Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Mongolia Brief March 18, 2014 Part II



Ulaanbaatar will issue municipal bonds
Today, a joint forum was held between World Bank and Ulaanbaatar City Government under the agenda “Bond: A new source of financing”.
City Mayor E.Bat-Uul announced that the City Government is planning to issue municipal bonds. City Government has been working with the World Bank in the past year to facilitate the necessary preparations. Deputy Director of City Government’s Economic Department N.Bataa mentioned that depending on state budget for city’s renovation and development is limited, reasoning that municipal bond is the answer.
First, the city of Ulaanbaatar, capital of Mongolia, with the population of over 1.2 million, will have to establish credit ratings by international agencies. Soon after the ratings, the City Government will submit and seek approval from the government. The main goal is to support SMEs; officials emphasized.


Stock exchange news for March 18
Ulaanbaatar, March 18 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades held Tuesday, a total of 20 thousand and 311 shares of 25 JSCs were traded costing MNT 15 million 795 thousand and 345.85.
"Remikon" /14 thousand and 552 units/, "Moninjbar" /2,021 units/, "Gobi” /792 units/, "Genco tour bureau" /701 units/ and "Berkh Uul" /524 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value--"Gobi" (MNT five million 149 thousand and 500), "Remikon" (MNT two million 227 thousand and 608), "Berkh Uul" (MNT one million 915 thousand and 220), "APU" (MNT one million 732 thousand and 012) and "Darkhan nekhii" (MNT one million and 073 thousand).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 659 billion 458 million 533 thousand and 050. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 16,459.71, decreasing by MNT 264.29 or 1.58% against the previous day.


Wrestling referees get degrees
Ulaanbaatar, March 18 (MONTSAME) Freestyle wrestling referees of Mongolia have achieved the 3rd class referees degree of the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA).
L.Ganzorig, A.Darkhanbaatar, E.Zolzaya, J.Lhagvasuren, N.Lhagvasuren, P.Purevtsogt, D.Tuvshinjargal and B.Erdenebold satisfied conditions of achieving the referee degree after having passed the examination during the “Mongolia Open-2014” international freestyle wrestling competition that ran this month in Ulaanbaatar.
The examination and training were held by Osami Saito (Japan) and Dabor Poznak (Croatia), technical instructors at the FILA.
Such examination and training were held in Mongolia twice in 1978 and 2006. This year’s examination involved 15 referees.


Women’s team takes 5th place in FILA World Cup
Ulaanbaatar, March 18 (MONTSAME) The national selected team of women’s freestyle wrestling took 5th place in the Female Freestyle Wrestling World Cup 2014 held last weekend in Tokyo, Japan.
Our team included E.Narangerel (48 kg), E.Sumya (53 kg), S.Byambatseren (55 kg), S.Tserenchimed (58 kg), T.Monkhtuya (60 kg), O.Nasanburmaa (63 kg), B.Odonchimeg (69 kg) and O.Burmaa (75 kg).
The Japanese team won the competition, achieving the Cup for the sixth time. Japan was followed by Russia and China.
Our national team grabbed a silver medal in the previous World Cup in Ulaanbaatar city.
FILA Wrestling World Cup is an international wrestling competition among teams representing member nations of the FILA. The championships have been conducted every year since the 1973 tournament. The World Cup began as a dual-meet competition for the top teams on each continent, but now features the top teams in the rankings of the previous year's world championships.


