Saturday, February 7, 2015

Mongolia Brief January 13, 2015

Private sector to co-implement “Friendly Ulaanbaatar” program
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, January 13 (MONTSAME) The Tourism Council of Ulaanbaatar has held its first meeting. It has been chaired by the Mayor and the Governor of Ulaanbaatar E.Bat-Uul, and attended by the council members along with representatives of tour companies, hotels, restaurants, railways and airlines.

At the meeting, the participants discussed the “Friendly Ulaanbaatar” program, the current state of Ulaanbaatar’s tourism, action plan for 2015 of the program implementation, plan of sports’ and cultural events and frameworks for tourism development to be held this year, and the “Friendly Ulaanbaatar” campaign.
As a result, a recommendation has been issued by the Council that considered reflecting the opinions and suggestions of the members to the program action plan for 2015, and collaborating with press companies, private entities and civil societies in conducting the “Friendly Ulaanbaatar” campaign, which aims to develop tourism in the city, propagandizing the urban culture, to accustom positive attitude and communication skills in the service spheres.
The Ulaanbaatar Department for Tourism considers the establishment of such a Tourism Council consisting mainly of private companies as a decisive step towards ensuring the participation of private sectors in the decision-making phases.

Foreign Minister meets Ambassador of France
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 13 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Purevsuren Monday received Mr Yves Delaunay, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of France to Mongolia.
The sides exchanged views on the bilateral relations and cooperation.
The Foreign Minister briefed about goals of the current cabinet and a structure of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and then expressed his position on opportunities to enhance the cooperation with the European Union (EU) including France.
In turn, Mr Delaunay reported about measures to be taken in frames of the 50th anniversary of the Mongolia-France diplomatic relations and business activities of French companies in Mongolia. In addition, the Ambassador got some reports on preparation works to the ASEM Summit to be held 2016 in Ulaanbaatar.
During the meeting, the Foreign Minister extended condolences over deaths of people due to a shooting in Paris.

Constitution Day marked
January 13 ( During the Democratic transition in Mongolia in 1990, procedures to adopt a new constitution began. The Constitution Day Law, which was voted for in two national elections, reviewed by State Baga Khural four times, and the People's Great Khural of the Republic of Mongolia, was adopted on January 14, 1992, and was declared to be marked annually on January 13th.
Today is the 23rd anniversary of Constitution Day. To honor the celebration, a virtual tour of the Government House is now available online at
The Mongolian and English virtual tour of the Government House will allow visitors to explore the Plenary Session Meeting Hall of Parliament, other halls of the Government House, historical exhibits, the Speaker's office, and portraits of all past Speakers of the Parliament.
In order to promote lawmaking based on research and analysis, an award named after prominent political and social figure, Labor Hero of Mongolia, State Merit Lawyer and Constitution author, Professor. B.Chimid, has been created by parliament to reward researchers and scholars who have done valuable work in parliamentary legislation, the study of parliament, and constitutional legislation.
The award named after B.Chimid will be presented today in the State Ceremonial Hall.
There will also be ceremony paying respect to the monument of Great Chinggis Khaan, and a National Wrestling Tournament at the Wrestling Palace today.

President Gives Directions to Its Government on Celebration of 70th Anniversary of Victory of War of Liberation
January 13 ( On January 12, 2015, President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj issued a Decree giving directions to the Government on celebrating nationwide the 70th Anniversary of the Historical Victory of the War of Liberation in 1945.
By the Decree, welcoming the 70th Anniversary of Victory of the War of Liberation, President of Mongolia gives the following directions to the Head of Government (Premier Ch.Saikhanbileg):
- To introduce and promote the historical importance and value of the Victory.
- To honor the veterans of the War, developing patriotic education for young people.
- To release Jubilee Medals dedicated to the Anniversary.
- To organize events contributing the development of bilateral friendly relations and partnership between the armed forces of the two countries.
Moreover, Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg is entrusted to budget necessary expenses for celebration of the historical event.

Mongolia and France to Celebrate 50th Anniversary of Establishment of Diplomatic Relations in 2015
January 13 ( On January 12, 2015, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Lundeg PUREVSUREN received in his office the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the French Republic to Mongolia, Mr. Yves Delaunay upon the request of the HE Ambassador.
During the meeting, Minister L.Purevsuren briefed about the objectives of the newly established Coalition Government and new structure at the Foreign Ministry, besides, expressed his views on opportunities to further broadening bilateral ties between the two countries as well as cooperation with the European Union.
In 2015, Mongolia and France have been commemorating the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations and thus, the Ambassador Delaunay introduced measures planned within the framework of celebration as well as French entities running its activities in Mongolia.
Moreover, parties exchanged views on preparations for the ASEM Summit to be held in Mongolia in 2016 as the French Ambassador is representing the European Union to Ulaanbaatar.
At the end of meeting, Minister L.Purevsuren extended his condolences over the loss of human lives due to recent deadly attacks in Paris.

