Friday, July 25, 2014

Mongolia Brief July 24, 2014 Part IV



Treasury announces awards for exceptional international development projects
Ulaanbaatar, July 24 (MONTSAME) Salkhit is recognized alongside projects that deliver clear results in combating food insecurity, creating jobs, promoting infrastructure development, and increasing access to education and health care. About this has been published on the website of the US Embassy in Mongolia.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury named the Salkhit Wind Farm as one of the six projects honored at the third annual Development Impact Honors. This ceremony recognized exceptional development projects undertaken by the multilateral development banks (MDBs).
The Salkhit Wind Farm Project in Mongolia is helping to expand the use of clean energy, having introduced wind-generated renewable energy into Mongolia for the first time. The Project was developed in partnership with the U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation, the U.S. company General Electric, bilateral development agencies in Japan and the Netherlands, the Mongolian government, and additional public and private sector partners. 
The Development Impact Honors recognized the contribution of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, who helped to launch the Salkhit Wind Farm Project. The project now supplies nearly five percent of Mongolia’s electricity needs, and by 2020, the Mongolian government aims to generate 25 percent of the country’s electricity from renewable energy sources.
“When you consider recent global events, it is clear that we must continue to support international financial institutions like those that we are honoring today,” said Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew.  “The United States has demonstrated steadfast support for the multilateral development banks, which leverage each dollar of U.S. investment many times over.  Yet our support goes beyond funding.  We have marshalled our best experts and best thinking to make measurable progress on reducing poverty, promoting broadly-shared economic growth, and expanding our trade partners.”
Projects were evaluated in a number of key areas including their effects on beneficiary communities’ livelihoods, adherence to the highest environmental and social standards, learning from past projects’ experience, and innovation in addressing development challenges.  Many of these projects specifically focus on addressing the needs of the world’s most vulnerable groups by providing economic and educational opportunities, improving infrastructure, and offering health support.
Among other significant impacts of the honored projects, food security has improved and poverty has been reduced for an estimated 241,000 agricultural households across West Africa; a sustainable model of micro finance support has been created for over 208,000 small farmer households in Bangladesh; and primary health services have been extended to over 537,000 people and approximately 256,000 new students have been able to enroll in school in Yemen.
The ceremony gathered Members of the U.S. Congress, senior leaders of the MDBs and the development community, and senior administration officials to recognize and promote excellence in development.  The projects honored at the ceremony reflect the critical work of the MDBs, which strengthens communities around the world, including in fragile states, while also advancing U.S. economic and security interests.
Other project honorees included: the African Development Bank for New Rice for Africa (NERICA) Project in Benin, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, Mali, and Sierra Leone; Asian Development Bank for Hairatan to Mazar-e-Sharif Railway Project in Afghanistan, Inter-American Development Bank for Galp√£o Aplauso: Sociocultural and Productive Integration of At-Risk Youth in Rio de Janeiro Project in Brazil, International Fund for Agricultural Development for Microfinance for Marginal and Small Farmers Project in Bangladesh, and the World Bank for Third Public Works Project in Yemen.

Stock exchange news for July 24
Ulaanbaatar, July 24 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades on Thursday, a total of 76 thousand 474 shares of 14 JSCs were traded costing MNT 25 million 674 thousand and 864.50.
"E-trans logistics” /21 thousand and 067 shares/, "Remikon” /17 thousand 380/, "Hai Bi Oil” /16 thousand  040/, "Moninjbar” /12 thousand 576/ and "Genco tour bureau” /7,268/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value--"Hai Bi Oil” (MNT seven million 058 thousand 500), "APU” (MNT three million 424 thousand 500), "Moninjbar” (MNT three million 395 thousand 520), "Remikon” (MNT two million 607 thousand 180) and "Sharyn gol” (MNT two million 153 thousand and 500).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 614 billion 975 million 643 thousand and 583. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 16,182.17, decreasing by MNT 6.05 or 0.04% against the previous day.

