Thursday, July 10, 2014

Mongolia Brief July 9, 2014 Part III



Former mayor accused of illegal privatization
July 9 (UB Post) Prosecutors transferred a case to the court for a final decision, implicating a former Ulaanbaatar City Mayor and three others in the abuse of authority and massive financial losses for the state through the illegal privatization of state properties.

Ts.Batbayar, who was also Chief of the Property Privatization Commission while he was mayor; former Chief of the Ulaanbaatar City Council T.Bilegt; Chief of the Property Privatization Division at the Ulaanbaatar Property Relations Agency G.Manaljav; and Ts.Batbayar’s younger sibling, Ts.Chantsal, have become suspects in the case.
The Independent Authority Against Corruption and Ulaanbaatar City Prosecutors Office found in their investigation that Ts.Batbayar abused his authority. After its closing, he transferred the 605 million MNT ownership of Urgoo, an Ulaanbaatar-owned hotel, to Khar Dun LLC, owned by former President of Mongolia N.Enkhbayar’s son E.Batshugar. Afterwards, Khar Dun became a subsidiary of N.Enkhbayar’s Eskon LLC.
Ts.Batbayar is also accused of privatizing the Ulaanbaatar-owned Recovery Treatment Clinical Hospital, valued at 779 million MNT, at the far lower price of 256 million MNT to his younger sibling Ts.Chantsal, with the help of G.Manaljav.
Another suspect in the case, T.Bilegt, is also accused of abusing his position and privatizing 2.1 billion MNT in Ulaanbaatar Times, a city-owned newspaper, to N.Enkhbayar’s younger sibling N.Enkhtuya’s Media Holdings LLC, which also become a subsidiary of Eskon LLC.

15 new train cars set off for Moscow
July 9 (UB Post) Ulaanbaatar Railway (UBTZ), a Mongolia-Russia joint venture company, purchased 15 new passenger train cars on May 9, and the cars started their first journey to Moscow on Friday with about 200 passengers.
A one-way business class ticket for the Ulaanbaatar-Moscow train is 260,000 MNT, while first class tickets cost 405,000 MNT.
The governments of Mongolia and Russia made a decision to increase the budget of UBTZ by 250 million USD and started technical reforms to increase transportation payload capacity. Both governments provided 125 million USD each. The new train cars were purchased with the Mongolian government’s investment.
The train cars have designated wheelchair accessible entrances and toilets to meet the needs of all passengers.

Steroids seized at border checkpoint
July 9 (UB Post) On July 3, Mongolian citizen “D” was detained at Buyant-Ukhaa border checkpoint under suspicion of carrying ten types of illegal steroids for use during Naadam Festival.
The stash of 314 drugs seized have been found to be substances that are harmful to the liver, other internal organs and the general health of the user. Steroids are illegally sold at prices varying from 30,000 MNT to 600,000 MNT.
A detailed investigation of the case is currently underway, as “D” has been suspected of smuggling steroids to Mongolia more than once before.
There is a rising number of steroid smugglers and dealers in Mongolia with regular clients, according to reports recently received by law enforcement organizations.
Every year, issues surrounding the steroid use of wrestlers competing in the Naadam wrestling tournament and horses in national races at Khui Doloon Khudag draw the public’s attention after the holiday ends. Some wrestlers have been proven to have used steroid in doping tests in recent years, yet no serious penalties were imposed upon them.

