Friday, April 11, 2014

Mongolia Brief April 10 Part II

Stock exchange news for April 10
Ulaanbaatar, April 10 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades held Thursday, a total of nine million 690 thousand and 258 shares of 15 JSCs were traded costing MNT one billion 154 million 768 thousand and 900.00.

"Sharyn gol" /22 thousand and 263 units/, "Remikon" /3,886 units/, "Khokh gan” /2,190 units/, "Tavantolgoi” /978 units/ and "State Department Store” /818 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value--"Sharyn gol" (MNT 178 million and 104 thousand), "Tavantolgoi" (MNT five million 013 thousand and 260), "Darkhan nekhii" (MNT one million 968 thousand and 400), "Baganuur" (MNT 746 thousand and 750) and "Gobi" (MNT 649 thousand and 650).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 604 billion 437 million 033 thousand and 884. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 15,941.59, decreasing by MNT 34.89 or 0.22% against the previous day.

U.S. Defense Minister Chuck Hagel seeks increased ties with Mongolia
April 11 (UB Post) U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel arrived in Ulaanbaatar yesterday on an official visit conducted within a 10-day trip to the Asia-Pacific region.
Within the official visit Hagel is seeking to increase ties with Mongolia in the defense and military fields.
Upon his arrival, Hagel was welcomed by Mongolian Defense Minister D.Bat-Erdene. The two sides held official talks and exchanged views on Mongolia-U.S. relations, in particular, the relationship and cooperation between defense ministries and future outlooks.
Mongolia and the United States of America should have friendly cooperation in order to maintain the policy on a rebalance in the Asia-Pacific region, stated Chuck Hagel during the meeting. Both sides expressed their satisfaction with the development of the relationship between the two country’s Defense Ministries, which is being enriched in new concepts based on basic principles to maintain peace and sustainability, strengthening military trust on a global and regional level, deepening friendly relations between the two nations, and meeting the common interests of both sides.
Following the official talks, Defense Minister D.Bat-Erdene and the U.S. Secretary of Defense Hagel signed a joint statement on the directions and goals of the bilateral security cooperation between the two countries and held a press conference.
Concluding the meeting, Defense Minister D.Bat-Erdene presented Chuck Hagel with a buckskin racehorse in a ceremony.
Hagel named the horse Shamrock. Shamrock will stay in Mongolia, where he has been serving in the cavalry’s honor guard battalion. No one will ever ride the horse but Hagel, officials said, according to the Associated Press.
Hagel is the second defense secretary in recent years to receive a Mongolian horse. Then-Pentagon Chief Donald Rumsfeld also got one when he visited Mongolia in October 2005. He named it Montana, because the arid, mountainous landscape around the Mongolian capital reminded him of that state.
Later on, Hagel met Prime Minister of Mongolia N.Altankhuyag. During the meeting with the Prime Minister, Hagel presented greetings from U.S. President Barack Obama to Mongolia’s President Ts.Elbegdorj. He also expressed satisfaction with the present situation of bilateral cooperation in the defense sector, including peacekeeping operations.
The visit to Mongolia by Hagel was brief and friendly as the two defense chiefs talked about how they want to improve Mongolia’s peacekeeping efforts and its military’s medical services. Hagel’s meetings in China, however, were often sharper and controversy-tinged.
The U.S. has criticized Beijing’s recent declaration of an air defense zone over a large swath of the East China Sea, including disputed remote islands controlled by Japan but claimed by China. Hagel and the Chinese leaders have delivered sharp exchanges on those issues, as well as Washington’s continued close ties with Taiwan, at meetings and public events.

