Friday, June 27, 2014

Mongolia Brief June 26, 2014 Part IV



Ulaanbaatar streets give residents a reason to smile

June 26 (UB Post) In the past few weeks, bright yellow smiley faces have been painted on manhole covers along main roads and streetlight poles along Baga Toiruu and University Street have been painted in light green as part of urban image improvement programs of the Ulaanbaatar Governor.

Streetlight poles along Ikh Toiruu and Peace Avenue will be painted to suit the colors in the area.
In addition, painters drew pictures of walking children on main footpaths and sidewalks of the city to highlight their original purpose.
Small parks have also been planned to be constructed at busy streets in the city – near West Central Intersection and in University Street.

D.Damba: I speak for miners, not politicians

June 26 (UB Post) Last weekend, the “100 Important Topics” program aired on several channels and online, stating that transporting coal to China by narrow-gauge railroad might pose a threat to national security. The former president of the Mongolia National Mining Association, D.Damba, was a representative of opposing views on the program. Below is an interview with him.   
You’ve resigned from your position as President of the Mongolia National Mining Association. Why did you resign?
The four-year term was over. Throughout that time, I tried to build up the trust of colleagues in the mining sector, and I hope my efforts paid off. Because I worked for my sector’s colleagues, I was dubbed a traitor. Currently, I’m working as President of the Mongolian Geology and Mining Institute.
I would like to clarify many things presented in the “100 Important Topics” program aired on several channels last weekend. By the way, whose “target dog” (a Mongolian idiom used to symbolize a person whose job it is to disguise someone else’s distress in public) have you become?
I, myself, don’t even understand whose “target dog” I’ve become. I’m an ordinary mining engineer. I’ve worked in this sector all my life. I’m not involved in politics in any way. A month ago, journalist Go.Badarch asked me to come and give an interview about the narrow gauge railway issue. When I got there, Member of Parliament B.Battulga was also asked to come. Battulga and I argued a little, due to differences in our views. But the broadcasted program was edited, cutting most of our discussion, and included only parts in which I was being offended. The program heavily offended me in public and depicted me as an enemy who betrayed his own country. Well, now I’m about to tell you the truth. In the interview, I said narrow gauge railroad is necessary for Mongolia because it’s economically effective due to its low transportation cost. I’m not saying this alone. All mining sector people are saying the same thing. A non-specialist in the mining sector, or a person who doesn’t have abundant information, would think that D.Damba is a real traitor. I see the broadcasted program as an effort to brainwash people who don’t have much information. I regret it.
Will you appeal to any legal organizations?
I won’t appeal to any legal organization. After all, I didn’t lie. I said the truth, that from a financial and technical perspective, narrow gauge railroad is necessary. I’m not refuting Russian standard railroad. The government submitted a bill to build narrow gauge railroad to the State Great Khural. I thought they sacrificed me in an effort to create a program opposing the bill. After all, D.Damba is not a politician or an authority. I’m not an authority who decides whether to use narrow gauge railroad. Only as a professional, I said narrow gauge railroad is cost efficient.
Do you speak on behalf of someone?
I speak for no individuals but Mongolian miners. I don’t speak on behalf of any politicians.
According to the program, wouldn’t we empty our coal reserves by transporting it through eight aimags? It seemed like Chinese policy is to do so?
Because the program misrepresented the transportation plan, seeming so is inevitable. Specifically, the program presented it as if Mongolia is going to export coal only to China. Mongolia intends to access a maritime transportation network through China. Mongolia ought not to be transacting with only its two neighboring countries. On the other hand, Mongolia has the National Security Council. If the Council decides the narrow gauge railroad threatens national security, it has the authority to forbid it. I do nothing but hold the view that narrow gauge railroad is beneficial, as a professional. I’m not vehemently supporting the narrow gauge railroad. Since mining products require transportation, the cost efficient way to deliver consumers the product is railroad, for a landlocked country.
Would we empty our coal reserves if the narrow gauge railroad is built? How much reserve does Mongolia have? 
Mongolia has tremendous reserves. According to the preliminary estimates by geologists, Mongolia has more than 170 billion tons of coal reserve. People say Tavan Tolgoi has an inexhaustible reserve, but it’s only six tons. Today, countries are producing energy using coal, but might soon stop using coal. Some have stopped using it. Perhaps, in 20 years, coal may no longer be used as a fuel. Until then, why shouldn’t we sell some coal and develop our national economy using profit from the sales. Twenty years from now, we may not have any coal consumers. After all, how can we live without selling our minerals?
Is coal to be transported through eight ports?
In the bill submitted by the government to the parliament, there are not eight ports. The bill didn’t mention anything about transporting coal from Gobi Altai and Hovd aimags. A few ports, such as Gashuun-Sukhait, Bichigt and Zamiin-Uud, were mentioned in the bill. But the program heavily misrepresented the number of ports. If we build wide gauge railroad, we will need replacement trucks. Displacing loads at Chinese ports poses threats to the environment and human health. As of today, coal being transported to China is unloaded and gets truck replacement at Tsagaan-Khad. As a result of this load displacement procedure, the environment and human health are severely harmed at Tsgaan-Khad. In addition to this, coal quality decreases if loaded more than once.
How long it would take to boost the Mongolian economy if narrow gauge railroad is used in transportation?
The Government of Mongolia announced that it will export 30 million tons of coal this year and will increase this amount to 50 million tons from next year, as stated in its action plan. The Prime Minister signed a contract to deliver one billion tons of coal to China within the next ten years, during his visit to China. To fulfil the contract, an appropriate transportation system is essential. On the other hand, the program said coal would be exported without supervision. Mongolia has customs administration and border guards. Everything that crosses the border will be supervised and measured. We ought to have a pragmatic attitude toward the issue.
The main thing is that China itself has tremendous coal reserves. Does Mongolia need to deliver its coal to China? Though Mongolia needs to deliver for economic growth, what if Mongolia became dependent on China for coal in the future?
It’s true that China has more coal reserves than Mongolia. But China uses several billion tons of coal annually. China supplies 80 percent of its own demand and buys the remaining 20 percent from foreign countries such as Australia, Russia, Mongolia, Indonesia and Kazakhstan. Mongolia is not China’s only coal supplier. Watching the broadcasted program, I thought some people were not even told what topic they were discussing. For example, B.Lkhagvasuren said, “What are you talking about? I won’t talk about dirty things.” For me, what he was talking about was ambiguous. I would like to highlight that such a program, consisting of various edited parts, shouldn’t be used to harm a man’s reputation.
This interview was edited for clarity.
Sources: Zuunii Medee,
News.mn http://economy.news.mn/content/182883.shtml