Business owners grateful for financial support from their district
July 9 (UB Post) Last year, the Sukhbaatar District Labor Department helped create jobs for residents of Suhkbataar district through several projects that provided extensive financial assistance to small business owners.
The aid the programs provided included granting 44 residents low-interest “Small Loans to Increase Jobs,” totalling 179 million MNT and creating 180 jobs; and granted 60 self-employed residents scholarships totalling 90 million MNT.
The residents who received aid from the department recently reported on the results of the help they received.
Khatan Shargal textile manufacturing owner, B.Ganbat: “We created a new brand.”
“I took part in the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME) Support Program in August 2013 and received 4 million MNT aid. I now have five employees. Starting with two employees, I soon employed three more people and am currently operating in a district-owned rental house for SMEs. The average salary at my company is 450 thousand MNT, and I’m planning to employ 10 people by August. The house I rent is 232 square meters and costs 240 thousand MNT per month. I’m always concerned with creating more jobs.
“The main product we’re aiming to create is a brand in decorative belts for men. This leather belt is hand knit with a knot stitch technique, embedded with precious stones and has a silver buckle. One costs between 5 and 8 million MNT on average. We put the belt in various exhibitions and sell them at several shops. People do not buy many belts. However, decorative deel sell well during national festivals. Our average monthly income is around 4 to 5 million MNT. I’ve been working in this sector for 16 years. Financial aid from the SME support program has indeed helped me.”
The Disabilities Employment and Support Program received 65 prospective MSE projects and financed 35 of them. M.Batchimeg is one of the financed MSE project’s owners.
Her mother, O.Battsetseg: “Our monthly income has increased as well.”
“My daughter took part in the disabilities support program last year and received aid of 1 million MNT. She bought a sewing machine with 950 thousand MNT from the aid and an iron with a rest. She stitches various products. Currently, she is stitching monk’s hats ordered by Gandan Monastery and bicycle seat covers ordered by National Amusement Park. Prior to this aid, she couldn’t stitch products at home, as she did not own a sewing machine or smoothing iron. So she worked as a seamstress at Shilmel Zagvar LLC for four years. Though she is a designer, she couldn’t work as a designer because of her hearing disability. After graduating from Special High School No.29, she enrolled at Mongolian State University of Art and Culture and graduated as a designer. She got sick when she was two-years-old and lost her hearing. I’m a seamstress as well and help my daughter. She loves her job and is very passionate. The aid granted by the district has indeed helped. She receives plenty of orders and her monthly income has increased as well. She stitches products at a reasonable price. For instance, the monk’s hats ordered by Gandan Monastery are sold at 80 thousand MNT in shops, but she stitches them for 40 thousand MNT. She’s very passionate about expanding. There are many girls with hearing disabilities who sew. My daughter says she would love to collaborate with them, teach them stitch work and establish a company. But currently she’s not able to do it yet.”
The SME loan support program received applications from 89 projects last year and accepted 12 of them. The accepted projects received a five-year term, seven percent annual interest loan. As of the first six months of this year, two individuals and five businesses received loans totaling 830 million MNT. The main criteria for the loans for individuals were that applicants had to have been working for one year and possess a certificate from the district taxation department. For businesses, the requirements were to have acquired a certificate from the General Authority of Registration. New enterprises were required to be specialized in their relevant sector.
Self-employed, D.Byambasuren: “Wood furniture is in high demand.”
“I received a loan of 50 million MNT. I spent 23 million MNT of it on buying equipment and improving company facilities. The rest was spent on buying raw materials and paying employees. I’ve been working as carpenter and wood carver for 15 years. Upon receiving the loan last year, I established a company that produces many wood products. Currently, my company produces wood furniture for both home and office use. Because we use natural wood as our raw material, our products are durable and of high quality, and are therefore in high demand. We sell our products mostly in provinces outside of UB because of the expensive rental rate of market places in the city. Because our current store is small, we’re building an expansion beside it. Currently, I have 10 employees. My company has a high production rate. We usually complete an order within one week. The low interest loan has helped me a lot.”
Many similar projects have been implemented in Mongolia. For example, in the Mongolians with Job and Income Program, created by the Government for Change, 3,000 citizens were employed and 3,100 citizens received professional training in Sukhbaatar District.
The Elder Specialists Advisory Service Project employed 45 senior citizens to give advice to young professionals lacking experience.
Source: News.mn http://economy.news.mn/content/184158.shtml

Project to improve TVET system in Mongolia presented to Chairman of Standing Committee on Budget
July 9 (UB Post) A project to improve the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) system in Mongolia was presented to MP Ts.Davaasuren, Chairman of the Standing Committee on Budget, by Asako Maruyama, Education Specialist of Asian Development Bank, on July 7.
The proposed project seeks to create a better transition from secondary school to the workplace to meet the increasing need for a skilled workforce. The initiative seeks to do this by improving teaching, curriculum and facility quality in TVET programs in trades that have a large absorption capacity, such as agriculture, construction and the processing industry.
MP Ts.Davaasuren stated that he sees the project as hugely important in that it will contribute to improving the agricultural sector and future economy.
Public Affairs and Communications Department of the Parliamentary Office acknowledged that these changes to the TVET system would positively support the development of human resources in priority sectors.
The project was created by Asian Development Bank and developed in collaboration with Ministry of Labor and Ministry of Education and Science, and will cost 30 million USD in loans to carry out. A project to improve the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) system in Mongolia was presented to MP Ts.Davaasuren, Chairman of the Standing Committee on Budget, by Asako Maruyama, Education Specialist of Asian Development Bank, on July 7.
The proposed project seeks to create a better transition from secondary school to the workplace to meet the increasing need for a skilled workforce. The initiative seeks to do this by improving teaching, curriculum and facility quality in TVET programs in trades that have a large absorption capacity, such as agriculture, construction and the processing industry.
MP Ts.Davaasuren stated that he sees the project as hugely important in that it will contribute to improving the agricultural sector and future economy.
Public Affairs and Communications Department of the Parliamentary Office acknowledged that these changes to the TVET system would positively support the development of human resources in priority sectors.
The project was created by Asian Development Bank and developed in collaboration with Ministry of Labor and Ministry of Education and Science, and will cost 30 million USD in loans to carry out.