Open discussion on human rights draft law takes place
April 11 (UB Post) -Protecting human rights is not the work of only the National Human Rights Commission-
The Civil Hall of the Office of the President of Mongolia hosted an open discussion on the draft law on human rights. The draft law was developed to make amendments to the law on the National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia, adopted by the Parliament in 2001.
Opening the discussion, Human Rights and Legal Policy Advisor to the President Ch.Unurbayar noted, “The Mongolia Innovation program of Judicial Reform was approved upon the initiative of the President and judicial laws and regulations have been reformed in the scope of implementing the program. Now the Government of Mongolia is implementing the reform in terms of protection of the justice system of Mongolia.
“Last year, the President of Mongolia promoted the ‘From a Big Government to a Smart Government’ initiative, in order to continue legal policy reform and establish the rule of law. Accordingly, the draft law on human rights was implemented. Earlier laws and regulations for related organizations were approved, but in general, these public organizations are dedicated to protecting human rights. Therefore, we aim to change the Law on the National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia to the Human Rights Law.
“Since the adoption of the Law on the National Human Rights Commission in 2001, no amendments have been made to it. Some achievements and success in the protection of human rights were made during the implementation of the law. However, the law is not meeting today’s needs and demands, and in some cases, it tends to be more like a promise and declaration than a law. It is not the duty of only the National Human Rights Commission to fix and correct it and protect human rights. Lawmakers have paid attention to making the new draft bill to establish a mechanism for other state organizations and authorities to get involved in human rights issues in accordance with their duties and guidance.”
Mongolia promoted to the UN Human Rights council in 2015
Mongolia has been promoted to the 2015 UN Human Rights Council. In order to join this council, Mongolia must amend and reform its laws related to human rights, as previously advised by the UN Human Rights Council. Joining the UN Human Rights Council is an opportunity for Mongolia to demonstrate and prove that it has made concrete steps in implementing human rights principles protecting democracy and human rights since the adoption of the new constitution in 1992.
There is an important provision which states, “The state of Mongolia is responsible for preparing social, economic and other guarantees which will provide citizens’ freedom.”
“This draft law has been initiated because the state is not working enough to give citizens that guarantee,” said Ch.Unurbayar.

Victims of bankrupt savings and loan association demand compensation
April 11 (UB Post) Over 20 people representing victims who lost 72 billion MNT when 26 savings and loan associations went bankrupt in 2006 demonstrated outside the Ministry of Justice on Tuesday, demanding the amendment of the Compensation Law of Mongolia.
The government has admitted its fault in the bankruptcies and compensated 36 billion MNT to victims last year.
However, the victims are demanding compensation for the remaining 36 billion MNT as many of the victims have already died and more have faced financial difficulties since 2006.
Head of the Victims Association of Savings and Loan Associations Bankruptcy Kh.Oyuntsetseg confirmed, “It’s been eight years since we lost our money due to the bankruptcies. From 8,300 victims, 59 have passed away. Some of us lost homes and are living in the streets, while some divorced because of the loss of a substantial amount of money. This incident has affected us both financially and socially.”
“We are demanding that the government amend the concerning laws and provide compensations. We will be demonstrating outside the ministry until our demand is addressed,” she added.