Alcoholism: Mongolia’s silent epidemic
March 19 (UB Post) - What we see in the street is just the tip of the iceberg -
Alcoholism: Is ‘self-development’ the best approach?
To learn more about the progress of current anti-alcohol movements in Mongolia, The UB Post spoke with J.Tsogtsugar, president of the Mongolia Association for Men’s Development and the unofficial spokesperson of the movements against alcoholism.
J.Tsogtsugar, whose work in the field has been well-known for more than a decade, confided that his approach to the issue has been labeled controversial, as he focuses more on “self-development” rather than alcohol addiction itself.
“We work with the brain and the mind. We don’t work with alcohol,” said J.Tsogtsugar. “By instilling specific knowledge and developing people from within, we believe we can eradicate the alcohol epidemic. We don’t use anti-alcohol pills and other remedies. We inspire people to love and hope. We give them a mental energy, a desire to protect their children and love their nation. Changing someone’s mind is not easy, and there is no pill that can do it. We want to change the Mongolian way of thinking about alcohol, this is our main campaign.”
J.Tsogtsugar added, “This is a relatively new method of fighting alcoholism because previously, people resorted to all sorts of methods such as pills, tongue piercing and shamans and so forth.”
During our interview at his office, he received numerous calls from people seeking his expertise on alcohol treatment.
Yet some requests were more unreasonable than others. For instance, an older man asked him to treat a relative of his who is not willing to apply for treatment himself. J.Tsogtsugar replied, “We cannot go to his home and forcefully treat him. At least convince him to come here and we will make him realize that he is sick and needs to change his habits.”
Alcohol addiction in Mongolian society: Stereotypes abound
“Addicts are viewed as somebody who has no job, no home and someone who spends his days drinking with similar people in dark alleys and street corners. But these are only some of the severe cases that have a one in 100 chance of recovering,” said J.Tsogtsugar. “There are also what we call, the ‘white collar’ addicts. These are those who have regular jobs in the private sector, or even have higher positions – even in the parliament – but drink heavily. They are regular, upstanding members of society during the day, but are alcohol addicts by night. They put on their white shirt and tie in the morning to look smart on the outside, but on the inside, they are sick.”
Some of the projects that J.Tsogtsugar and his organization do are totally unconventional and new. For instance, they asked the President of Mongolia, Ts.Elbegdorj, to support the campaign by toasting with a cup of milk rather than champagne on New Year’s Eve, and they have established the first alcohol-free night club with the help of the Ministry of Health and the Prime Minister.
“Before we established the club, some health experts kept asking me one thing, ‘From where among the world’s countries can you find a disco or club that doesn’t sell alcoholic products?’ I told them, why must we always learn from foreigners, why can’t the world learn some things from us instead?” he said.
J.Tsogtsugar also noted that people’s criteria for success are off-target, especially when concerning anti-alcohol movements.
“The second thing they asked me was how will the club profit? Wealthy Mongolians view profit as one thing: money. But our club sees profit differently. Isn’t it profitable when young people refuse alcohol?
If a healthy Mongolian man is developed, thousands of mothers will be happy, thousands and thousands of families and children will live better. When people are healthy and working productively, isn’t this profit? Since this is how we see profit, we believe that the club is profitable. Maybe we can’t pay our rent on time but if we lead a couple of hundred young people into a lifestyle without alcohol, this is profit for us.”
Surveys suggest Mongolian men are far more likely to suffer from alcohol addiction. In this, J.Tsogtsugar has his own theory. “For the past 30 or so years, our government has been focused on women’s and children’s development. But nobody talks about developing a healthy Mongolian man. When faced with social difficulties, men have few places they can go to for consultation. The Ministry of Population Development has a whole department devoted to women but none for men,” he said.
In conclusion, J.Tsogtsugar said the best way to eradicate alcoholism is through what he calls “mental energy,” a development of the mind.
“There are many reasons people become addicts. Conflict, fear, stress, frustration, difficult relations and such are factors to this issue. A lot people have only a basic understanding of the impact of alcohol on their life. There are some who don’t think that my approach is right, but there are many who understand. In my recent visit to the provinces, a crowd sat and listened to me talk about mental energy for three hours and nobody left the room… The minds of the nation are hungry, but there is no one to feed them.”


