Friday, July 25, 2014

Mongolia Brief July 24, 2014 Part I



Mongolia-Turkey consultative meeting held
July 24 (news.mn) Mongolian delegates lead by State Secretary for Defense Ministry of Mongolia, colonel general Z.Boldbaatar visited to the Republic of Turkey between July 19-23.
During the visit MoU on cooperation was signed between Defense Ministries.
Colonel general Z.Boldbaatar expressed its willingness to cooperate with Turkey to train more military personnel in Turkey, improve military financing, and develop military industry and then delivered the greetings by Defense Minister of Mongolia D.Bat-Erdene to Deputy Director of Department of Plans and Technology of Ministry of Defense of Turkey, brigade general Mustafa Avji.
150 military personnel of Defense Ministry of Mongolia were trained in Turkey. Two out of them have become generals.

Foreign Minister holds talks with his Canadian counterpart
July 24 (news.mn) Canada`s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is visiting to Mongolia. Mr.John Baird landed on Mongolia on July 23rd.
In the framework of the visit, today Foreign Minister of Mongolia L.Bold holds an official talks on bilateral trade, economy, investment, mining, defense, agriculture, education and health with his counterpart Canada`s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. Parties also exchanged opinions on opportunities of comprehensive partnership between Mongolia and Canada.
Following the official talks, Mr John Baird will be received by Deputy Speaker of State Great Khural M.Enkhbold.  In the framework of the visit, Mr John Baird will also meet President Ts.Elbegdorj.  The visit by Canada`s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird to Mongolia will end on July 25th.

Ukraine blames Russia for destroying evidence at MH17 crash site
July 24 (UB Post) By MARGAUX MAXWELL
Ukraine has accused Russia of destroying evidence at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, a claim which Mongolia’s neighboring country denies.
The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 exploded in Eastern Ukraine over an area controlled by pro-Russian separatists, killing all 289 passengers inside. While investigations are still underway, the United States government says they have evidence that a Russian-made missile was responsible for the blast.
Ukraine has accused Rebels of entering the crash site and tampering with the corpses in order to cover up involvement in the crash. Most of the bodies are still lying over open country, inaccessible by international monitors such as Europe’s The Organization for Security and Cooperation who were barred from entering the area by gunmen, officials reported. The black boxes from the flight have been reportedly found but are currently in the hands of pro-Russian separatists. Families of the victims are furious and are demanding that their loved ones be brought home.
“Twenty-three and 20 years old! They’re lying there on the floor somewhere. I don’t know where they are. I want to arrange their funeral. I can’t. I don’t know where they are. I want them back. I want my children back. Look at those people. How beautiful. They have to come back. Mr Putin – send my children home. Send them home. Please,” a Dutch mother told a UK based newspaper.
Present Vladimir Putin responded to the allegations against Russia in a televised meeting Thursday, arguing that the crash would not have occurred if not for the civil war in Ukraine.
The draw between Kremlin and Western powers have intensified, as the West is pushing hard for an credible investigation.
The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, and the U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, agreed that all evidence should be handed over for international investigation.

Achit Ikht LLC to produce copper
July 24 (UB Post) The construction of Achit Ikht copper plant in Bayan-Ondor soum of Orkhon aimag has been completed.
On July 1, the plant produced pure copper as a trial run. Unofficial sources report that the plant has since produced 30 tons of copper. Marubeni Corporation of Japan and multinational commodity trading company Trafigura sent requests to Achit Ikht to buy copper, although the plant has not yet produced any exports. The plant extracts copper from ore with low copper concentration not used by Erdenet factory. In addition to the Achit Ikht plant, Erdmin copper plant produces 2,500 tons of copper per year using the same method and ores.
News agencies report that 34 percent of Achit Ikht LLC is owned by Erdenet Mining Corporation and 51 percent by P.Tsagaan, head of the Presidential Office.

3D cinema to shortly open in Tuv Province
July 24 (UB Post) The cultural center of Zuunmod soum in Tuv Province will be renovated to a 3D cinema. Construction began in January last year. Now, the interior design of the 3D cinema is complete.
There were no available funds for the theater’s equipment, so organizers decided to rely on foreign investment.
To repair the cultural center of Zuunmod, which has two halls (with 30 and 180 seats), a sports hall and restaurant, the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism provided 340 million MNT in funding and 500 million MNT came from the Province Development Fund.
“Last June, Korean experts invested in cinema equipment valued at 200 thousand USD,” said S.Erdenechuluun, director of the Culture, Sport and Tourism Department of Tuv Province.