Parking stickers required for vehicles during Naadam at Central Stadium and Khui Doloon Khudag
July 9 (UB Post) The City Traffic Police Division will be distributing parking stickers for vehicles hoping to grab a spot at Central Stadium and Khui Doloon Khudag during Naadam, in order to control traffic during the busy holiday. Stickers can be collected from the police station of the user’s respective district.
The types of stickers administered will be classified as ‘A’, ‘Ж’, ‘DK’, ‘Y’, ‘Г’, and ‘М’.
A- Governor Authority
Ж- City Tourism Authority
DK- Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Y- Department of Purchase of Districts
M and Г- Will be given by Traffic Police Division in districts.
A limited number of licenses will be dispensed for each category:
For Central Stadium
A – 200 licenses
“A” allows for parking in two locations: to the right of Central Stadium’s main door and in the construction square behind “DK” parking. To access the first location, beyond Chinggis Avenue on Peace Bridge, turn right before the 120 Myangat Bus Station crossroad and enter the Oyun Tulhuur lot. To access the second location, use the City Traffic Police Authority’s crossroad and Gandhi Street in Khan-Uul district.
Ж – 120 licenses
“Ж” permits parking in the northwest corner of Central Stadium.
DK – 80 licenses
“DK” permits parking in the west corner of Central Stadium. Follow the directions indicated for permit “A.”
Y and Г – 3,000 lisences
“Y” and “Г” permits parking in front of Suruga Mongol ‘s Khurd Khoroolol apartment building. Directions: Beyond the City Traffic Police Authority’s southwest crossroads on Ikh Mongol Uls Avenue, turn right on City Avenue and the designated parking locations will be in front of you.
Alternatively, for vehicles coming from Chinggis Avenue, drive past Zaisan Street, Marshal Bridge, and Olympic Street until reaching Ikh Mongol Uls Avenue. Turn right on City Avenue and the designated parking locations will be in front of you.
For Khui Doloon Khudag
M – For 3,000 licenses: After Emmeelt train station, turn right at the second fork of Khui Doloon Khudag. Parking spots will be marked according to letter.
M – For 1,000 licenses: After Emmeelt train station, turn right at the first fork of Khui Doloon Khudag. Parking spots will be marked according to letter.
Y, Г- After Emmeelt train station, turn right at the first fork of Khui Doloon Khudag. Parking spots will be marked according to letter.
Warnings during Naadam:
- Manage your time according to the Naadam program schedule.
- Do not disobey people and baggage transport rules.
- Do not drive while intoxicated.
- Select radio station FM96.3 for information while driving
- Do not exceed speed limits while driving
- Respect pedestrians and give them the right of way.
- Do not walk in the street while intoxicated.
- Follow the parking instructions printed on the back of parking licenses.
- Follow police instructions.
Phone numbers of some necessary services:
- 102 – for reporting traffic accidents
- 93020111 – for calls to the City Traffic Police Authority
- 93029603 – Radio station FM96.3 for details about traffic conditions
- 93021828 – Traffic Police Division of Bayanzurkh district
- 93021203 – Traffic Police Division of Khan-Uul district
- 93021109 – Traffic Police Division of Bayangol district
- 93057777 – Traffic Police Division of Sukhbaatar district
- 93021118 – Traffic Police Division of Songinokhairkhan district
- 93021819 – Traffic Police Division of Chingiltei district
- 93021011 – City Traffic Police Authority office at Khui Doloon Khudag
Source: http://mongolnews.mn/i/53341