Family First
March 19 (UB Post) My drug and alcohol abuse awareness came at an early age, not from living with a family member facing addiction, but from growing up in the 1980s Los Angeles, California public school system at the start of its Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program. Of course, I also learned a lot from movies and television, not to mention peer education. The D.A.R.E. classes, taught by police officers who visited our school, used a number of angles to diminish the appeal of drug and alcohol use in grade school children, including the regular attendance of costumed animal characters and guest speakers in the classroom and school assemblies.
We learned about how drug and alcohol abuse could destroy families, futures and communities. And were told what to do when presented with opportunities to try drugs and alcohol. What rarely happened in D.A.R.E. classes was students sharing their personal stories and experiences of living with an alcoholic or drug addict. Seeking help from police and teachers was urged, but there was no push for young people to talk openly about real challenges they may be facing at home. And many students did face this unfortunate reality.
I have met very few people in Mongolia without an alcoholic in the family; a tragic norm. My own Mongolian family has lost sons to drunk driving accidents, and watches closely over the alcoholics in the ranks. The overall concern is largely for the wellbeing of the family members who have to live with the alcoholic day to day. There is little intervention, and judgment is not openly passed; it’s a series of sighs, wringing of hands and hoping that the worst – the inevitable – will somehow leave everyone unscathed. The shame of living with alcoholism seems to be universal.
The matriarch of our family keeps watch at special family events, with vague attempts at limiting alcohol intake and preventing the chances of anyone getting behind the wheel while intoxicated, but she doesn’t go so far as to keep alcohol off the table. Treatment has never been talked about in our family, just varying degrees of tolerance for the behavior of the alcoholic.
There are a multitude of options for alcohol and drug addiction treatment in the U.S., most of which involve mental health counseling, as it has long been believed that substance abuse is intrinsically linked to emotional issues being faced by the addict. More comprehensive programs to treat addiction also rely on counseling family, as the home environment an addict returns to after treatment can play a significant role in preventing or causing a relapse. It also addresses the emotional damage that can result from dealing with an alcoholic family member.
One of the most commonly known and accessible programs dealing with the often lifelong struggle against alcoholism is Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), founded in 1935. The program, sometimes controversial, is rooted in Christian principles, but has been embraced in 87 countries around the world and adopted by people of many different religious and cultural backgrounds. The program focuses on the alcoholic being the primary driver on the road to recovery. Mongolia’s Alcoholics Anonymous general services office is headquartered in Ulaanbaatar with meetings available throughout the city and even offering a meeting held in English.
Founded by the wife of one of AA’s original co-founders and a family friend, Al-Anon and Alateen Family Groups were formed for the spouses and relatives of individuals involved in AA. They provide a program that parallels the treatment and recovery program in AA, but focuses on the challenges unique to people who have to live with the day to day burden of being subject to life with an alcoholic. The family groups provide a safe space for group members to talk about issues that they are often ashamed of seeking help for, and for processing feelings of guilt or inadequacy that may be faced with an ongoing abuse problem in their lives.
Dealing with alcoholism focuses overwhelmingly on dealing with the alcoholic and not nearly enough with providing support, counsel and direction for the people living under the alcoholic. Children who are exposed to alcoholism also face a greater risk of adopting the addictive and abusive behaviors they are exposed to. Raising children in a household that accepts alcohol abuse as a regular practice simply insures that the problem is passed on through the generations.
Mongolia seems to have more than its share of “functioning” alcoholics – alcoholics who drink large amounts of alcohol daily but are able to maintain regular employment and relationships. A culture of enabling these individuals to continue in their destructive behavior, despite the daily costs to family and the community, is one of the biggest setbacks that Mongolia faces in changing the way that alcoholism is normalized and accepted. The unaccountable alcoholic rarely changes of their own free will, and a society that refuses to hold themselves accountable for its alcoholics will punish future generations.
With the nature of Mongolian family structure being what it is, embracing and supporting extended family members, there needs to be a new understanding of what it means to support an alcoholic and help steer them towards recovery. If Mongolian alcohol treatment programs are reluctant or slow to adopt individual and family counseling as part of every patient’s recovery, perhaps it’s time for the government to invest in education programs that help make a difference for the future.
