Saturday, February 7, 2015

Mongolia Brief February 5, 2015 Part II

Fire at Khaan Ger extinguished after ten-hour firefight
By M. Zoljargal
February 5 (UB Post) A fire broke out at Khaan Ger restaurant on Wednesday afternoon, at around 3:30 p.m. Firefighters managed to prevent the spread of the fire by 8:30 p.m., and it was fully extinguished after a ten-hour firefight, at 1:49 a.m.

A team of 70 firefighters from Fire Division No.10 worked together at the scene in the Sukhbaatar District, and used a total of 203 tons of water. As the building housed a large amount of alcohol and a brewery, the team struggled against intense flames.
The street between the University of Arts and Culture and Grocery Store No.4 was temporarily closed during the fire.
Reports say that the two-hour fight to contain the fire was complicated by highly-flammable construction materials, and that the fire was close to spreading to a neighboring apartment building and daycare center. Apartment residents and preschoolers were immediately evacuated to safety.
Employees of the restaurant, part of the Nomads Chain Restaurant were standing outside but refused to talk about the possible cause of the fire. A preliminary investigation suggests that the restaurant’s kitchen caught fire close to where the on-site brewery was located.
The firefighters first removed oxygen tanks, gas, and highly-flammable items from the restaurant to prevent explosions, reported D.Erdenebaatar, Chief of the Fire Fighting Department at the National Emergency Management Agency.
A few cars parked outside the restaurant were damaged when a fire truck ladder fell on them. A team of doctors was ready at the scene of the fire in the case of any burns or injuries, although no one was hurt in the incident.
The owner of a building next to Khaan Ger, N.Tsegmid, said during the fire that the restaurant’s building was constructed without a permit and expressed criticism. “The fire at Khaan Ger is affecting my building. If the Specialized Inspection Agency and General Planning Authority fulfilled their duties properly, we wouldn’t be facing financial losses caused by the fire. I had to close my small cafeteria and karaoke business in the building I own, and had the gas and electricity shut off,” he highlighted.
Chief D.Erdenebaatar responded to the complaints, citing, “The recording studio, cafeteria, and karaoke businesses are located near the restaurant and they were not damaged, although smoke from the fire entered the buildings. Inspectors will recheck the building’s construction permit to respond to the complaints.”
The firefighters extinguished the fire with modern equipment, including a fire truck made in Japan in 2013, as well as gas masks made in South Korea specifically for fire fighting.
The firefighters sprayed water from the roof of the building, breaking through the roof to effectively reach the focus area of the fire.
The restaurant’s building was constructed in 1957, and is located across the street from the Creativity Center for Children. The second floor is completely ruined, while the first floor was saved, according to representatives of the National Emergency Management Agency. 

Explore Northern Mongolia in Winter: The Huvsgul Lake
February 5 ( Wondering where to go and what to do during the long weekend at Tsagaan Sar, which is just in a couple of weeks? We are suggesting you to visit the beautiful Lake Huvsgul – so called the Blue Pearl of Mongolia. And I know it’d sound quite extreme - it must be freezing cold out there!
The pristine Lake Huvsgul is 2 million years old, and makes up to 1% of the world’s total fresh water reserve. The Huvsgul stretches for 136km in the Alpine-like mountains, and the deepest point of the lake is 262m. The Huvsgul region itself is a home to the Tsaatan – Reindeer Herders of Mongolia, an ethnic group famous for their distinctive lifestyle based on keeping reindeers in the depth of the Taiga.       
The Huvsgul Lake is a part of the Huvsgul National Park. A small village Hatgal is at its southern shore and is a popular destination among locals and visitors both in summer and winter. Located at an altitude of 1645 meters above sea level the Lake freezes over from December until April or May revealing fantastic lacy ice patterns. Some visitors even imagine that the Lake ice doesn’t melt away even in summer!
You can enjoy spending a few days at the beautiful Lake and do some winter hiking in the woods, reindeer sledding, ice fishing, and horse or yak riding, besides visiting a nomad family or two to see their lifestyle in the winter.
Moreover, when the large lake is frozen solid up to 3 meters deep, that Huvsgul’s most famous event takes place – the Ice Festival! At the beginning of March the two day Ice Festival is held on the frozen lake with locals and visitors partaking. Events include a gala opening ceremony on the ice, a folklore concert, shaman ceremony and many competitions featuring ice sculptures, ice ankle bone shooting, plus horse, reindeer sled, jeep and ice skating races. Winter sports include downhill and cross-country skiing, ice-fishing contests, a 100 kilometre ice-skating marathon and a 12 kilometer horse sleigh race.        
Where to stay:
·         Ashihai Resort is operating this winter by the shore of the Lake (106km from Murun), and provides comfortable traditional Ger accomodation and luxury wooden house starting from 100 USD. Ashihai Resort contact number is: 7000-5459; 9926-4484 (English & Mongolian speaking) Or you can email at  
·         MS Guesthouse in Khatgal village (100km from Murun) is open all year around, and offers bed & breakfast at 20000 MNT per person (charges extra for other meals & activities). You can get more info from Mrs. Batchimeg (her mobile is 8836-7666, English & Mongolian speaking).
Getting there:
·         You may want to drive yourself, in this case, from Ulaanbaatar to Murun is 760km. And from Murun to Khatgal it’s 100km, and to Ashikhai Resort it’s 106km.     
·         Or you can take the Ulaanbaatar – Murun bus service at 3pm everyday (arrives in Murun by 10am next day) – the bus leaves from Dragon Centre (ticket price is 32000 MNT one way. Tel: 70174902). Both Ashihai Resort & MS Guesthouse offer pick up & transfer service from Murun.  
Prepared by Zola, Managing partner of Selena Travel for GoGo Travel. © All rights reserved 2015.