Housing market: Demand and supply interrupted
April 11 (UB Post) “I want to buy an apartment and live in one. But how will I find the money?” This is the worry of most who live in Ulaanbaatar’s ger district.
There are many people who want to move from ger district to an apartment town and who want to sell one’s old apartment and move into a better, new apartment.
“I want to sell my apartment but it is not being sold. Hardly anyone shows any interest anyone. Please let me know if anyone is interested in buying one,” people trying to sell their homes say.
This is not the obstacle of only few, but one that almost all must face. The housing market has been affected by the waves of rough times. It is hard to find a person who buys an apartment with cash which means that the needs of wealthy minority have been fulfilled. One can have 50 pairs of shoes but what can one do with 50 apartments.
When low-interest mortgage loans granted since last June, people emptied out for a while to buy an apartment. The ones who could afford newly built apartments bought new apartments and the ones who couldn’t, bought old apartments.
The demand for housings rose along with prices. Today, housing advertisements are seen everywhere, in newspapers, on televisions and social network, however the sale rate is very low. Housing loans are still available but there is almost no one interested, which indicates that there is no money in people’s pockets.
Even an engineer who builds houses for living has a dream to live in an apartment. Households that have settled in the ger district on a tiny land with three to four neighbors are still around. There is a need and demand, and apartments are waiting for owners, unfortunately there is no money.
Contractors expect investment withdrawal this year 
G.Tumenjargal, Vice Director of the Mongolian National Construction Association, gave some information regarding the present housing market in Ulaanbaatar. The following is his statement.
An apartment is a real estate. Thus, its price has to increase all the time. But our country wants prices of apartments to decrease. For instance, how will it be if someone buys two apartments somehow and its value decreases over time. The price of an apartment or house must increase after its purchase.
But for the ones who could not buy an apartment or afford one, the government should provide support. Accordingly, a housing strategy, which meets citizens’ purchasing capacity, should be developed and introduced.
In order to create this strategy, our association is conducting a study on housing demand and supply in cooperation with the Ministry of Construction and Urban Development. The study has showed that 20 percent of people who want to buy an apartment have the capital to buy one. The state or government should enable those who are included in the remaining 80 percent, to have purchasing capacity by providing jobs for permanent income. Otherwise, it is wrong to decrease housing prices.
Current housing prices are on par with that of the previous year. It has not decreased or increased. It should have increased. The rate of a dollar against tugrug has increased by 30 percent. Construction companies are selling apartments and houses now, which were built when dollar rate was lower. That’s why apartment prices have not increased yet. They haven’t reached a decision on whether to invest in construction of housings this year, while dollar rate is high. The reason is that it can have a huge risk or loss. Banks are not issuing loans to construction companies. It is expected that construction companies will withdraw investment this year.
The economy has been deteriorated and there are almost no buyers. In the future, no one will want the eight percent interest mortgage loan. Large companies, especially mining companies, have started to lay off workers. Accordingly, people who have apartment loans are being cut-off from their income source. People with no income or jobs can’t pay back their loans. There is no sector can promise them high salary, as much as mining. The situation is getting tougher. There is a forecast that the economy will not recover until 2016.
Housing prices never decrease 
The following is sales manager of construction company Zag P.Munkhtogoo’s take on the current state of the housing market.
Our company barely changed housing prices since last year. Sales have been out in winter. Housing prices never go down. It goes up and is sold in accordance with the market rate. Construction work is dependent on the seasons in Mongolia. Construction works starts in April, continues throughout the summer and ends in October. Afterwards, the building is connected to the heating system and interior works start. By February, it is examined by the State Commission and residents start to move in after approval. We receive housing orders with the current rate and sell it the next year. Thus, the price of an order may seem cheaper than its current value. But some companies over-increased the price of already built apartments with the start of the eight percent mortgage loan, assuming that people will buy anyway. Companies tend to set prices high with no legitimate reason. But around 10 national construction companies do not inflate apartment prices. They keep an average price. Initially, the requirement for the low-interest mortgage loan was strict, but then it was eased after amendments to concerning regulations, such as eliminating the criteria that stated that someone who has already bought an apartment will not qualify for the loan.
More and more people will opt for the loan when requirements are lowered, and as more buyers emerge, housing prices will rise. Our population is small. Not many managed to receive the low-interest housing loan. Now there are only few who can manage to pay the 30 percent deposit required for the loan.
Translated from Unuudur daily newspaper