Teaching Mongolian youth that alcoholism has severe and real risks for short and long-term health, and giving them outlets to talk about those risks may convince a number of young people to choose different paths than their predecessors. A solid education about alcohol consumption rather than a legacy of tolerance could turn things around.


More support needed, says anti-alcohol advocates
March 19 (UB Post) Mongolian anti-alcoholism advocates have called upon the government to act to reform the country’s alcohol policies to raise public awareness of the problems related to alcohol dependence.
Representatives from a local Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) group say that government measures to prevent alcoholism are failing to reach target groups. One spokesperson said, “Those efforts are being limited by lectures and other similar activities. But the way that alcoholics think is different.
“Everyone knows alcoholic beverages are not a good thing. But the reason that alcoholics get dependent upon [alcohol] even though they are fully conscious of how alcohol can harm your life is that people think they are different.
“They agree with the old Mongolian saying, ‘Alcohol can overpower everyone and everything else but its bottle.’ Yet, they still think they are able to control themselves before it gets too late and never become a pathetic alcoholic lying in the street. It is quite common to even think they are just unlucky in life when they actually become one of those alcoholics in the streets. They don’t acknowledge that they became alcoholics because they were stupid,” he added.
Alcoholism continues to prove a significant social problem in Mongolia. A report produced by BMC Public Health last year found that while almost half of Mongolia’s male population, and a third of women drank alcohol, excessive binge drinking proves a serious concern. “Nine in ten respondents agreed that heavy episodic drinking of alcohol is common among Mongolians, and the harms of daily alcohol consumption were generally perceived to be high,” the report would note.
The World Health Organization (WHO) sees alcoholism as one of the four major non-communicable disease risk factors. Each year, alcohol addiction is said to be responsible for some 2.5 million deaths worldwide.
According to news.zindaa.mn, approximately 1,000 people die because of alcohol-related issues in Mongolia.
Studies from narcology centers in Mongolia showed that 55.2 percent of the adult population in the country consumes excessive amounts of alcoholic beverages and 140,000 people are processed in “sobering up” facilities each year. Also, 12,000 people are in need of receiving detoxification treatments every year in Mongolia.
According to a 2010 Ulaanbaatar City Mayor’s ordinance, the sale of alcoholic beverages is prohibited on the first and 20th day of every month. Police are responsible for ensuring broad implementation of the policy and often monitor the city’s liquor outlets on those given days.
However, AA representatives say that such policies do little to mitigate alcohol’s dire effects. “Alcohol-free days have no impact at all in society on reducing alcoholism,” the representative said. “The difference is that vodkas that cost 10,000 MNT become valued at 20,000 MNT at those several spots where people sell vodka from their cars. I suspect that the police know about it for sure, but are conspiring with the illegal alcohol sellers for profit. I think there is no way for the police to not know about those sales while I, an ordinary citizen, know about them.”
Major efforts to curb alcohol addiction have received some support from prominent political figures. In 2011, President Ts.Elbegdorj initiated the “Alcohol-free Mongolia” national network, which aims to include civil society groups in the development of public policy related to alcohol addiction.
The government has set up a website focused on curbing alcoholism (arhiguimongol.mn). The website highlights the President’s request that government and other groups refuse to serve alcohol at official ceremonies or functions.
Yet AA representatives feel such efforts do not go far enough to curb the problem.
“Private detoxification centers charge an average of 70,000 MNT per day for ten-day treatments. Only so many people can afford that,” the AA representative said.
The President himself won the WHO Regional Director’s First Special Recognition Award for Alcohol Control for brilliant leadership in the fight against increasing the prevalence of alcohol related diseases. This recognition will hopefully make countries around the world aware of a good example on how the leadership of the head of a country can make a difference in the fight against non-communicable disease and reduction in the harmful effects of alcohol. To boost government efforts to prevent and control alcohol-related problems, President Ts. Elbegdorj launched a cross-cutting, multi-sectoral campaign with the theme: Alcohol-Free Mongolia, reported the Western Pacific Region Organization of the World Health Organization.
Yet, as many in Mongolian society do not see alcohol dependence as a disease, finding an effective means of treating the problem remains a significant challenge.
“What government should do is to formulate and revise its state policies. It needs to raise awareness of the public on how alcohol dependence must be seen as disease, and change the public’s attitude towards it. No injection or equipment can make alcoholics stop drinking,” say AA representatives.
Only then will “alcoholics give up drinking, when they realize their own wrongdoings. The society, environment and policies should be directing them to do so.”