Composition of sub-committee changed
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, February 5 (MONTSAME) At its plenary meeting on Thursday, the parliamentary session discussed its draft resolution on altering a composition of the Sub-committee of parliament on local governance.
A proposal and conclusion of the Standing committee on state structure was presented by M.Batchimeg MP. She said this matter was considered earlier on Tuesday by the committee, and that a proposal from the Democratic Party’s faction was backed on letting N.Batbayar and S.Bayartsogt MPs join this   Sub-committee.
After Mr Batchimeg, the plenary meeting gave its 85.4% votes for the above draft resolution. 

US Ambassador cuts ribbon at ceremony
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, February 5 (MONTSAME) The US Ambassador to Mongolia Ms Piper Anne Wind Campbell attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday for opening a new construction and renovation projects at the "Five Hills" military training center in Ulaanbaatar, the US Embassy’s website published.
Apart from the US Ambassador, the ceremony brought together Mr Ts.Tsolmon, Mongolia’s Minister of Defense; Lieutenant-General Byambajav, a head of the General Headquarters of Mongolian Armed Forces, and other officials.
The projects are funded by the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI) at the U.S. Department of State.
The ceremony on Monday officially turned over a soldier’s barracks, a dining facility, and a shower and laundry facility that have been completely renovated. The remaining projects will be completed by November of 2015 and include a new multipurpose training facility, a new military vehicle garage, a new field latrine, a renovated field dining facility, and several projects to upgrade the electricity and water infrastructure. This construction is a part two of GPOI funding. Part one GPOI construction projects were completed from 2006-2008.
This initiative is meant to assist the Mongolian military with improving the training of its soldiers for United Nations peacekeeping missions.
Also on hand at the ceremony were Colonel Christopher Lestochi, Mr Randy Bowker and Mr Jathan Garrett from the U.S. Corps of Engineers.

President’s Office receives representatives from Aabar Investments
February 5 ( Head of the President’s Office P.Tsagaan has received representatives of Aabar Investments from the United Arab Emirates.
Head of Finance at Aabar Investments Andrew Thornber, Chairman of Gobi Coal and Energy LLC Mo Munshi, President of Razia Group of Industries Joseph Boroski, and  M.Choidorj from Gobi Coal and Energy LLC attended the meeting.
During the meeting, Thornber and Munshi stressed that it is very important to keep a stable investment and legal environment in Mongolia.     
Aabar Investments is a private sector joint investment fund from the United Arab Emirates. Its head office is located in Abu Dhabi, and the main activity of the fund is investments in the mining, immovable property, energy, banking, and financial sectors. 
The fund has cooperated in investments in Mongolia's mining and financial sectors and representatives of the fund mentioned during the meeting that they are interested in making additional investments. 
They Aabar Investments representative stated that they value Mongolian democracy and believe in the value of further cooperation. 