Mongolian Football Team Lost against Guam
July 24 (infomongolia.com) The Mongolian National Football Team has been participating in the preliminary competition Round 1 of the EAFF East Asian Cup 2015 which has been taking place between July 21st and July 25th in the Guam (United States island territory of Guam in the western Pacific Ocean).
On July 23, Mongolia played against Guam but lost 0:2; at the same time, the same group competitors’ match was also taken place and the North Mariana Islands took 2:1 lead against Macau.
As of today, the Guam National Team leads the group with 4 points; and next, the Mongolia and North Mariana Islands followed with 3 points but Macau has left with no hopes standing with only 1 point at the bottom of the group results.
The next round of the group match will take place on July 25th including Mongolia vs Macau and Guam vs North Mariana Islands. Only a winner of this group will be qualified to the preliminary competition Round 2 of the EAFF East Asian Cup 2015; henceforth, if Mongolia takes the lead against Macau while Guam loses or draw against Northern Mariana Islands then Mongolia can be qualified further to play in the same group with Taiwan, Hong-Kong and North Korea. So, Mongolia still goes with high hopes within this competition.
21 July 2014
Mongolia 4-0 Northern Mariana Islands
Guam 0-0 Macau
23 July 2014
Macau 1-2 Northern Mariana Islands
Guam 2-0 Mongolia
25 July 2014, 15:00
Macau v Mongolia
Guam v Northern Mariana Islands

Riverside Construction is depleting UB’s fresh water reserve
July 24 (UB Post) Each day, every eight seconds, a child somewhere in the world dies from drinking contaminated water. Today, 2.3 billion people out of seven billion people on earth live in water-stressed areas, according to U.N. estimates, and over one billion people are left using contaminated water for consumption. Every day, 400 million people are on the brink of dying from thirst. In some areas of Africa, people roam for five hours in search of water. In a village in Kenya, residents travel over 10 kilometers to get dirty water for consumption. All these statistics suggest that water is rightfully called “white gold” in Africa. But we Mongolians are lucky. There are fresh water lakes and rivers flowing across our wide prairies. Therefore, we’ve came to worship our rivers that make the continuation of civilization possible.
One of Mongolia’s biggest rivers, the Tuul, has supplied residents with fresh water for 400 years, but this luxury is coming near its end. In recent years, a large number of construction companies have built a lot of buildings in the area of the river’s fresh water reserve. A clear example can be seen from Agnista condominiums built by Imperial Castle LLC, situated in Khan Uul district’s 11th khoroo, west of Leadership Academy. Not far from the banks of the Tuul River, the construction of their condominium center is underway. Fresh water has sprung up from the foundation of one of their buildings for over 10 days. The fresh water is entering the foundation from various places, and using motorized pumps, the water is being removed all night and day. News crew went to the site and there was water flowing out of the foundation through four big channels. The fresh water flowing out of the construction site amounts to hundreds of tons. When asked about the current situation, the construction supervisor remarked, “If the other buildings in this area are fine, then this should be fine, too. We will fill this spot first.”
Imperial Castle has promoted this luxurious condominium center by stressing the fact that it is situated near the flowing Tuul River, and the estimated cost of their properties ranges from 3.5 to 4.5 million MNT per square meter. But with the repercussions of building these condominiums in this area, the company’s acceptance of the responsibilities for looking after the environment once construction is complete is disputable. Residents who buy one of the expensive condominiums will later on suffer a loss and who will be responsible? The company will build the condo, and that is it. However, the residents will buy it with the intention of using it as a long term residence or an investment. It is important to note that water has also recently gushed from the foundation of a two-year-old apartment building in Zaisan Village by Jiguur Grand Group, and mold has grown as a result.
According to a security guard working at a building neighboring the Agnista construction site, water gushing from foundations is a common problem in this area. Therefore, the crew visited other apartment buildings already inhabited; the situation was no better. The resident’s garages were underwater.
Land near the Tuul River has become a marked location for luxurious housing. In fenced-in enclosures stand two to three-story private houses. The houses are protected with big fences, like great walls, security guards and cameras everywhere. Officially, this so-called luxury real estate location is none other than an environmentally protected area for fresh water. By law, 200 meters surrounding the bank of any river is under special protection, and 500 meters from the riverbank is under normal protection. Under these protections, there should be no construction whatsoever. To dump contaminated water into the soil of a fresh water reserve is a disaster, according to specialists. Also, in a 2004 law, it was specifically stated that no construction work would be allowed in fresh water reserve areas. There are no companies following this law. Therefore, the administrators of the Ministry of Construction and Urban Development should take measures against these construction companies.
Not long ago, a conference organized by the Ulaanbaatar Water Supply and Sewage Authority and the Authority for Fair Competition and Consumer Protection resulted in a decision to increase the cost for one liter of fresh water to 48 MNT, and 24 MNT for wastewater. Supplying consumers with fresh water for 24 hours a day was guaranteed, and the increased expense for the required supervision and operational costs called for the increase in water supply and sewage charges. This was a good move to ensure continuous water distribution. But, after charging more, the benefits have not been evident. Instead of raising costs for residents, the authorities should charge the monopolizing construction companies with fair costs to make them realize how valuable the water supply is.
The Tuul River is the chief contributor to Ulaanbaatar’s fresh water reserve and it makes up the majority of the water table. The city’s need for water is growing every day and the Tuul alone cannot supply the water table. In this area, the law is clearly not a strong enough to take measures against outlaw companies. The Ministry of Nature, Environment and Green Development and other environmental agencies should not stay put and just observe the chaos, they should step in and take action by putting an end to construction in progress and stop their operations. For the U.N.’s first Environment Assembly, S.Oyun, Minister for Nature, Environment and Green Development of Mongolia, was elected as its president. But under S.Oyun’s management, environmental management at the state level is clearly unacceptable. Minister S.Oyun is being warned to do her work better. If the Ministry does not do its job of enforcing the law, Mongolians will face water shortages in the near future.
Source: Ulsturiin toim