Hours of operation for UB businesses
July 9 (UB Post) Department stores, markets, chain stores, and trade centers in UB will operate on a special schedule during Naadam.
State Department Store will be open from 10:00 a.m to 8:00 p.m. on July 11 and 12. On July 13 its hypermarkets and supermarkets will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. It will operate with its normal hours after these dates, opening from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Sky Department Store will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on July 11, 12, and 13.
Hypermarket in Khan-Uul will be open from 9:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. on these days.
Maxmall Department Store will be open with its regular business hours during the Naadam holiday except on July 15, when it will be open from 12:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Grand Plaza will be closed on July 11, 12, and 13. It will be open on July 14 from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Naran chain stores (Naran Mall, Naran Point) will be closed on July 11 and 12. After these dates, it will be open and operating under its normal business hours.
Orgil chain stores will open with normal business hours during Naadam, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Mercury Market will be closed from July 11 to 16.
Sarnaikh Supermarket will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on July 10. On July 11, 12, and 13 it will be open from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. On July 14 and 15 it will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. After Naadam, the supermarket will operate as usual.
Good Price supermarkets will be open as usual during Naadam, from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Narantuul, Narantuul 2, Bars Market, Sunday Plaza, Kharkhorin, Dunjingarav Trade Center and Khuchit Shonkhor markets will be closed during Naadam.
Minii and Bosa chain stores will be open during Naadam.

Naadam Bus Schedule
July 9 (UB Post) During Naadam, 841 buses and minibuses will operate. Five hundred and ninety-three buses will service 83 locations, 165 minibuses will serve 21 locations, and 10 buses and seven minibuses will service the festival’s campsite area. An additional 66 buses will operate in the city only during the Naadam holiday.
From Dunjingarav Market, 10 buses will pass through Khurd Town, Gandhi Street, and Bayanmongol Town. Eight buses will run from Misheel Expo and pass through Chinggis Avenue, Niislel Street (east of the 120th district) and Khurd Town. Three free buses will leave from Dund Gol bus stop to transport passengers to Central Stadium every five to ten minutes. People will be able to park their cars at Dunjingarav and Misheel Expo parking lots and board free buses to Central Stadium.
There are 20 buses that will serve Khui Doloon Khudag from five bus stops. Four buses will serve each stop, including areas north of Central Stadium and Gandhi Street on July 11 and 12; Mongolian State University of Education bus stop on July 13; the 3rd and 4th district’s stops on July 11; and 7 Buudal, 5 Shar, ХМК, and the Officer’s Palace on July 11, 12, and 13.

