Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Mongolia Brief August 20, 2014 Part III

MPP Faction Head Meets Japanese Delegation
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, August 20 (MONTSAME) Head of the parliamentary faction of the Mongolian People’s Party (MPP) S.Byambatsogt and his deputy D.Oyunkhorol Wednesday met with Sonoda Hiroyuki, Hayashi Moto, Nikai Hidetoshi, the members of the House of Representatives of Japan’s parliament. 

The sides shared views on the bilateral relations and cooperation. "We have two neighbours, and Japan is our third largest neighbour," noted the faction head. "Our countries have been maintaining the good partnership cooperation for a long time, the Mongolians are always thankful to Japan for aid and donation, and we will focus on continuing expanding the relations and cooperation with Japan," Mr Byambatsogt stressed.
He went on that a restoring of the national economy has become "our goal to reach in a short time". "It is vital for us to receive Japanese experience and support, including from members of Japan’s parliament, in creating chances for the Japanese private sector to make investments to Mongolia," he said.
After this he asked the Japanese side to draw an attention to an implementation of the project with Japanese financing on erecting oil refineries in Darkhan-Uul aimag.
Supporting the views of Mr Byambatsogt, the Japanese MPs recommended that Mongolia focus on making value-added products and on increasing their export.
Mr Sonoda expressed a strong confidence that the Mongolia-Japan relations and cooperation will strengthen, and underlined an importance of the MPs role in a present development of Mongolia.
Ms Oyunkhorol said Mongolia wants to study the Japanese experience in the electoral system, which allows voters to directly elect their candidates.

Foreign Minister of Republic of Korea to Pay Official Visit to Mongolia
August 20 ( At the invitation of Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mongolia Mr. Luvsanvandan BOLD, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea Mr. Yun Byung-se will pay an official visit to Mongolia on August 25-27, 2014.
In the frames of the visit, Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se will pay courtesy calls on the President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj and the Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag and to hold official talks with Foreign Minister L.Bold.
During the bilateral talks, parties will discuss and exchange views covering several topics such as boosting the Mongolia-Korea “Comprehensive Partnership” relations; broadening trade, economic and investment cooperation; facilitating travel conditions between citizens; confirming Mongolia’s position on situations in Northeast Asia and the Korean Peninsula; and partnership in the frameworks of “Ulaanbaatar Dialogue” on Northeast Asian Security forwarded by President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj and "Eurasia Initiative" proposed by the President of the Republic of Korea Park Geun-hye as well as Mongolia’s tasks to join the APEC and participation in the East Asia Summit.
Mongolia and the Republic of Korea have established the diplomatic relations on March 26, 1990.

IOC Honorary Member Sh.Magvan Turns 87
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, August 20 (MONTSAME) A Honorary member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Mr Magvan Shagdarjav turned 87 years Wednesday.
Born in 1927 in Zavkhan province, Magvan served as a member of the IOC in 1977-2007, and then became a Honorary Member of the IOC in 2007. He also served as president of the Mongolian National Olympic Committee (MonNOC) in 1969-1979, and has been a member of the MonNOC Executive Board since.
Mr Magvan is a co-founder of the National Olympic Academy and the National Olympic Museum (1987) and Library (1984). Moreover, he served as the Chef-de-Mission of the Mongolian national team for the Olympic Winter Games in Sapporo (1972), Sarajevo (1984), Calgary (1988) and Lillehammer (1994) and to the Summer Olympics in Munich (1972) and Montreal (1976).
For his significant contribution to sports, Magvan was awarded Centennial Olympic Movement Trophy (1994); Olympic Solidarity Cup (1995); Order of Merit of Mongolian State and other countries’ governmental organizations; Olympic Order (2008); and the State Honored Title of Cultural Figure (2003).

Mongolia and S.Korea to Cooperate in Land Rehabilitation
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, August 20 (MONTSAME) Mongolia will have own training center that prepares and enforces experts who will perform mining rehabilitation.
It will be established through a project on fortifying the management of reducing negative effects of the mining, which will be co-implemented by Mongolia’s Ministry of Environment and Green Development and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) between 2014 and 2018. The project was certified in a cooperation protocol signed by Ms S.Oyun, the Minister of Environment and Green Development, and Mr Choi Heung Yool, the KOICA Permanent Representative to Mongolia on Wednesday.
In general, the sides will collaborate in minimizing negative impact of the mining on environment, introducing environmentally-friendly mining, refining a legal area for this rehabilitation. It is expected also that the project will give a chance to perform model rehabilitation on the places where the rehabilitation has not been done yet.
In frames of the KOICA’s non-refundable aid, the project will be realized under USD 7.6 million financing. 