Facts facing the future
March 19 (UB Post) Underage drinking is on the rise
According to a Shuud.mn article published on February 23, an alcoholism survey was conducted among 7,000 teenagers from an Ulaanbaatar general education school. The majority had tried vodka by the age of eleven, and 6.1 percent of these teens said they had consumed alcohol excessively – drinking until they blacked out. An article published in local newspaper Zuunii Medee in November 2011, reported the results of a survey conducted by World Vision and Association Against Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. They found that among children between the ages of 12 to 17, more than seventy percent had consumed some form of alcoholic beverage.
According to the 2009 records of the Ministry of Justice and Internal Affairs, a total of 2,614 more intoxicated persons were taken to drunk tanks across Mongolia for detoxification in 2008 than in 2007, and the number of underage drinkers in the tanks went from 175 in 2006, to 231 in 2007, and 264 in 2008. The statistics suggest that the occurrence of alcoholism among adolescents has been increasing year by year.
The same ministry would later report on a growing connection between excessive alcohol consumption and crime. By 2009, over sixty percent of homicides, more than fifty percent of aggravated assaults, and approximately half of all sexual assaults in the previous year were attributable to alcohol abuse.
Perhaps most disconcerting are those serious crimes reported to involve child victims, even child perpetrators, and alcohol abuse.
Local media recently reported the rape of a child by children. In eastern Khentii Province, eight students under the age of 17 were investigated for the rape of a local sixteen year-old girl. Two boys asked the girl to play card games at the home of one of their friends. They made a bet that the loser of the game would drink vodka. The boys were suspected of having conspired to make the girl lose. The sexual assault took place while the girl was unconscious.
Elsewhere, local media recently reported that four children – ages ranging from seven to fifteen – consumed large sums of alcohol. Trouble ensued, with the seven year-old beaten up by the others. The extent of his injuries were so dramatic that he had to be treated at the National Trauma and Orthopedic Research Center.
A recent study conducted by researchers from the American National Institute found that drinking at a young age is significant in determining future drinking patterns. They found that the earlier the age of alcohol consumption, the more likely that a child would face alcohol addiction later in life. Those who consumed alcohol before reaching the age of 21 were also found to be four times more likely to become “heavy drinkers”.
A generational shift is taking place, with numerous motivating factors seeing today’s youth turn to alcohol at an early age. In prior decades, drinking in restaurants was a mark of status, as only the wealthy could afford to so.
Today, alcohol is both affordable and widely available. Though prohibited by law, the sale of alcoholic beverages to underage youth is commonplace. Nightclubs will rarely ask for proof of age. Police rarely crack down on underage alcohol sales.
On a personal note, my Facebook friends will often share lots of videos, photos and memes on social media. Recently one particular video caught my eye. It was titled (in Mongolian), “Drunk kid yelling to kill… No way, Mongolian future!”
The video had been recorded by a cafeteria customer who witnessed a Mongolian child, probably around 10 -12 years old, semi-conscious, occasionally yelling, swearing, and vomiting in a local cafeteria while being dragged away by his friends (see: http://bit.ly/PLtmSl).
It was deeply depressing to watch. It suggests that our society has a number of significant underlying problems that motivate underage drinking. We should all be concerned. Indeed, if this video is anything to go by, then it is a future bleak indeed.