2014 Naadam Festival opening ceremony insights from director D.Sosorbaram
July 9 (UB Post) One of the very few Mongolian national holidays with roots that can be traced back centuries is the Naadam Festival. In Ulaanbaatar it kicks off at the National Sports Stadium on July 11, with an elaborate opening ceremony of diverse, traditionally-themed performances. The following is an interview from June 26 with the director of this year’s opening ceremony, State Prized and State Honored Artist of Mongolia, D.Sosorbaram, about how he is preparing for the opening.
We know you have experience in directing the Naadam Festival’s opening ceremony. Can you talk more about it for our readers?
It is my second time directing the ceremony myself and I previously worked as advisor to ceremony directors State Prized Artist and choreographer S.Sukhbaatar, and composer Ononbat of On’n Off Production.
This year, I am collaborating with my own team and students who also took part in last year’s ceremony. I told the main choreographers of all the arts performances, State Cultural Merit Worker D.Bayarbaatar and S.Sodnom High Esthetics prize winner D.Enkhgerel, “You two will not only choreograph, but also direct the ceremony along with me this year. I will add my ideas to your plans for direction.” So they are working hard and the ceremony’s preparations started quite early this year as well, unlike last year. We waited until after the presidential election ended to begin preparing for the ceremony, on July 2. We finished preparing for the opening ceremony with 3,000 staff in five days, while this year, the ceremony will be the result of 5,000 people’s hard work.
What specific theme have you chosen to use for this year’s ceremony?   
The ceremony performances will have the theme of all types of classic and traditional arts flourishing in Mongolia. One of the basic rules that we follow each year is to enlist many people in the ceremony performances to meet audience expectations. Therefore, same as last year, we are cooperating with the Ministry of Defense, which has agreed to have one thousand of its men who have raised Mongolia’s name high around the world take part in the ceremony. I will not reveal who these men are – the audience will sort it out at the opening themselves. Military units that topped the “Splendor of Mongolian Soldiers” competition will also showcase the national military. The Nine White Banners of the Mongolian State will travel from the Government Palace to the stadium in a grand ceremony, as is tradition.
I don’t want to reveal anymore to the public, except for one more thing.
And what is that? 
The state announced that it budgeted one billion MNT for the opening ceremony at the stadium last year, but actually it was not for the ceremony alone. If it was, the ceremony could have been better organized and much more entertaining.  This year, 900 million MNT was budgeted, but I have to clarify to the public that this is the total budget to be spent on all Naadam Festival arts performances at Chinggis Square, the National Sports Stadium and Khui Doloon Khudag, in order to prevent any misunderstandings, as people might suspect that I’ve embezzled the budget fund. My team has received a 250 million MNT budget, while 50 million MNT is to be spent on an honorary concert at the Central Cultural Palace.
A staff of 5,000 is working on organization of the ceremony and 1,000 artists will be showcased in the ceremony performances. One of the special features about this year’s ceremony is that 21 female long-song singers and 21 male throat singers, around ten percussionists will perform on the stage along with 33 biyelgee dancers. A complete traditional wind music orchestra of 60 musicians will play at the ceremony for the first time. I strongly believe this orchestra will become the base of the State Great Orchestra of the Mongolian nation.
Khusugtun folk band’s throat singer D.Ariunbold is working as artistic director of the ceremony, while young artist Javkhlantugs is my assistant director. I’m giving them more responsibilities and making sure they are preparing their successors to pass on their experiences. This year’s Naadam Festival opening will be very well organized. I assure you that the ceremony will make you feel proud and honored to have born a Mongolian.
Have you faced any problems choosing artists to perform in the ceremony?
I want to first mention that the world famous ballet dancer D.Altankhuyag, who is a contracted performer in the U.S. and Japan and a State Honored Artist of Mongolia, personally asked me if he could perform his “Golden God” dance in the opening ceremony, which I was more than delighted to accept.
Also, my old friend, State Prized Artist and celebrated conductor, the late N.Baatarjav used to say that it would be so nice to see his son collaborate with me. Though I couldn’t fulfill his wish while he was alive, I have already invited his son Enkhbaatar to perform in the opening. He is now one of the top ten conductors in the world, currently working as principal conductor of the Ural Youth Symphony Orchestra. He will arrive in Mongolia on July 2. He will conduct the finest compositions of State Prized Artists Khangal and Natsagdorj. Young but talented conductors in Mongolia will cooperate with him.
How many arts and cultural organizations are joining your team this year?
Professional organizations such as the Mongolian State Philharmonic, State Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet, Mongolian National Song and Dance Ensemble and State Academic Drama Theater, as well as dancers from Orkhon, Darkhan-Uul and Uvurkhangai provinces have joined the team. About 500 professional ballroom dancers will also perform, which shows that I will be on a very tight in budget when I have only 250 million MNT to spend. But there is no other way.
I see your budget hasn’t considerably risen since last year, but you’re trying to organize the ceremony with almost double the staff. Besides, the prices of goods and services have gone up notably since last year. How are you planning to cope with the small budget and high prices? Or have artists started performing for less pay compared to previous years?
The worth and value of artists will always be high. I try my best to set the value of artists’ talents as high as possible, and I can tell you with confidence that artists who take part in my directed performances are paid higher than average. But I want the artists to be understanding as well, because some of the singers told me they receive six million MNT per song on the stage. Not only my budget, but also the state, can’t afford such a high price. If it was my personal concert, I could raise a fund with the help of my young brothers and sisters who are no less than my siblings, and pay them their requested fees. But Naadam is a national holiday, so the one who should be paying is the state.
Out of the 900 million MNT budget, I’m in charge of 300 million, as I’m directing the opening ceremony at the stadium and state honorary concert at the Central Cultural Palace. I heard 500 million MNT will be spent on an evening concert at Chinggis Square during Naadam, while the remaining 100 million will probably go to events at Khui Doloon Khudag.
Are you using costumes used in last year’s opening again?
We will. But we still need to make new clothes for artists this year. We had 999 costumes tailored for artists, as far as I remember, in 2013, including Mongolian soldier uniforms and also over 1,000 Mongolian flags. They are used for many state events occasionally.
What do you think about the residents who watch Naadam Festival and the three games of men on television through live broadcasts, rather than witnessing them live wherever they are taking place?
Television officials tend to broadcast the opening ceremony from only one angle of the stadium on the opening day, without previously consulting with the ceremony’s organizers about where to place their cameras. As a result, all those TV channels show the audience the same thing from the same angle, which bores them.
Therefore, I hope TV officials will cooperate with me beforehand and find their angles and ways to deliver diverse perspectives of the ceremony. Broadcasting from one side of the stadium is not very interesting. They should find a way to broadcast it from the top of the stadium or any other interesting angles. Showing the same thing when there are so many TV channels filming is a shame.
I’d like to note that I can let TV officials know what angles will deliver the best broadcast of the ceremony if they contact me beforehand.
Source: Daily Post
Link to interview

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