S.Sugarsuren becomes Asian Fitness Champion

June 26 (UB Post) The 48th Asian Bodybuilding and Fitness Championship was held in Colombo, Sri Lanka from June 19 to 22.
The Mongolian team included International Sports Master N.Khurelbaatar, S.Sugarsuren, Ch.Tsogtbaatar, S.Munkhtuya, Z.Uranzaya, D.Ulziikhishig, L.Batbold, M.Baasandorj and O.Bodibold. The athletes competed in 75 kg and 55 kg categories at the Asian Bodybuilding and Fitness Championship.
International Sports Master S.Sugarsuren became Asia champion in the women’s body-fitness category.
She became the fifth Mongolian to win the Asian Championship title in this sport.
In addition, Ch.Tsogtbaatar won silver and D.Baasandorj captured bronze in the men’s fitness category.
The Asian Federation for Bodybuilding and Fitness’s competition received contestants from Asian countries such as Kazakhstan, Japan, South Korea, China, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirate, Oman, Yemen, Kuwait and India.

Russian professional coach to train fencers

June 26 (UB Post) Mongolian fencers went to Selenge training base in Orkhon Province for a joint training.
Some 30 fencers are participating in the training. After the training, the fencers will compete in the Asian Fencing Championship, which is set to take place in Suwon, South Korea from July 2 to 7.
After the Asian Fencing Championship, Mongolian fencers are going to leave for Kazan, Russia to participate in the World Fencing Championship, which will take place in Kazan from July 15 to 23.
Russian professional coach Alexander Luvovich came to train the Mongolian fencing team for the upcoming tournaments. He will work with the team for two months.

President of National Olympic Committee meets athletes

June 26 (UB Post) President of Mongolian National Olympic Committee and advisor to the President of Mongolia D.Zagdsuren and vice-president of the committee J.Khatanbaatar received Olympic and world medalists on the occasion of the International Olympic Day on June 23.
Some 20 athletes were invited to the meeting. The meeting discussed ways medalists can promote their contribution to the Olympic games, ways to discover young talented athletes, inform teens about the Olympics, and cooperation with the Mongolian National Olympic Committee.
The medalists, who have been receiving allowances by decree of the President of Mongolia, have established a fund to contribute to sports and society.

Kh.Tsagaanbaatar and G.Otgontsetseg win bronze at Judo Grand Prix

June 26 (UB Post) The Judo Grand Prix took place in Budapest, Hungary on June 21 and 22.
The Grand Prix attracted 405 judokas from 53 countries.
From Mongolia, 13 judokas competed in this year’s tournament.
On the first day of the tournament, State Honored Athlete Kh.Tsagaanbaatar won a bronze medal in the men’s 73 kg contest. He defeated judokas from Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Italy and Mongolian judoka G.Odbayar.
At the silver medal contest, he lost to a judoka of Georgia.
International Sports Master G.Otgontsetseg won a bronze medal in the women’s 48 kg contest. She had a bye in the first round. She won against a Hungarian judoka and at the semi-final contest, she was defeated by an Italian judoka. At the repechage round, she beat her rivals from Israel and the UK.