Liver cancer among Mongolians among highest in the world: Is alcohol to blame?
March 19 (UB Post) Mongolians have one of the highest rates of liver cancer in the world, with health officials saying that alcohol dependency emerges as a leading contributing factor.
Mongolian adults drink an average of three liters of pure spirits (such as vodka, both locally produced and imported) each year, despite heavy alcohol consumption being associated with a variety of adverse health and social consequences. These include cirrhosis, mental illness, several types of cancer, pancreatitis, and damage to the fetus among pregnant women.
Among the most dangerous of these is liver cancer. The liver acts to filter harmful substances from the blood, while making enzymes and bile that help the body digest food. It also converts food into substances needed for life and growth.
In our bodies, alcohol is converted into a toxic chemical called acetaldehyde. It can cause cancer by damaging DNA and stopping our cells from repairing this damage. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified acetaldehyde formed as a result of drinking alcohol as being a cause of cancer, along with alcohol itself.
Acetaldehyde also causes liver cells to grow faster than normal. These regenerating cells are more likely to pick up changes in their genes that could lead to cancer. Mainly the liver breaks down ethanol and other cell types. Alcohol acts to manage these cells.
Therefore, having more than two drinks of alcohol each day can dramatically increase the risk of liver and other cancers. The risk of further illness steadily increases with the amount of alcohol that a person drinks.
Widespread access to alcohol
According to 2012 statistics released by the World Cancer Research Fund, Mongolia has the world’s highest rate of liver cancer per head of population. While men are statistically more likely to be affected, disturbingly, liver cancer remains the most common cause of death in both genders.
In 2006, Mongolia’s Ministry of Health, along with the World Health Organization and Center of Mental Health and Narcology conducted a joint survey under the theme, “Epidemiological study on prevalence of alcohol consumption, alcohol drinking patterns and alcohol related harms in Mongolia.”
According to the survey, Mongolia produces an average 4.9 million liters of spirits, 9.4 million liters of vodka, and 3.3 million liters of beer each year. An additional fifteen million liters of alcoholic beverages were imported into the country. Per capita consumption in Mongolia is estimated to be 9.03 liters of absolute alcohol per year.
In 2013, per capita consumption in Mongolia increased to 28 liters per year. Which means that Mongolians are at a high risk for alcoholism.
More recent surveys of alcohol production and sales in the country are hard to come by. Yet a 2004 report showed that there were 12 spirits factories, 173 vodka factories and 29 beer factories operating across Mongolia. Each province had at least one alcohol production factory, many of which produce some of Mongolia’s more traditional alcoholic beverages, such as fermented horse milk (airag) and distilled milk vodka (nermel).
Alcohol was available for sale at over five thousand outlets nationally (48 wholesale markets, 3,482 shops, 338 restaurants and 1,297 bars.) These statistics see alcohol availability (per capita) among the highest in the world.
Seeking Treatment
March 19 (UB Post) In Ulaanbaatar on July 6, 2009, shaman B.Baysgalan conducted an anti-alcoholism ceremony for a man named Battulga. Some families regularly enlist the services of shamans in order to “treat” alcoholism. His family, having brought him to the shaman, had hoped he would stop regularly drinking vodka. It ended in disaster.
According to the police report, the shaman placed nine stones inside of a fully fired stove. The stones were then placed into a container and vodka was poured over them, little by little. With Battulga covered by a blanket, the stones were then placed across his body for some ten minutes.
When the blanket was removed, Battulga’s neck, arms, shoulders, elbows, and the surface of his right thigh were severely burned. He later died from shock.
The court would sentence the shaman to 11 years in prison. The victim’s family filed no further complaints given they sought the shaman’s assistance voluntarily. Instead they requested the shaman pay three million MNT to cover the funeral fee.
Families are often eager to find a way to stop their loved ones from drinking and spend money trying to eliminate the addiction. People sometimes joke that every family has its own alcoholic.
Currently, Mongolian families can choose from four options for treatment of alcoholism including healing by shaman, hypodermic injection treatment, spinal taps, private hospital treatment, or the National Center for Mental Health.
People tell each other about treatments such as, hypodermic injection treatment, eating seagull droppings, cutting the tongue then taking a drop of snake venom or poison, or cutting into the back and adding ten doses of medicine that will penetrate the body for five to ten years (it is believed this establishes an anti-alcohol immune system or uncomfortable physical response to alcohol). When a person receives the spinal treatment, practitioners say that even smelling alcohol will cause skin irritations, inflammation, itchiness and the feeling of dizziness. Of course, the treatment comes at a high cost – at least one million MNT. The average Mongolian salary is 600 thousand MNT.
At a private hospital in Ulaanbaatar, Dr. N.Balchin argues that, “the most essential thing to stop drinking vodka is to clean the poisonous substance from the drinker’s blood.”
His hospital has dedicated equipment, imported from Germany that is designed to detoxify a person’s blood. One treatment costs around 45 thousand MNT and four treatments is considered a complete course of treatment. With over ten years of experience, he believes this method is by far the most effective in treating alcoholism.
He is often critical of methods used by other health organizations, such as hypodermic injection treatments. He believes this means of releasing poisons – that is, via induced sweating techniques, even spinal taps – can often do more harm than good.
Dr. Balchin was once a proponent of hypodermic injection treatments as a means of eliminating alcohol addiction. He then undertook further research in Russia before finding the treatment to be ineffective. He believes the treatment to be outdated, a Soviet-era practice that has somehow continued despite it no longer being in widespread use.
Mongolia’s National Center for Mental Health based in Ulaanbaatar continues to develop treatments to reduce the harmful effects of alcohol addiction. Dr. D.Gantumur, a qualified psychiatrist, explained that three main phases of treatment have been identified.
“The most essential part of stopping drinking is working with the psychology of the patient. As for the spinal way, treatment is possible,” he explained. “It is still being used all around the world and has results. It works by making the body become uncomfortable when drinking vodka, like an allergy.”
Yet the doctor admits that the Mongolian Ministry of Health has not approved the treatment. “They don’t have controls or the right to inspect private hospitals or some businesses,” he explained.
Unlike Dr. Balchin, mental health expert Prof. Ch.Gantumur does not advocate blood detoxification as an effective means of alcohol treatment.
“The private hospital way to clean poison from the blood has big disadvantages,” he explained. “When they filter or clean the alcohol and poisonous substances from blood, they suck out all the protein and minerals together from normal blood levels. That is dangerous to the human body. It is not a solution.”
Yet there emerge concerns that some private hospitals and other institutes often promote ineffective treatments based on unproven pseudo-science. Some go so far as to suggest that their treatment medications will last for up to five years.
Most medical professionals doubt these claims. According to Ch. Gantumur, it is almost impossible. “Any medicine can only keep working in the human body for at least six months to one year,” he advised. “Most of the practitioners of the treatment don’t know how to use and inject the medicine into patients, that is a problem. Let alone the high cost, 500 thousand to one million MNT.”
Ch. Gantsetseg, Head of the Mongolian Psychologist’s Union suggests hypodermic injection treatment for a 600 thousand MNT fee, using hypnosis on patients to help them stop drinking, and the liquid version of spinal taps imported from Russia administered just once (under controlled circumstances) with a six-month follow-up. He also supports prescribing medicine that supports brain function, rather than especially potent medication that could lead to greater damage.
Perhaps most significantly, he explained, “most of the private hospitals use detoxification methods but forget about psychology.”
Some suggest not all psychological treatments are to be trusted, even if teamed with medical treatment. One foreign doctor is said to regularly hypnotize alcohol dependent patients before providing them with regular liquid spinal taps, at a cost of up to one million MNT. And some question whether patients are likely to see any positive results.
Professionals will likely continue to debate the best practices for treating alcohol addiction, as they continue to work to keep their treatment facilities profitable. More education – for professionals and the public – is needed to make changes for the better. Ultimately, it is up to patients and their families to push the treatment facilities in the right direction: putting patients first.