D.Batsukh: Integrated standard for the reputation and responsibility of lawyers will be set
April 11 (UB Post) Sometime has passed since the talk of transferring some state obligations to nongovernmental organizations and private sectors started. The very first and biggest professional organization currently fulfilling this position is the Mongolian Lawyers Association (MLA). The following is an interview with the President of the MLA, D.Batsukh.
It’s been six months since the establishment of the MLA. How is the association settling and what has it been doing?
Our association was established as a result of demands related to the law on lawyer’s rights. The MLA is a public legal entity based on independent policies.  Starting from financing and supervision, it’s a nongovernmental organization. Based on how the MLA is operating, the transferring of state obligation to professional entities will be determined. Since our establishment, 15 regulations required for the association process has been approved. In the law, a total of twenty laws were approved. Operations within the network must be processed. Functional communities were established. We still haven’t completely settled in the building. Work will settle down only when we start getting results from practical implementation of legal obligations. Currently, all works are at its initial stage.
Responsibilities such as preparing lawyers in universities and colleges have been given to you. What exactly will you be doing? For instance, for students studying law in universities and colleges, what will change?
The MLA’s main function is to set integrated standard for the profession, reputation and responsibility of lawyers. Basically, the MLA will set the lowest requirement for everyone who is operating as a lawyer. We’ll determine what level of education and capability is needed to become lawyers. Standards for reputation and responsibility will include ethical norms and regulations for operating activities as lawyers. With this regulation, high standards and criteria which we’ve never had before was set for lawyers. License to conduct professional activities will be nullified for those who can’t meet these standards. Legal obligations were set in a variety of forms, for instance, for restudying the law, setting or suspending operation, and issuing of notices. This will be done in closed and open manner. Closed meaning that it will be a private notice.
As for repeated violations, public warnings will be issues. This will force those who are unable to meet standards to no longer conduct operations. The MLA will determine evaluations for education systems preparing lawyers as part of accreditation of universities and colleges. By April 15, 2016, this will be done by our association. There are many schools offering law degrees. Additional education and information for those aspiring to become a lawyer will be highlighted in the accreditation. This way, professionalization will increase. Lawyers who meet standards and were educated well will receive the right to participate in the selection process after two years of internship.
What wasn’t working with the previous standards? Doesn’t Mongolia have enough laws and regulations for accountability?
As for changes, firstly, what kinds of activities are defined in the law concerning the rights of legal personnel. Previously, there wasn’t a system or regulation that encapsulated all legal personnel. Lawyers were viewed separately. For instance, only prosecutors will talk about issues of professional responsibilities and capabilities of prosecutor. The same goes for judges and attorneys. Judges and prosecutors didn’t work as attorneys, yet, they didn’t regulate people who gave legal counsel. All legal personnel will be regulated under one management. Issues of responsibility will also be done this way.
What sort of structural changes will be made to how lawyers receive their right to practice law? It’s no secret that there are speculations about handing such a huge responsibility to a nongovernmental organization. Can the MLA be righteous in this matter and how will you ensure these possibilities?
Selection procession for lawyers will be handed over to the MLA in April 2016. There will be ministerial participation to some degree. A representative of the ministry will participate in the organizing committee to validate lawyers. The association will be in charge of all organizational matters. Specific evaluations will probably be set after the selection process proceeds. A single person will not be able to dominate this system. Furthermore, managements and arrangement for organizing these people is fundamental. We need rules and regulations that will only erase suspicion and uncertainty. Limits for employees should be specified. If they go beyond limits, they will be held accountable. Until the above obligations are transferred, we will cooperate with the Ministry of Justice in organizing the selection process. New regulations are being developed for the selection process within this network.
In connection to fees for membership and selection process, there is a notion that your organization will have a large sum of money circulating. How true is this, and will you face any financial problems? How much do you charge for membership fees?
Our organization interprets membership fee literally. Services for members are paid through the fee. By becoming a member of the MLA, members gain the right to be promoted into the Mongolian Judges Committee. In other words, the status of being a member of our association gives you the right to become a member of the Mongolian Judges Association. Instead of thinking that fees have nothing beneficial to me, one must think about what is going to be done with that money. Membership fee is truly the main source of income for our organization. There can be different sources of financing for restudying courses for lawyers, brochures and publications. Although it’s not directly financed from the state budget, the state is in charge of tuition fees for judges and prosecutors as well as financing the MLA when we are to implement projects that aid citizens with insolvencies.  We can also get financing for implementing projects to promote laws. Selection process fees are the MLA’s income. Other sources of income come from contributions and financial support. We’re working to implement a project involving the California Lawyers Association of the USA and the Asian Foundation.
We have 4,600 members. Each month, we charge a fee of 20 thousand MNT. Initially, we were to receive constant fee from some 4,000 people. However, at the present state, 1,500 members haven’t given fees, not even once. Currently, we’re thinking of ways to correctly utilize finances. This money is in fact insufficient to operate powerful operations. Even today, we haven’t supplied everyone with desks and chairs. When financial issues begin to smooth out, we’ll resolve these sorts of issues. The MLA has enough financing to conduct continuous operations. Our fee is incomparable with that of other countries’. Members of the California Lawyers Association of the USA pay 500 USD. Some associations pay a fee of 5,000 USD a year. This gives grounds to nullify rights of organizations operating activities as lawyers that didn’t pay their fees for more than three months. Despite the fact that it doesn’t operate professional legal activities independently, there are a number of people who are registered in the integrated registry of lawyers including lawyers working in state administrations and governmental organizations.  In accordance with the new law, these people will remain as lawyers. If they do not continue to conduct professional activities, their license will be suspended. People who aren’t operating after the registry will be held accountable and the number of people paying fees will increase to 3,000.
Protecting the interests and rights of lawyers is a major obligation of the association. What have you done to ensure this so far? Since the establishment of the association, what sorts of criticism or complaints have you mainly received?
There aren’t many cases where legal personnel rights have been violated. But related to the set of laws on court, there have been several complaints in relation to the appointment and dismissal of judges. It was deemed that in relation to the law’s implementation, the procedure for the dismissal and reappointment of judges breaches the impartiality of judges. Research is being conducted in associated regions. This seems an issue that needs a lot attention. All operations must be consistent with the law. As stated by the complainers, within the law’s implementation, judges were dismissed. They didn’t get demoted because of errors. I don’t know why they weren’t reappointed. If the judge wants to be reappointed, a different countermeasure other than demotion should have been taken. The decision to not reappoint must also be consistent with the law. The most critical concern is that through this ordeal, the judge’s impartiality is lost.

