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Mongolia

  • The 70 million-year-old skeleton had been smuggled out of Mongolia and showed up on the auction block last year in New York.
  • With desertification, drought and a booming mining industry, Mongolians are leaving the traditional life of herding. Herdsman Bat-Erdene Badam says he will be the last in his family to tend livestock. His children are trading in their nomadic lives for more stable, often urban jobs.
  • A massive mine in the middle of the Gobi is providing opportunities to thousands of young Mongolians, drawing talent from other fields such as tourism. But some complain that foreigners earn more than locals, and those who can't find mining work are striking out on their own as illegal prospectors.
  • Mongolia is now tapping huge natural resources. But they're in the Gobi region, where traditional nomadic herding is under assault and desertification is a major problem. Herders are worried the mines will siphon off already dwindling water supplies, while trucks and roads destroy pastureland.
  • Mongolia is in the midst of a dramatic economic boom as huge mining operations look to reshape the country. Some predict Mongolia's GDP will double in a decade. But this economic overhaul could put further pressure on Mongolia's traditional way of life.
  • Next week on Morning Edition, NPR's Frank Langfitt will have a four-part series on Mongolia. Extracting Mongolia's vast mineral resources may imperil its traditional way of life.