1000 Students to Study Engineering in Japan
August 20 (Mongolian Economy) According to the bilateral agreement of Mongolia and Japan, Mongolia will send 1000 students to Japan in order to pursue degrees in engineering and other technology related fields. The Ministry of Education and Science is collaborating with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to run this programme that aims to create more highly-educated engineers and increase the competitiveness of university education. This project began in June of 2014 and will continue until March 2023. 
Students will receive soft loans from Japan in order to travel and study in Japan. The Minister of the Ministry of Education and Science, L. Gantumur, said, “We need more than 30,000 engineers and technology specialists in building road and railway sectors. We are planning to establish a German university in Mongolia to meet the needs of high quality professionals by cooperating with both Germany and Japan.” 
As of today, over 200 students have received degrees from universities in Japan. The implementation of this project will also help schools such as the National University of Mongolia and the Mongolian University of Science and Technology to reach international standards. Soon enough, there will be 1000 more engineers and technology employees that are much needed in the industrial sector. 
A representative from JICA in Mongolia said, “Mongolians will be able to receive education in engineering at international standards for a discounted price or 8.4 times lower than the market average.” Students will take loans for tuition and life expenses from the government however, after the completion of their education, their loans will turn into scholarships if they come and work in Mongolia for five years. 
For anyone interested in being involved within this programme, they can register starting on August 25 at

Extreme sports scene in Mongolia
By A. Oyunzul
August 20 (UB Post) Extreme sports competition X-games Mongolia took place at the National Amusement Park in August 17, with a demo show of professional skateboarders from London, Paris, Tokyo, and Berlin.
The competition had four categories: skateboarding, rollerblading, BMX, and bike trials, in which over 80 competitors, aged from 11 to 26, took part. The competition was the second extreme sports event organized by Mongolian Uukhai Skateboarding Association.
This year, the association prepared a small skate park for the event, which had a couple of quarter pipes, a spine, wedge ramps, a wooden box, and a bench. The judges gave points up to 10 for each participant.
With dubstep music blasting, young skaters jumped over 8 to 12 people in front of a crowd of over hundred, on a hot summer day.
One of the highlights of the event was that a female skater participated in this year’s X-Games Mongolia.
In the BMX contest, it was quite challenging for contestants to do stunts as it was their first time riding at a skate park, the hosts commented.
BMX is an off-road bicycle, which costs around 1,000 USD, used for racing and various stunts. Last year’s champion Turmunkh, 24, noted, “There are many young riders competing compared to last year. When we are doing shows in the countryside, there aren’t any BMX riders out there. So you can say that this competition is a state championship.”
Turmunkh has been doing freestyle stunts on a performance bicycle for five years, and started doing professional BMX stunts a year ago.
“It is very challenging for us to train in Mongolia, because of the harsh weather. In winter, we can’t train, so when summer comes we forget the stunts we learned a year ago. Our crew Hand-up’s main goal is to promote extreme sports to the public. But due to the lack of sponsorship, we’re only riding BMX as a hobby. With a sponsor, we can lead extreme sports to a professional level,” Turmunkh highlighted.
Turmunkh said his crew is hoping to build a skate park for young athletes.
Bike trials were held after BMX, which is relatively new to the Mongolian extreme sports scene. Trial riding requires extreme bicycle handling skills over all kinds of obstacles. It was introduced to Mongolia three years ago. Competitors have to jump over industrial pallets without ever setting a foot on the ground. Shinekhuu, 26, last year’s runner up, noted that trial bikes are very light weight, has no seats, and sturdy.
“In the past, we had to learn trial riding from online videos, now we have the opportunity to teach young riders,” Shinekhuu said.
After a short break, high-jump contests began for roller skaters. This year’s high-jump rollerblading record was set at 105 cm; whereas BMX jump record was set at 100 cm. Skateboarders also had to “ollie”, over a tape, a trick where the rider and the board leap into the air without the use of the rider’s hand. After a tough competition, the high-jump skateboarding record was set at 65 cm.
As the local hard-rock band Rec-on was playing, skaters rehearsed non-stop for the free style skateboarding contest. The youngest competitor, Erkhembileg, aged 11, was competing for the first time. He has been skateboarding for a year, and learned tricks from older skaters. Erkhembileg said, “I learned about this contest just yesterday, and I hope I can skate well.”
All skaters were nervous, and falls during tricks was common. Nevertheless young skaters showcased their talents, and tried their best.
A American skateboard group, The Carhartt WIP, did a demo show after the competition. The team has 11 members, including six pro-skaters.
It was the skaters’ first time in Mongolia, and they are on a mission to document their journey. The Carhartt supports artists, musicians, and skateboarders in the USA.
Some 10 years ago, The Carhartt representatives came to Mongolia for a month, and published a photo book of the experience named, “Dirt Ollies”. They also released a documentary film called “Mongolian Tyres.”
Joseph Biais, a French professional skateboarder of The Carhartt, comment, “We have been skating in Ulaanbaatar for five days. We also tried to skateboard in the countryside. Mongolia is a very interesting country, and the city has a lot of great spots. Mongolian skaters are really into skateboarding, they progress fast, and aren’t scared of failing.”
Organizers of the competition mentioned that the number of participants increased this year, and expressed their hopes that more will take part next year.