Mongolia places 5th at the FILA Wrestling World Cup
March 19 (UB Post) The Mongolian men’s freestyle wrestling team took 5th place at the 2014 FILA Wrestling World Cup, which was held on March 15 and 16 in Los Angeles, USA.
This is the first time that Mongolia took part in the FILA Wrestling World Cup since 2002. The Mongolian national team competed in the “B” division against teams from Russia, Japan, Georgia and Ukraine. The “A” division included teams from Armenia, India, Iran, Turkey and the USA.
The Mongolian team defeated Georgia and Japan, but lost to Russia and Ukraine.
The Iranian team won the gold medal and the silver medal went to Russia. The USA team won the bronze medal.
The 2014 FILA Wrestling World Cup for women’s freestyle was held at the same time as the men’s freestyle tournament in Tokyo, Japan.
The Mongolian women’s freestyle wrestling team also placed 5th. The Russian women’s team won gold, and the bronze medal went to the Chinese team.
In their last match, the Mongolian women’s team defeated the USA team on technicality.


Mongolian Cultural Days opens in Hong Kong
March 19 (UB Post) The Mongolian Cultural Days series event commenced in Hong Kong on March 18.
The series of events are aimed at promoting Mongolian folk arts and nomadic culture, and to attract tourists to Mongolia. The event will run for seven days.
The organizers of the event are World’s Mongolian Cultural Association and Hong-Kong-based organizations Asia Society, Royal Geographical Society and Odyssey Publications, and Mongolia’s Consulates-General in Hong Kong and Macao.
The weekly events include a promotion activity for the book, “Chinggis Khaan and the Mongolian Empire” published by Asia Society Organization and Smithsonian Institution. During the events, Carl Robinson, author of “Mongolia: Nomad Empire of the Eternal Blue Sky” will be interviewed and a presentation on Mongolia for students and teachers of Hong Kong International School will be made, along with a seminar on khuumii (throat singing) and Mongolian performing arts.
Khusugtun, a Mongolian folk group, is also planning to stage a concert titled “Mongolian Week” during the events.


B.Bold-Erdene: We may find mines like Tavantolgoi and Oyu Tolgoi if we do large-scale detailed research
March 19 (UB Post) The following is an interview with the Executive Director of the Mongolian Geological Society, B.Bold-Erdene.
-What sort of policies are necessary in order to develop geology and mineral exploration? Although the state approved its policy recently, it still hasn’t begun implementation.
-The state approved the policy for the geology and mineral sector. In my opinion, the motive for this policy is to develop the geology sector. The mining sector is the biggest leverage for Mongolia’s economy to grow. Following this, the geology sector will develop immensely in the future. Mongolia must establish a national geological society. As seen from other countries, geologists and scientists of national geology societies conduct geological surveys and basic research for them. It was an absolutely correct decision of the government to include the establishment of a national geology society in the policy for the geology and mineral sector.
By establishing a national geology society, research on mining will be conducted in an organized and science-based manner. This will be done with the participation of scientists, the government and private sector. In other words, special permissions will not be necessary for basic research projects and will be conducted like projects that are funded by the state budget. Research on mineral resource exploration and refinery will be done by mineral license holders with members of the national geology society. Supervision for research by the government will be more productive and scientific. Since we’ll be using the knowledge and capability of geologists and scientists, the results of exploration are likely to be high.  When establishing the national geology society, we’ll develop regulations and standards for research work for exploration that conforms to international standards. Mongolian geologists working with conforming standards and regulations with international standards will be recognized worldwide. Their capabilities will develop; mineral mines and natural resources found with their participation will be evaluated at global standards; and the time for them to become famous worldwide will soon come. In my case, I have a very optimistic vision for Mongolian geological exploration activities and the careers of geologists.
-When will a national geology society be established?
-The work to establish a national geology society started a long time ago. It’s been discussed since 1990. There’s even a history of establishing this society and liquidating it. Now, a provision about establishing a national geology society will be put in the Natural Resources Law. It’s clear that it will be established as soon as the law is approved. The work to establish a new society may conflict with the indication to transfer from big government to smart government by President Ts.Elbegdorj. The work to establish a national geology society may be interfered with, as the president’s inclination is against establishing additional agencies. There is a way out of this. If we base the society on government-owned enterprises such as the Central Geological Laboratory and Central Geological Survey, we will be able to establish a national geology society.
-The national geology societies of some countries are said to be within the jurisdiction of the Prime Minister instead of the Ministry of Mining.
-Indeed. National geology societies of many countries are overseen by their prime ministers. When conducting basic geological research, the area’s geological structure, mineral research occurrences, surface features, and what sorts of plants grow there are also researched. Since a national geology society gets this type of territorial information by conducting large scale research, the activities are overseen by the prime minister.
-Mongolia completed detailed geological mapping with a scale of 1:200,000 for its land and a detailed geological mapping with a scale of 1:50,000 for 30 percent of its land. How well has Mongolia researched its land?
-Countries are categorized as developed, developing and least developed. It can be observed that geological research is done exceptionally well in developed countries, meditatively in developing countries and are just starting in the world’s least developed countries. If you look at the level of geological research done in developed Western European countries, they conducted 25 meters of research for each square kilometer of their land. In developing Mongolia, research for 200 meters for each square kilometer of our land was completed and we’re just beginning 50 meter research. Some developing countries such as Japan have already completed detailed geological research for 10 meters, as well as, research for depths of 2,000 to 4,000 meters. Mongolia has only completed 30 percent of its research. If we conduct more detailed research on a large scale, there’s no denying that we may find mines such as Tavantolgoi and Oyu Tolgoi.
Mongolia needs to hasten its detailed geological mapping research. Compared to other countries, Mongolia has a very unique geological structure that’s rich in minerals. Apart from becoming famous for it, it’s also very interesting to study.
-Only when you have enough budget and funding, will the detailed geological research be done efficiently and quickly? Did the government plan a sufficient amount of funding for the research work?
-In the current enforcement of the Natural Resources Law, there’s an article stating that 30 percent of royalty fees for using mineral resources will be used for geological research. In last year’s royalty fee, some 300 billion MNT was centralized. Had it followed the law, at least 70 to 80 billion MNT was supposed to be spent on research work. However, only seven billion was spent on geological research work last year and 10 billion MNT is planned for this year. The amount of investments influences research.
-Depending on how well basic research such as geological mapping is done, will the chances of discovering mines become higher?
-That’s right. In any country, they adopt policies for basic geological research to be completed with funding from the government and drilling and exploration work by the private sector. Private sector entities are responsible for exploration risks. This policy for the government to fund basic research and companies to fund exploration is a mutually beneficial way to work.
-The fact that the president prohibited granting special permissions to explore and mine minerals seems to have worsened the geology and exploration sector. What do you think about this prohibition?
-The Mongolian Geology Society sees this as a very wrong decision. There was no need to prohibit projects that companies conducted without the funding of the government and took full risk responsibility for. For a country that declared resources underneath the surface as property of its citizens, Mongolia needs to allocate areas and manage exploration by the private sector. The state needs to specify areas where the private sector is allowed to explore and where it is not allowed. It’s possible to make these sorts of policies after basic research is completed.
-Foreign investors discovered mines such as Oyu Tolgoi and most recently, Altannar. They are researching and opening mines from the discoveries made during socialism and have discovered a few new ones but haven’t turned them into mines. Truthfully, is it possible to start mines from new discoveries?
-In some ways it’s true. As for Oyu Tolgoi, the results of research to determine possible minerals in places have been real. Only the exploration work to determine the exact locations of deposits is left.  In other words, what structures are in what elevation and how much resources there are in the Oyu Tolgoi mine is yet to be researched. After many years of detailed research, it’s been revealed that it’s a mine rich in minerals. Altannar mine, where Erdene Mongol Company discovered gold, was indicated as having no sign of minerals under research done during socialism. At the time, they couldn’t detect any gold. With research done based on modern, scientific achievements and advancements in geological research, they discovered a mine. Due to changes made in research laboratories, measurement methodologies and concepts, we’re able to determine and provide precise data about what sorts of mines can be found in which areas of Mongolia. Overall, changes were made in geological research work and there will be more changes in the future.
-It was reported that Erdene Mongol Company takes pictures from space when exploring.
-Methodologies to take pictures from space to determine the properties of rocks were introduced to geologic exploration, as well as sensitive geophysical devises. After identifying what’s underneath the ground with geophysical devices, we’re setting drills. This reads the physical properties of rocks and identifies minerals.


