate in missiology.

Since his priestly ordination, he has carried out his pastoral ministry in Mongolia, in Arvaiheer. In 2003, he was assigned to the Mission in Mongolia (the first I.M.C. missionary in Mongolia). In 2016 he was appointed as the regional counsellor for Asia, superior for Mongolia and parish priest of the parish of Mary Mother of Mercy in Arvaiheer.

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Mongolia starts construction of Chingis Khan Museum www.inform.kz

ULAANBAATAR. KAZINFORM - A groundbreaking ceremony of the Chinggis Khaan Museum was held today, April 1, officially launching the construction work of the museum. Kazinform has learnt from Montsame News Agency.

The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister U.Khurelsukh, Minister of Education, Culture, Science and Sports Yo.Baatarbileg, members of the newly-formed academic council of the museum, Mayor of Ulaanbaatar city S.Amarsaikhan and other officials and public figures. PM Khuresukh said that today marks a historic day for the Mongolian people, which brought about by his significant decision of 2019 to build the museum, which will be a complex for historic research, training and enlightenment and to demonstrate the invaluable heritage of the World Mongolians. He then ensured that there will be no difficulties in the funding of the establishment of the museum, which is estimated at MNT 53 billion. At the ceremony, Director of Institute of History and Archaeology of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences MAS, Sc.D S.Chuluun delivered an address saying that the museum named in honor of Great Chinggis Khaan will become a museum of statehood of Mongolian khans and noblemen. Currently, there are more than 1,000 exhibits collected to display at the museum’s 15 traditional and virtual exhibition halls, totaling 20.500 square meters. Lower floors of the 9-floor museum building will be used as temporary exhibition halls to stage international and domestic exhibitions. The permanent exhibition halls will start at the third floor up to continue all the way to the ninth floor and each floor will accommodate exhibits related to different era of the Mongolian history, starting from the Khunnu Emprie to the XX century. In addition, there will be exhibition halls dedicated to the World Mongolians and a palace honorary of the Great Khaan and wax figure exhibition of Mongolian rulers. The labels of the museum exhibits will be translated into six official languages of the United Nations. The Museum is planned to open for public by the second quarter of 2021.

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Xanadu Mines: Exploration at the Kharmagtai deposit was suspended in February www.zgm.mn

On Tuesday, Xanadu Mines Ltd., copper and gold exploration company with several advanced exploration projects in Mongolia’s highly mineralised and vastly underexplored south Gobi region, made a statement related to the COVID-19 impact on its operation. The company’s main project, diamond drilling at the Kharmagtai deposit in Umnugovi province, temporarily halted in February. “We have not seen a significant impact on our business to date. However, although there are currently no restrictions on transportation locally, any further deterioration of the situation may result in quarantines and affect Xanadu’s ability to undertake exploration activities in the South Gobi,” the company said in a report. “It is not possible to estimate the impact of the outbreak’s near-term and longer effects or Governments’ varying efforts to combat the out-break and support businesses. This being the case, we do not consider it practicable to provide a quantitative or qualitative estimate of the potential impact of this outbreak on the Group at this time.” Subsequent to end of the financial year, the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization in March 2020. In March 2020, Mongolia reported its first transported case of COVID-19. As a response, the country closed its borders and halted all international flights. As of today, Mongolia had reported 14 cases of COVID-19. Xanadu also revised its 2020 action plan and canceled or postponed activities it considered unimportant. In 2020, the company aims to cut management spending by AUD 1.3 million, or 35 percent, from 2019. On March 24, 2020, the company announced that it entered into an earn-in agreement with Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) to sole fund up to USD 7.2 million in exploration expenditure at the Company’s Red Mountain copper-gold Project in Mongolia.

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Mongolia exported 306.6 thousand tons of copper concentrate www.montsame.mn

Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ According to the information provided by the Customs General Administration, Mongolia exported 306.6 thousand tons of copper concentrate in the first quarter of this year. This is a decreased performance by 15.2 percent compared to the same period of the previous year.

In monetary terms, copper concentrate export was lowered by 68 percent, reaching USD 351.2 million. Even though the copper concentrate export has not been interrupted in relation with the novel coronavirus, a drop in price of copper on international market directly affected to export performance of Mongolia.