Mongolian Prosecutor General meets with Russian Ambassador
July 24 (UB Post) Prosecutor General of Mongolia and Senior Advisor of State Legislation D.Dorligjav met with I.K.Azizov Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Russian Federation to Mongolia at the invitation of the ambassador on July 18.
Ambassador I.K.Azizov presented D.Dorligjav with an invitation to Russia from Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika and they had a friendly discussion.
The Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation plans to host an international conference on the fight against transnational organized crime, attended by prosecutors representing 20 countries, from August 26 to 28, in Erkhuu, Russia.
Ambassador I.K.Azizov underlined that Mongolia has been actively working on crime prevention in recent years and mentioned that Russia is looking for possibilities for citizens of the two countries to cross the border without a visa and produced documents on this issue.
Prosecutor General D.Dorligjav accepted the invitation and emphasized that the theme of the international conference is a vital issue and declared his official support for the organization of the conference.

Parliamentary meeting held in Khuvsgul
July 24 (UB Post) The Innovation Government will convene its next regular meeting on July 28, in Khuvsgul Province. The regular meeting will be held in Khuvsgul Province so members can become acquainted with the building of a hard-paved road that will connect it to Ulaanbaatar.
Members of Parliament will also visit the sites of separate road projects, including an 88 km highway from Khutag-Undur soum of Bulgan Province to Tarialan soum of Khuvsgul Province, and a 165.3 km highway from Tarialan to Murun.
The road from Khutag-Undur soum will be opened in October, and the road from Murun to Tarialan is expected to be finished this month.

Mongolia included in the Czech Government Development Cooperation Program
July 24 (UB Post) A roundtable meeting to discuss the “Future perspectives of Mongolia-Czech cooperation” was held by the Mongolian Embassy in the Czech Republic, Cooperation of External Development Platforma and the Confederation of Industry and Transport of the Czech Republic.
The Cooperation of External Development Platforma, the Confederation of Industry and Transport of the Czech Republic, and representatives from KPM Consult JSC, Dekonta JSC, GEOtest LLC and Geomin LLC, were present at the meeting.
Development in the Mongolian infrastructure and education sectors were discussed during the meeting. The Czech Government has also included Mongolia in its Development Cooperation Program and is implementing a plan to cooperate with Mongolia in 2010-2015.
In 1996, the Czech Republic was the first country among the former socialist states to provide development assistance to Mongolia.

Smart Police accepting complaints and reports online
July 24 (UB Post) The centralized online system Smartpolice.mn has recently begun a trial program to receive reports, complaints and information about possible crimes or violations involving police officers and public service officials from city residents.
Residents are able to track the status of their submitted reports or complaints and check whether they are being processed by the police. Residents can check not only the status of their submission, but also decisions made and noted concerning their submitted report.
Each district police department has installed a machine for citizens to submit a report online. The website is accessible 24/7.

Rescue team finds two bodies in the Yuruu River
July 24 (UB Post) Five young men, aged 18 to 20, went missing during Naadam in Selenge Province. A rescue team of over 100 emergency management rescuers found the bodies of two of the five men in the Yuruu River on Thursday. The team is still searching the river for the three other men.
A total of 18 people have died in drowning accidents since the beginning of July. National emergency management agencies have reported that about 100 people died in drowning accidents last year. Most of the victims were young people. Parents are advised to look after their children and not go on vacations at riverbanks, as all rivers have flooded due to recent heavy rainfalls.

Gold trading increases
July 24 (UB Post) As of the first six months of this year, gold mining companies sold about four tons of gold, up by 65.4 percent (or 600 kg) from the previous year, according to the Central Bank of Mongolia. As the royalties on gold have fallen from 10 to 2.5 percent, the volume of gold sold to the Central Bank of Mongolia increased considerably. The four tons of gold sold by gold miners increased the foreign exchange reserve of the Central Bank of Mongolia by 187 million USD.
In 2013, gold trading volume at the Central Bank of Mongolia was about six tons. The Mongolian Gold Producer’s Association plans to sell 10 tons of gold to the Central Bank of Mongolia this year.

Copper concentrates account for 47% of exports
July 24 (UB Post) In the first half of 2014, Mongolia exported 2.8 billion USD in mineral products, more than double the exports of last year. According to the National Statistical Office, mining products accounted for 83.1 percent of overall exports of the first half of 2014.
Copper concentrates accounted for 47.7 percent of mineral product exports and therefore surpassed coal export. This increase in copper concentrates export is attributed to Oyu Tolgoi. More specifically, as Oyu Tolgoi started exporting copper in the second half of 2013, income from copper export increased by 2.4 times from the previous year and reached 985.8 million USD.
Coal accounted for 26.2 percent of income generated from mining exports. In the first half of 2014, Mongolia exported 9.3 million tons of coal of the 11.6 million it exploited, approaching the amount extracted in 2013. Although the amount of exported coal increased by 25 percent from the previous year, the income generated from coal export decreased by 17.4 percent due to coal price deflation, and reached 448 million USD.