D.Boldbaatar wins Rally Mongolia
By B. Tungalag
August 20 (UB Post) The Rally Mongolia 2014 international cross-country rally was held from August 10 to 17. The Rally Mongolia is one of the biggest international rallies in Mongolia and Asia and has been held for the past 20 years.
Around 100 racers from Mongolia and other countries race in the tournament every year. Racers reached the finish line after crossing 4,000 km through Ulaanbaatar, Dundgovi Province, Gobisumber Province, Tsogt-Ovoo, Elsentasarkhai, Khongor, Undur Shireet, Erdenesant, and back to Ulaanbaatar in a harsh climate.
The rally is organized in Mongolia with much of the race taking place in the Gobi region.
Mongolian female racers participated in last year’s rally for the first time.
Four female Mongolian racers, including G.Battsetseg, Kh.Oyuntuya (also known as DJ Anna Sui), Ch.Battsetseg and racer of Eco Motorsport travelling club B.Bat-Undral competed in this year’s rally.
International Sports Master D.Boldbaatar won a gold medal in the motorcycle race of the Rally Mongolia.
D.Boldbaatar is one of the few experienced racers of Mongolia. He has previously competed in the notorious Dakar Rally twice, representing Mongolia.
Mongolian racer Yu.Erdenetumur won in the vehicle race contest, Japanese racer Sugawara Teruhito won the truck race and U.Vanchinkhuu won in the 4×4 race.

Ts.Gan-Erdene captures Mongolian moments in ‘Closer to the Sun’
By L. Nandintsetseg
August 20 (UB Post) Artist of 976 Art Gallery Ts.Gan-Erdene, a member of the Union of Mongolian Artists, opened his first solo exhibition in Mongolia “Closer to the Sun” at 976 Art Gallery. The exhibition is on view through September 4.
After graduating from the University for Culture and Arts of Mongolia in 2001, Ts.Gan-Erdene was accepted to the Munstr Academy of Fine Arts of Germany. He got a strong basic arts education in renowned painter Ts.Naragerel’s studio, and became more skilled after his studies in Germany.
Even though he now feels at home in Germany, the artist still stays connected to his homeland. In his paintings he shows exciting landscapes and moving compositions in Mongolia’s characteristic steppes and deserts. His love of nature developed as he grew up in a rural setting.
He has participated in over 100 solo and group exhibitions across Europe, but “Closer to the Sun” is his first solo exhibition in Mongolia. “I was waiting for favorable conditions in Mongolia,” Ts.Gan-Erdene replied when asked why.
Work by Ts.Gan-Erdene shows how interesting and fascinating global, artistic and cultural exchange can be. His work is in the collections of famous western art collectors.