Russia ready to draw up long-term oil supply agreement
March 19 (UB Post) On Monday, Minister of Mining D.Gankhuyag received a Russian delegation led by Igor Sechin, president and chairman of state-owned oil explorer and distributer, Rosneft.
At the beginning of the meeting, Minister D.Gankhyag expressed his gratitude to the Russian delegates for providing petroleum to Mongolia for many years, and noted that Russia agreed to consider the supply of one million tons of petroleum products to Mongolia.
The minister also asked about Russia’s plans to transport crude oil to China through Mongolia.
At the meeting, Sechin said Mongolia and Russia’s long and friendly relations are expanding into new horizons, especially through collaboration on major strategic projects that are mutually beneficial.
Sechin also noted that Rosneft is ready to form an agreement to supply oil through underground pipes to Mongolia on a long-term basis.
The Russian delegates and Minister D.Gankhuyag agreed that this matter should be finalized and information exchanged relating to the project.


Authorities discover illegal logging operation
March 19 (UB Post) The Division Against Organized Crimes and Ministry of Environment and Green Development (MEGD) have inspected logging operations of Khuder Usukh LLC from March 13 to 15 and discovered that the company logged 501 trees illegally at Bayan Ar Mountain in Yuruu soum of Selenge Province.
The authorities said that they had a tip-off from locals that an illegal operation was taking place.
The investigation found that the logging operations breached many forestry and other environmental laws.
The act of illegally logging wet trees for profit is against the Criminal Law, Clause 211 and therefore the company will face penalties, reported the police.
The fact that only locals reported about the case while forest and environmental guards, province governor and the police were not aware indicates poor occupational responsibilities, added the police.
The officials called local citizens and businesses to cooperate in protecting the forests, monitor logging activities and enforce environmental laws.
The MEGD and General Police Department warned the public to be cautious of possible fires and refuse to go to forests unless for emergency as the climate is getting drier day by day in spring.
Each and every citizen must report any illegal logging activity to the nearest police department or state environmental inspector immediately, said the ministry. The organization that received the report will inspect the scene, it added.
In the future, citizens who reported such cases truthfully will be rewarded, said the government.

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