For the love of art
July 24 (UB Post) “Her Presence in Colors-XI: Love in art”, the first international exhibition of female artists held in Mongolia, opened on Monday at Mongolian National Art Gallery, and continues through July 26. The exhibition includes work by 100 participants from 18 countries.
International participants in the exhibition are staying in Mongolia for six days. The exhibition was organized under the auspices of President Ts.Elbegdorj. During the opening event, Chief of Staff of the President of Mongolia P.Tsagaan mentioned that the President has recently established the Elbeg Art gallery.
In recent days, many international exhibitions have opened in Mongolia, including the 17th international East Asian Artists “Marshal” exhibition at the Mongolian National Art Gallery. Chinese, Russian, Korean, Japanese and Mongolian artists are featured in “Marshal”. We can infer from these international events that the development and expansion of Mongolian international relations through arts and culture is on the rise. With this development, Mongolian artists are being challenged to new standards and their creative views will likely change.
Viewing artwork from 18 different countries is a rare opportunity. You would have to travel to these countries to see many of these works, but “Her Presence in Colors-XI” brings these artists together under one roof.
The exhibition included beautiful creations in many different mediums, which was exciting. But the diversity of the artwork by Western and Eastern artists caught my eye.
Even though love, dreams, sadness and agony can be expressed in the same way, these artists from around the world expressed these emotions with different meanings and cultural viewpoints.
“Western art comes closer to European art, but these artists still retain the features of Western art,” said one guest at the exhibition. They added, “Even though Western artists create simple artwork, their meanings are deep and philosophical,” pointing to a painting of a bird that was picking rice from the ground. There were many Western artists that stood out by featuring work that included papyrus, porcelain, and the sakura flower. Most of the artwork projected relaxation, love and peace. Even the sadness felt light.
Some artwork inspired a small sigh from the viewer, an unburdening while experiencing the work. But some of them invoked a deeper sigh. It’s the power of art to bring out different feelings among people.
There were many artworks that expressed deep and special meanings by Korean, Japanese, German, Russian and Chinese artists. Personally, I liked the Mongolian artwork the most. These pieces were more colorful, bright and free.
When viewing A.Ulziibayar’s “Girt Reason”, it inspired a comparison between artists and journalists. Honestly, when journalists write in the same way or work on specific types of articles for a long time, they tend to become closed off in their creative expression. I realized that I need to write articles like artwork; unique and open.
Source: Undesnii Shuudan

Mongolian youth basketball team wins bronze at Continental Cup
July 24 (UB Post) Mongolia’s top youth basketball team won a bronze medal at the Continental Cup-2014, which is hosted every year in Cleveland, USA.
Over 3,200 athletes of 228 teams of 10 countries participated in this year’s completion. Some 64 athletes of Mongolia competed in age categories of 13, 16 and 18 in five teams.
The Mongolian youth basketball teams won against two teams of New York, 61:46 and 43:35. They also won against Youth Tiger Xtreme team of the State of Ohio, 50:37.
Even though the Mongolian team drew against Western NY Shock team of New York, it won third place through total points scored.
The boys’ 13 team won against Selba Beasts team of the State of Ohio, 60:42 and placed seventh.
The girls’ 16 team won against Air Attack-Tennefoss team of the State of Cleveland, 43:32 and place sixth.
The boys’ team in the age category of 15 and 18 lost to team of the US.

Mongolian and Swiss artists to collaborate
July 24 (UB Post) Within the 50th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Mongolia and Switzerland, a concert will be held with the aim to learn more about the two countries.
Mongolian traditional band Arga Bileg previously performed a concert last winter in cooperation with jazz artists from Switzerland in Ulaanbaatar.
Now, Domog band will present a concert with Jodelchorli Alpstwinblick Abttwil of Switzerland at the State Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet of Mongolia.
Switzerland is famous for yodeling, a form of singing which involves repeated changes of pitch during a single note. A Swiss yodeling group of 15 arrived in Mongolia for the concert.
Link to article

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