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Finance Minister shed light on economic relief measures www.montsame.mn

Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/. On April 1, Minister of Finance Ch.Khurelbaatar hosted a press conference to make a detailed clarification on the government economic measures to mitigate the economic downturn and protect those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

At yesterday’s meeting, the cabinet decided to submit the bills on the package measures to urgent parliament discussion. The measures include exemptions of social insurance contributions and corporate tax of private companies and entities as well as personal income tax for their employees, monthly incentives for employees of entities affected by the pandemic-related restrictions, low interest loans to cashmere companies, additional child benefit allowances and reduction in fuel price.

The exemption of social insurance contributions for 6 months applies to a total of 526,000 insured employees, and the corporate tax relief will benefit 105,000 entities, said the Finance Minister. “All entities are waived from penalties and fees levied on non-payment or late-filing of social insurance contributions and all types of taxes throughout the period of heightened state of alert.” said Khurelbaatar. The government will also submit a bill on customs duty and VAT exemptions on coronavirus test kits and medical supplies.

Minister Khurelbaatar informed that around 860,000 tax payers will be receiving VAT refunds for their purchases made in the first quarter of 2020 and 2,511,000 individuals and 486 entities will be receiving dividends of shares of the Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi.

He further emphasized that the government organizations have suspended all non-essential expenditures and costs since February 19, such as foreign and domestic business travels, conferences and procurements of unimportant goods and services.

The Minister again assured that no budget revisions will be made and investments from the public budget will not be cut to avoid leading to job losses. MNT 5.1 trillion, the total cost of the package of measures to support the economy will be made available both from foreign sources and state budget funds despite the fact that the state revenue for the first three quarters of 2020 is falling MNT 97.8 billion short of projections.

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National Security Council discusses natural gas pipeline project www.montsame.mn

Ulaanbaatar/MONTSAME/. The National Security Council of Mongolia called a meeting today and issued a resolution to set up a working group responsible for providing policy and coordination to the project collaboration to construct a natural gas pipeline that will link the Russian Federation to the Republic of China through the territory of Mongolia.

Headed by Deputy Prime Minister U.Enkhtuvshin, the Working Group consists of Secretary of the National Security Council A.Gansukh, Minister of Foreign Affairs D.Tsogtbaatar and Minister of Finance Ch.Khurelbaatar. The head of the working group has been tasked to organize activities of the working group immediately.

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2020 copper production forecast trimmed to 21mt www.mining.com

Global copper production in 2020 is impacted by the covid-19 outbreak, with data analytics firm GlobalData now forecasting output growth of 1.9% this year compared to the original forecast growth rate of 3.4%.

The initial forecast was based on an anticipated increase in production from Chile, China and Peru, but falling demand and ongoing disruption to mining activities due to lockdowns necessitated a revision to this forecast. However, GlobalData points out the ongoing disruptions will be offset by production from the Cobre Panama and Grasberg mines.

Total output for 2020 is now estimated at 21 million tonnes, slightly higher than the 20.6 million tonnes produced in 2019.

GlobalData senior mining analyst Vinneth Bajaj said production growth in China is forecast to be around 6%, down from the 9.6% forecasted before the virus outbreak, while production in Chile is forecast to grow by 0.3% and in Peru by 2% – compared with a 1.4% decline and 2.6% growth respectively in 2019. Lockdowns in China and Peru would reduce the output in two markets that currently account for around 40% of global supply.

There is also expected to be a slowdown in development of new projects, Bajaj added.

On the demand side, the construction sector, which accounts for 40-45% of the global demand, is likely to be heavily impacted by the covid-19 related restrictions and lockdowns.

Bajaj said that GlobalData’s latest expectations are for global construction output to grow by just 0.5% this year, down from its previous forecast of 3.1%.

“The direct impact on construction has been the halting of work – with labor unable to get to the construction sites – and disruption to supply chains with delays in the delivery of key materials and equipment, due to quarantines and travel restrictions,” Bajaj said.

Widespread postponement and cancellations of projects are also expected, he added.

Overall expectations are for copper demand to grow at 2.7% versus the 4.1% predicted before the outbreak. The lower growth rates are linked lower construction activity in China from mid-January 2020, although the situation is gradually improving with restrictions and lockdowns being eased, according to GlobaData.

However, GlobaData warned that there continues to be reduced activity globally as more countries moved to limit non-essential business operations.

“The current forecast assumes that the outbreak is contained across all major markets by the end of the second quarter – following which conditions would allow for a return to normalcy in terms of economic activity and freedom of movement in the second half of the year,” Bajaj said.

“There will be a lingering and potentially heavy impact on private investment due to the financial toll that is being inflicted upon businesses and investors across a range of sectors,” he added.

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