2014 State Amateur Doubles Tennis Championship challenges 52 athletes
July 24 (UB Post) The 2014 State Amateur Doubles Tennis Championships took place at the new tennis court in the National Garden for two day starting July 8, bringing together 52 amateur tennis players – both locals and expats.
The athletes competed in men’s and women’s doubles divisions and member of the UB International Tennis Club Yannick Queguineer, of Le Triskell restaurant, and G.Nyamdelger of Od Tennis Club of the Mongolian Trade Union, seized the gold medal this year. Tennis players B.Duurenbayar and T.Chogsom of Avragch Sports Committee lost the final match and settled for the silver medal, while D.Erdenebileg of Mongolia-Korea College and D.Erdenesaikhan of Thermal Power Plant no.3, and Landbridge LLC’s B.Enkhbayar and Seoul Sport Club member Zorigtbaatar secured bronze medals at the championship in the men’s doubles division.
As for women’s doubles, T.Baasanjargal and A.Munguntsetseg of Altain Khuder LLC won the gold medal, while the silver medal went to I.Narantuya of UB College and Z.Ariunaa of UB International Tennis Club. Ch.Urantogos of School no.107 and Kh.Gerel of Avragch Sports Committee, and Kh.Gantogoo of Od Club and S.Selenge of Och Club in Darkhan-Uul Province won bronze medals.
Since 2002, expats based in Mongolia have been participating in the annual tournament. Former Czech Ambassador to Mongolia Jiri Nekvasil was crowned champion in 2006.
The championship was supported by Nekheesgui Edlel LLC and it was the 12th state amateur doubles championships.

Hummer Trophy 2014 tours 2,600 km
July 24 (UB Post) The Mongolian Hummer Club set off on July 14 to tour 2,600 kilometers following the path of the Battles of Khalkhiin Gol. The group returned on Sunday, finishing the fifth annual sport tour Hummer Trophy.
Hummer drivers toured famous landmarks such as the Khalkha River, Menen Steppe – a 90 km long and 60 km wide grassland area, Numrug National Park in Dornod Province, Buir Lake in Dornod Province, as well as Sukhbaatar Province’s Shiliin Bogd, Altan Ovoo, and Baruun-Urt. Khentii Province’s Munkh Khaan and Undurkhaan soums were also tour destinations on their return.
The annual tour is aimed at promoting responsible tourism, promoting local wonders, raising reverence and efforts to protect Mongolia’s environment while travelling through the country’s most historically and environmentally significant destinations.

Khusugtun wins the Grand Prix title at MIR Sibiri-2014
July 24 (UB Post) Mongolian folk band Khusugtun was awarded the Grand Prix title at the international festival of music and crafts, MIR Sibiri-2014, which took place from July 11 to 14, in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.
The festival showcased artists from ten different countries and Khuumiich (throat singer) O.Chuluunbaatar of Khusugtun won a gold medal in the vocal category, morinkhuur (Horse head fiddle) player B.Batzorig and harp player Ch.Amarbayasgalan both won silver medals, raising Mongolia’s name high.

Bestselling books to be announced by AFCCR
July 24 (UB Post) Every week, since 2012, the Agency for Fair Competition and Consumer Rights (AFCCR) has been announcing the top ticket selling Mongolian movies screening at Tengis and Urgoo cinemas. Now, AFCCR officials will begin announcing the best selling books in Ulaanbaatar, starting this month.
There has been no consolidated list, although every bookstore has listed their own store’s bestsellers. The AFCCR will announce the bestselling books at the beginning of every month, based on information gathered from every bookstore in Ulaanbaatar.

Khurd sets off on nationwide tour
July 24 (UB Post) Just before Naadam, a member of the band Khurd was named an Honored Artist of Mongolia. On Friday, the rock band started a tour around Mongolia, beginning with a concert in Zavkhan Province.
The “Best of Khurd” concert recently took place in Ulaanbaatar, where they played their hit songs including “Tsergiin Bodol” (The Military Thought), “Bi Aavtai Khun” (I Have a Father), “Chamaig Zorino” (I Will Endeavor), and “Ekh Oron” (Motherland).
Now, fans of Khurd in different provinces can spend one night with their favorite band. Khurd’s next stop will be in Uvurkhangai Province.