Residents forced to give up land for UB road project
By B. Mendbayar
August 20 (UB Post) The expansion of a 4.6 kilometer road from Revolutionists’ Street (Khuvisgalchidiin Gudamj) to the new terminus of Zuragt and the Bayankhoshuu intersection is currently delayed due to residents’ reluctance to vacate their lands.
In May, Express Zam began the expansion of the previously seven meter wide road to a fourteen meter wide road with 2.5 meter wide sidewalks of on both sides. Though the company finished paving the first 2.5 kilometers of the road and opened it prior to Naadam Festival, further expansion work was hindered due to some residents’ reluctance to vacate their lands. The expansion of the road, which was built in the 1980s and has not undergone renovation since, is expected to be finished by October.
The fences and land belonging to 156 households covers a lane of the prospective road. The properties, partially or wholly, will have to be vacated in order to have a wider road. Accordingly, notices to vacate land has been delivered to residents. Presently, as the road work continues, some residents are vacating their land and demolishing their houses and fences. Some residents advocate the expansion, which will not only repair the now bumpy road, but also expand the Ulaanbaatar road network and reduce traffic congestion.
A resident of the sixth khoroo of Songinokhairkhan district, T.Barkhas, said that though it was hard to suddenly vacate his land after living there for ten years, he did not linger, for it’s said that development follows roads. Following the majority, his family started to pull down their house and vacate their lands. He commented, “The valuation of my real estate and land was not as high as I expected, but I ought to vacate my land. My family owned a carpentry factory and a two-story house. We also used to operate a grocery store and a rental apartment. It was very unfortunate to demolish all of this. Even though we were regretful, we were the first household to accept the proposal and vacate 183 square meters of our land without hindering the work by demanding to have our land revaluated and get more money. But some residents are inconsiderate. We intend to build a new house on our remaining land.”
Refusing to vacate his land until getting what he feels his land is worth, B.Sangi, resident of the same khoroo, said, “I’m ready to vacate my land for money. I have no other property than this land. I will become homeless if I give up my land. I demanded seventy million MNT from the City Office for Property Relations, which is the cost of a single room apartment. But the office refused. Thus we agreed to sell half of my land for 50 million MNT. But the order to vacate has not been issued yet. If I get the money I agreed to, I will build a ger on my remaining land and live there. My family owns 245 square meters of land. The land I’m giving was valued to be worth three million MNT according to state assessment. Including my house, the total value stood at 24 million MNT. However, I had the land valued by a private company, and the total value was 38 million MNT. Adding 12 million MNT to the assessment, I decided to claim 50 million MNT. I’m ready to vacate my land if the office gives me the money I asked for.”
However, relevant authorities plan to forcefully evict the residents who hinder the project in such a manner.
Ten households yet to vacate
Below is an interview with a senior specialist at the City Office for Property Relations, E.Enkhtulga, on the road expansion process.
How many households have not vacated their lands?
Revolutionists’ Street is a huge street that stretches through three districts, namely Songinokhairkhan district, Chingeltei district and Bayangol district. A new 4.6 kilometer road has undergone expansion since May 1. Out of 156 residents and entities whose real estate covers the prospective road, 146 have vacated their lands. Ten households who are selfish and unaware of their social responsibility demanded more than market value for their lands and refused to leave.
How much money has been spent on the expansion project?
Seven billion MNT from the city budget has been spent so far.
When will the remaining residents’ lands be vacated?
We met the residents two to three times and informed them of the real value of their properties. However, the residents speak of the significance of the location of their lands and its market value in response. We cannot give residents the amount of money they ask for when they demand more money than their properties are worth. The Property Movement and Privatization Department of the City Office for Property Relations estimates the value of real estate. After the value is estimated, we negotiate with residents in accordance with the Land Law. In doing so, we make sure the the value is accurate in conformity with relevant laws. The amount of compensation provided for a household who does not own real estate or lives in a ger is low. Residents have the right to have their property revaluated by another organization if they think the value we estimated is not accurate. Some residents who doubt the value we estimated come to us with a value estimated by another organization. We scrutinize the value presented. Currently, no resident has appealed to the courts arguing that their property was inaccurately valued. We plan to negotiate with the ten residents and have their lands vacated by August 20.
If giving more money than market value is impossible, how will the dispute be settled?
The expansion must be complete by October 1 according to the contract. The land vacating regulation was approved byUlaanbaatar citizens; the Representatives Council calls for eviction if a resident doesn’t respect public interests. We won’t push the residents for immediate vacating of their properties. We informed them several times of the market value of their properties and how much money the state can give. We also mentioned the possibility of relocation. But they refused. In case we run into an impasse, we are preparing to evict them. Prior to eviction, we will deliver notice of eviction in case they don’t vacate their lands within appointed time.
Is enough compensation being provided to residents to build a new house?
Residents pull down their houses brick by brick in order to save the bricks that are reusable. The compensation is enough to build a new house of the same size. So, residents can immediately pull down their fences and build a new house before winter comes. However, these residents are not satisfied with the compensation, claiming “we could have sold our land at a higher price since it’s located near a road.” It would be highly appreciated if the residents actively participate in this city construction project and contribute. In addition, some residents will leave their land without pulling down their houses if we give them all the money they’ve demanded at once. So, in order to prevent this, we give them 60 percent as an advance and agreed to give them the rest after they start to pull down their houses, based on inspections and photo evidence taken by our specialists.
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