Mongolian contortionists win Silver Mammoth Cup at International Youth Festival of Circus Arts

June 26 (UB Post) The 4th International Youth Festival of Circus Arts, also known as Baby Mammoth, took place in Yakutsk, Russia from June 17 to 21.
Guests from 10 countries including Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Vietnam, and Russia participated in the festival.
Contortionists of Otgoo Studio of the New Circus Center competed in the festival and won the Silver Mammoth Cup.
The Mongolian team included contortionists N.Anujargal (16 years old), E.Khulan (18), and B.Serchmaa (17). The New Circus Center has previously won a bronze prize from the festival.
Diamond Circus of Yakutia received the Gold Mammoth Cup through an acrobat performance.
The Baby Mammoth aims to open young talents, stimulate searches of new forms in creativity, and to provide promotion of traditional cultural values. Winners are rewarded with valuable prizes, diplomas and cash bonuses.
The first republican festival of circus art Baby Mammoth was held in 1999. In 2004, the festival got an international status and received the name International Youth Festival of Circus Art Baby Mammoth.

Stock exchange news for June 26

Ulaanbaatar, June 26 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades held Thursday, a total of 92 thousand and 476 shares of 19 JSCs were traded costing MNT 57 million 079 thousand and 171.32.
"State Department Store” /81 thousand and 250 units/, "E-trans logistics" /4,300 units/, "Hermes center” /4,171 units/, "Olloo" /1,132 units/ and "Gobi” /500 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value--"State Department Store” (MNT 47 million 118 thousand and 940), "Gobi" (MNT three million and 825 thousand), "UB hotel” (MNT one million and 556 thousand), "Tavantolgoi” (MNT one million and 029 thousand) and "Eermel” (MNT 701 thousand and 610).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 546 billion 709 million 152 thousand and 736. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 15,327.29, increasing by MNT 1.24 or 0.01% against the previous day.

Anadolu Agency to train journalists from Mongolia

Ulaanbaatar, June 26 (MONTSAME) Journalists and media workers from Mongolia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan will trained at Turkish Anadolu Agency’s News Academy.
The Turkey Media Training Program will run June 30-July 4 in Ankara in cooperation with the General Directorate of Press and Information, says the news published at Anadolu News Agency website.
Journalists and media workers coming from Uzbekistan, Mongolia, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan will be trained on Agency Journalism, Applied Photography Shooting Techniques, Applied Video Production Techniques and Multimedia applications. The group will also receive lectures from the agency's experienced staff and other experts.
The first day of the course will cover an overview of the Anadolu Agency and its centenary vision for 2020, its management structure with new-generation technologies, system software and hardware requirements, Internet network security and new approaches to social media.

Wrestlers to compete in World University Championship

Ulaanbaatar, June 26 (MONTSAME) The Free-Style Wrestling Federation of Mongolia Thursday announced names of the wrestlers to compete in the 11th World University Championship.
The events will run July 8-12 in Pecs, Hungary and are expected to gather 400 wrestlers from 30 countries.
The national university team has B.Khash-Erdene (men’s 57 kg), T.Tuvshintulga (61 kg), B.Batmagnai (65 kg), L.Javzanjamyan (70 kg), B.Namkhai (97 kg), Ts.Tsendjav (women’s 48 kg), O.Odgerel (53 kg), B.Nomin-Erdene (55 kg), B.Shoovdor (58 kg), S.Narantsetseg (60 kg), O.Oyuntuya (63 kg), B.Davaatseren (69 kg) and E.Tsevegmid (75 kg). They are headed by D.Jargalsaikhan, a secretary-general of the University Sports Federation of Mongolia, and are coached by Ts.Bayarsaikhan and D.Batnyam. B.Tomorbaatar will work at the championship as a judge.

Mongolian designer competing for Young Vision award

Ulaanbaatar, June 26 (MONTSAME) B.Baasandelger is competing for a young talent competition organized by MUUSE, Scandinavian fashion brand and Vogue fashion magazine.
Her collection named "Deelte" displays Mongolian elements of costume in high fashion. All collections in the competition is accessible in vogue.muuse.com website and, public voting is to end July 11.
Vogue Talents partners annually with MUUSE for the celebrated MUUSE x VOGUE Talents - Young Vision Award. The grand prize winner will be invited to design a capsule collection under the MUUSE label to be sold on muuse.com and at select retailers. In addition, the winner will appear in a feature story on vogue.it.
 From amongst the 50 semi-finalists selected by public vote, Italian VOGUE's Senior Fashion Editor, Sara Maino, will select one grand prize winner, plus 10 finalists for the online community to vote for a "people's choice" award winner.
The grand prize and the “people's choice” winners will be announced in August during Copenhagen Fashion Week.