New four-way intersection opens at Zuun Ail
July 24 (UB Post) A newly expanded four-way intersection opened on Monday at Zuun Ail, which regularly experienced traffic overload prior to the expansion.
The new intersection was previously a T-junction and was expanded into a four-way intersection as one of 12 intersection projects planned by the Street Project in 2014 by the Ministry of Economic Development.
The roads have been expanded to accommodate more lanes for better traffic control and better traffic flow. A total of 12,105 square meters of road was paved, while sidewalks were built for 3,564 square meters of area along the intersection.
The area surrounding the intersection has also been upgraded. A 490.5 square meters of public area was developed into green space, with trees along the sidewalk. In addition, 167 meters of drainage pipes along the intersection have been replaced.
The expansion and all the additional renovation work was originally estimated to the cost of 1.2 billion MNT.
Director of the Street Project B.Batbold noted, “Once the expansion started, it became obvious that the design and budget for the intersection did not match. For instance, the original width of sidewalks was 1.5 meter, but we had to pave five meter wide sidewalks in certain areas that are busy pedestrian areas. We think that the original budget has been overshot.”
The expansion project started on June 2 with a deadline set for June 30. However, the intersection opened late due to continuous heavy rainfall over the past few weeks. Now, drivers can drive directly to 11th Micro-district from Zuun Ail without having to go around it.
The intersection was designed by Rostov LLC, while Public Road LLC executed the ground work with a three-year guarantee.

Female parliamentarians report on their joint projects
July 24 (UB Post) Members of the Parliament and representatives of the female Mongolian parliamentarians, L.Erdenechimeg and G.Uyanga held a press conference to report on projects that the unofficial group of female parliamentarians have completed over the last two years.
A total of 11 female candidates were elected in the 2012 Parliamentary elections of Mongolia, and they formed an unofficial group of female parliamentarians. The members of the parliament, who represent five political parties, have united across party lines and have been working to reflect women’s experiences, interests and sensitivity in decisions made by the Parliament and in law making, emphasized L.Erdenechimeg.
The unofficial group of female parliamentarians has primarily focused on a draft bill against domestic violence. The main purpose of the draft bill is to protect the safety of victims of violence and their family members, to protect rights from violation, and address the needs of children and victims without protection from violence.
To develop the draft bill, members of the group held a consultative meeting on “Victim protection and innovations in law” and studied the Canadian legal environment surrounding domestic violence with Canadian politician and former Minister Mary Collins.
The group also opened the Childcare Center in the ger area of Sukhbaatar district, and presented the service to the public in order to gain public votes on the law on childcare services. Women parliamentarians expect that around 15,000 new jobs will be created for those who will operate and take part in these services along with the adoption of the draft bill, which is a totally new service devoted to children who are left at home because of an insufficient number of available kindergartens. Also, under the bill, children will be nurtured in a safe environment and parents will have the chance to leave the home for work while their children are at childcare centers.
Thanks to the active participation and involvement of female parliamentarians, amendments to the Law on Tobacco Control were made in October 2012, and on March 1, 2013, the draft amendments went in force, prohibiting smoking in public places, bars, restaurants and ending the sale of tobacco in areas near schools and kindergartens. This law prevents teenagers and school-age children from having easy access to tobacco products, and reduces the exposure of residents to the harms of secondhand smoke with the basic purpose of protecting public health.
Within the implementation of the law, many campaigns were carried out such as “Teenagers refusing to smoke” – a summit of 1,000 children, the “Cigarette: inhaling poison” television program, and a school police campaign.
Members of the unofficial group of women politicians are also actively working on developing the laws on alcohol control and the law on rent. In order to develop the law on alcohol control they met with the chairmen of Ulaanbaatar’s khoroos, social workers, officials of health organizations, alcohol retailers, and law enforcement to exchange views on alcoholic beverage sales. The development of the law on rent was initiated and regulated by female parliamentarian G.Uyanga. While developing this draft law, they were introduced to the operations of Kharkhorin and Narantuul markets and met tenants in 2012. They organized a business meeting with small business owners last May, under the theme “What is your challenge?”
They also ran a campaign to protect the rights of child jockeys to protect children’s rights, and increased food expenses for kindergarten children by 50 percent. They focused on improving midwife assistance, service and access to maternity hospitals, and resolved the land issues of the 2nd Maternity Hospital, as well as resolve the remaining financing issues of Maternity Hospital No. 3.
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