Bowling tournament challenges Mongolians in the USA
April 11 (UB Post) Mongolians living in the USA have organized a bowling championship for the sixth time in Las Vegas.
The bowling championship was organized by bowling clubs of Washington, Chicago and Denver. Teams from Utah, Seattle, and sports vice masters of bowling of Mongolia participated in the tournament.
A total of 14 men’s teams took part in the tournament and Chicago American Taxi Team took first place, followed by Team DC 1 and Team Chicago.
Sh.Baatar, one of the top six bowling players of Mongolia, won the men individual contest. E.Enkhbold from Denver and Ts.Perenlei from Washington took silver and bronze medals.
DC Team of Washington was named as the best women’s team and Hawk Strike-1, Hawk Strike-2 from Denver took second and third places.
Washington’s B.Oyuntsetseg won gold in the women individual contest, while G.Tuul and P.Baigalmaa from the same city won silver and bronze medals.
B.Batchuluun, from Washington DC, collected most points among men, with 245 points, and P.Baigalmaa, also from Washington, collected most points among women with 206 points.

Mongolia to join chopper parade in Washington
April 11 (UB Post) The Memorial Day is a USA federal holiday, which is celebrated every year on the final Monday of May. The Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
During the Memorial Day in Washington, chopper riders will conduct a parade of honor.
Mongolian chopper riders were invited to take part in the parade.
Ten chopper riders will leave to Washington on April 20 with the purpose to promote Mongolia and to meet people who have similar interests. Some 400,000 chopper riders from various countries will gather and start their parade from the Pentagon.

Contemporary Art of Mongolia 2
April 11 (UB Post) Contemporary Art of Mongolia 2 opened to the public at 976 Art Gallery on April 1, with a special reception for the artists organized on April 4. The exhibition is dedicated to the 2nd anniversary of 976 Art Gallery. Contemporary artists M.Batzorig, G.Munkhbolor, Bu.Badral, Godo (D.Bayartsetseg), S.Ganzug, D.Uurintuya, BNandin-Erdene, E.Enkhzaya, G.Gerelhuu, and B.Enkhchuluun displayed their artwork for the exhibition.
The exhibition will close on April 19.
The most interesting part of the exhibition was the “Absurd Room” by Godo. During the artist’s reception, Godo made a piece of performance art in the room dedicated to writer and philosopher S.Anudar.
Link to article

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