Opera Theater to stage Puccini’s ‘La Boheme’

Ulaanbaatar, June 26 (MONTSAME) The State Opera and Ballet Theater is set to stage "La boheme" opera by Giacomo Puccini this Saturday.
In main roles will be tenor B.Gombo-Ochir (Rodolfo), soprano O.Uyanga (Mimi) baritone E.Ankhbayar (Marcello) soprano N.Tuya (Musetta) tenor M.Davaadorj (Parpignol) and bass E.Bumkhuu (a customs sergeant), under conducting of N.Tuulaikhuu and directing of G.Erdenebat in a stage decorated by G.Ganbaatar.
The world premiere performance of La boheme was in Turin on 1 February 1896 at the Teatro Regio, conducted by the young Arturo Toscanini. Since then, La boheme has become part of the standard Italian opera repertory and is one of the most frequently performed operas worldwide.
The libretto of La boheme is based on Henri Murger's novel, ‘Scenes de la vie de boheme’, a collection of vignettes portraying young bohemians living in the Latin Quarter of Paris in the 1840s.

‘Orange Sessions’ music performances use public spaces to end gender based violence

June 26 (UB Post) “It’s past midnight, feel silence surround me, and streetlights shine on me… I just want to see the light in the darkness… keep shining and be my light… be my light and be my love,” passionately sang Mongolian singer-songwriter Chimika in an alleyway.
Chimika’s performance is part of the “Orange Sessions”, a project created by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to end violence against women and girls. Chimika is one of many musicians whose message about gender will be shared in public spaces during the “Orange Sessions”, the official launch of which will held on Wednesday, June 25 at 7:00 PM at UBean Coffee House and Roasterie, timed to correspond with UN Secretary-General’s Ban Ki-moon’s “Orange Day” on the 25th of every month.
Dustin Barter, youth empowerment and advocacy officer at UNFPA, commented on taking back public spaces in Ulaanbaatar, “Every woman and child has the right to a violence-free life – public spaces should be safe and everyone has the obligation to make this happen. Through motivated youth, music and messages, Orange Sessions wants to promote a violence-free Mongolia.”
Performers at the event on June 25 will include Chimika, Clifton Hurt, Bilguun, Anuk+friend, and Quondo. More information is available at orangesessions.org.

Golden Reel International Underground Film Festival takes place

June 26 (UB Post) The Golden Reel International Underground Film Festival was held at Student Theater of the Mongolian State University of Arts and Culture on 21 June.
The festival was a whole day event starting from 11 am and ending with an award ceremony at 7 pm. Many interesting looking people who were evidently art house movie buffs gathered at the event who enthusiastically discussed films during breaks. The festival was hosted by Golden Reel Community.
The community first held the event in 2013 under the name “Mongolian Underground Film Festival”.
This time, Golden Reel Community have shown all the short films that have entered the underground festival, which was criticized by many. The community decided to pre-select short films before showing them to the audience at the next year’s festival.
The festival screened 33 underground short films in competition, four short films which are not in competition and introduced five of the world’s best short movies, which are; “It’s Such a Beautiful Day” by Don Hertzfeldt, “Serious Games 1” by Harun Farocki, “Creme 21” by Eve Heller, “Day and Night” by Ken Jacobs, and “Heart of the World” by Gay Maddin. The festival started with an hour long movie called “It’s Such a Beautiful Day” by Don Hertzfeldt.
The short film entries received awards in four categories; Golden Reel Grand Prix, Best Narrative Film, Best Non-narrative Film, and Best Animation and Jurys’ Prize.
The Grand Prix was won by “Window” by Bat-Erdene Batchuluun, which explores the idea of fluid characteristics of people and nature.
The Best Narrative award went to “Endless” by Tuvshintugs Badral. The Best Non-narrative was won by “Globalization” by Erdenejargal Gereldavaa. “Globalisation” is a three chapter film showing artist’s unique perspective. It was inspired by “Notre Musique” by Jean Luc Godard.
“Metronome” by Margad Sosor won the Best Animation award.
The Jury’s Prize went to “0” by Gantumur Enkhtumur. The film is an unexpected and artistic film which showed that it is impossible for connected things to exist without each other.
The underground films will soon be airing on various television channels and world’s best short films are readily available online.
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