Maternity house to be commissioned in Amgalan
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, February 5 (MONTSAME) Actions were included in the Social and Economic Plan of Ulaanbaatar for 2015 such as commissioning of a maternity house in Amgalan town with 150 beds and of a General hospital with 300 beds in a second khoroo of Nalaikh district, informed the Municipality administration Wednesday.
Constructions of a Narcology Clinic and a health center in Tuul town, and of a health center in Khonkhor town will be conducted under concession agreements within this year.
The administrators reflected in Ulaanbaatar’s budget for 2015 the construction of three pediatric hospitals each with 100 beds, to be located in Chingeltei, Khan-Uul and Bayanzurkh districts. The decision was made due to citizens’ requests addressing the current situation and increased occupancy in existing hospitals of the city.

O.Baasankhuu MP turns 40
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, February 5 (MONTSAME) The Speaker of parliament Z.Enkhbold Thursday received O.Baasankhuu on his 40th year birthday and gave him a silver cup with a silk scarf.
The Speaker greeted the parliamentarian on his 40th year birthday and wished him success.
Oktyabr Baasankhuu graduated from the city’s 42nd secondary school in 1992 and the School of Law at the Mongolian State University (MSU) in 1997. He worked as a teacher in the Institute of State Administration and Management Development in 1997-1999, as a chair of the “Delgerengui khuuli” /Laws in details/ NGO in 1998-2011. He has served as a non-staff member of the Committee for Human Rights at the Mongolian President, and as a legal advisor to the Embassy of Japan in Mongolia between 2008 and 2012.
He was elected the MP in 2012. 

Mongolians to compete in memory tournament
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, February 5 (MONTSAME) A national team of Mongolia with six players from the Intellectual Academy of Mongolia will take part in the Extreme Memory Tournament of the world’s top 24 competitors.
The competition will run this May 2-3 in San Diego of the USA. The qualification competitions have taken place online for the Extreme Memory Tournament-2015, Mongolia was represented by nine players.  Grandmasters S.Tsogbadrakh, S.Akjol, E.Purevjav, also junior world champion E.Enkhmoron, a gold medalist of Memory World Cup T.Myagmarsuren, and a junior international champion T.Enkhjin have achieved the right to compete in the USA.
During the qualification tournament, E.Enkhmonkh and S.Akjol won gold medals in the “numbers” and “names and faces” events, respectively. Silver medals went to E.Enkhmonkh and T.Enkhjin.
The Extreme Memory Tournament will also be participated by Germany, Sweden, England, the USA, the Philippines and Norway.

E.Sugarmaa: Our customers love seabuckthorn chocolate
By A. Narantsatsral
February 5 ( “Chocolate Paradise” handmade chocolate shop had opened in front of the State Department Store. Even, operating for only five months, they already had regular customers.
We are delivering the interview with E.Sugarmaa, director of the “Chocolate Paradise” shop.
- When did you open the shop? How you made the products? 
- I opened my “Chocolate Paradise” shop in the middle of August, 2014. I truly love to eat chocolate. Thus, I had learnt the technology to make chocolate. Perfection requires many to do. Anyway, I learned and found the method. 
- Share us the recipe of your chocolate?
- I purchase all recipes and raw materials including dried friuts, variety of nuts from US. I use E.Guittard brand`s raw material for the chocolate. I regularly changing the choice of the chocolate. There are minimum of 14-16 chocolate choices. The main focus is taste. For example, I prefer to put spicery or ginger to dark chocolate than making typical dark chocolate. 
- Does it mean that there is no such a delicious chocolate in Mongolia?
- I think there are no handmade, unique and delicious chocolate in Mongolia. 
- There are many handmade chocolate shops in abroad. 
- I agree with you. Especially, handmade chocolates are very popular in abroad. In Addition, handmade chocolates are expected as luxury consumption. Our shop has kitchen inside besides no chemicals were added in our chocolates.
- Color and paintings of chocolates are looking very attractive?
- It is not suitable to use food coloring which is being sold at markets, chocolate has dedicatory coloring itself. 
- How do customers feel when they taste your chocolates?
- People are realizing the existence of handmade chocolate, recently. Some people seems wondered and say "how delicious" after tasting.  
- Have you thought about opening the branch? 
- First of all, I want to expand my shop to chocolate cafe in further. Currently, it is relatively new business. 
- Valentine and International Women`s day are coming. What are you planned? 
- Actually, I`ve planned lot to do. We made red, heart-shaped chocolates and heart-shaped lolipops. We are planned to make brand new products in this week. In scope of International women`s day, we planned to make special chocolates dedicated to mothers and women. The main focus is the taste. In other hands, we had trying to keep tradition of Mongolia. For example, we have seabuckthorn dark chocolate. People extremely loved it. Also, we make seabuckthorn marmalades, blueberry chocolate and marshmallow. 
Link to interview

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