National Renewable Energy Forum Will Be Taking Place in Ulaanbaatar for Consecutive Sixth Year
January 13 ( The VI National Renewable Energy Forum is ready to commence in Ulaanbaatar hosted by Mongolian Wind Energy Association with supports of the Ministry of Energy and National Renewable Energy Center.
The event will be taking place at the Corporate Hotel & Convention Centre on January 23, 2015 and the Forum Program will be running under three main themes: Policy, Investment and Technology.
The Forum is aimed to focus on vital issues facing in Mongolia's renewable energy sector and during open discussions attendees will consider “Current Situations on Renewable Energy, Challenges and Further Actions”; Governmental short-term plans and actions such as energy price, and changes to renewable energy law and national renewable energy program. The forum will work to ensure that the outcomes will be reflected in Government actions in 2015 - 2016.
The opening remarks will be delivered by Energy Minister D.Zorigt and President of UN Environment Assembly S.Oyun will deliver a speech themed “Sustainable Development of Renewable Energy and Future Aspects”.

Lundeejantsan MP awarded with Chimid’s Order
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, January 13 (MONTSAME/ On the occasion of the 23rd anniversary of adoption of the constitution, observed on January 13, a member of Parliament D.Lundeejantsan was awarded with the order of the State Honored Lawyer B.Chimid.
Chairman of the State Great Khural Z.Enkhbold handed to him the Chimid’s order together with a certificate and cash prize. Mr Lundeejantsan MP has been working for the legislative body of Mongolia for 25 years from the times of adoption of the new democratic constitution, as a deputy of the People’s Great Khural, a member of the lower house of the State Khural and a member of the State Great Khural.
The Speaker issued November 18, 2014, an order on awarding distinguished lawyers and scholars with a prize named after the State Honored Lawyer B.Chimid, one of the first lawmakers who developed and adopted the constitution.  
The prize aims to immortalize the contribution of the lawyer B.Chimid in the Mongolian state matters, to support research-based legislative activities, to promote valued research and academic works on parliamentary studies, constitutional law, and on the national legal system, and to increase the number of scholars and researchers to work in this field of academic studies.

Mongolian athletes to compete in Summer Universiade
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 13 (MONTSAME) The Vice Minister of Health and Sport T.Boldbaatar has received D.Jargalsaikhan, head of the Mongolia’s University Sports Federation (MUSF).
They have discussed issues of the 28th Summer Universiade to be held on July 3-14 in Gwangju, South Korea. Mongolia will be represented at the Universiade by some 200 athletes to compete in 14 events--volleyball, gymnastics, judo, basketball, fencing, swimming, tennis, football, athletics, table tennis, archery, baseball, badminton, golf, handball, rowing, shooting and taekwondo.
Hearing views and initiatives of the MUSF, the Vice Minister said the Ministry will support the athletes to compete in the Summer Universiade.
Mongolia has been competing in Summer Universiade since 1965, and captured eight gold, 13 silver and 25 bronze medals.

Lawmakers receive “Tsagaan Suld” medals of MNDP
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, January 13 (MONTSAME) Seven members of Parliament, who has actively contributed in the adoption of the Constitution took place 23 years ago, were awarded Tuesday with “Tsagaan Suld” (White Banner) medals by the Mongolian National Democratic Party (MNDP).
The laureates are N.Batbayar, L.Tsog, D.Lundeejantsan, R.Gonchogdorj, D.Demberel, L.Bold MPs, and S.Bayartsogt MP, the head of the Cabinet Secretariat.
The Constitution of Mongolia was adopted on January 13, 1992, in the outcome of four times of discussion by the lower house of the State Khural, discussions by the people –for three months, and by the People’s Great Khural --- for over 70 days.

Tribute paid to Statue of Chingis Khaan
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, January 13 (MONTSAME) A ceremony for paying tribute to the Statue of the Great Chingis Khaan was held at hour of a Horse (from 11.40 am to 1.40 pm), on the occasion of the 23rd anniversary of adoption of the Constitution.
Present at the ceremony were the Speaker Z.Enkhbold, the vice-chairmen of the State Great Khural R.Gonchigdorj, L.Tsog and M.Enkhbold, members of Parliament and former deputies of the People’s Great Khural. The dignitaries also visited the State history Museum.

Minister for Food and Agriculture of Mongolia to Attend in Agriculture Ministers' Summit 2015
January 13 ( On January 13, 2015, Ministry of Food and Agriculture of Mongolia announces that a delegation led by its Minister Mrs. Radnaa BURMAA will be participating in the Agriculture Ministers' Summit to take place during the “Global Forum for Food and Agriculture 2015” in Berlin, Germany on January 15-17, 2015.
The visit is aimed to broaden cooperation with leading countries in the world and regions that successfully have been developing latest techniques and technologies in food, agriculture and know-how, which are included in the 2012-2016 Government Action Plans of Mongolia.
The Summit will be organized in frames of the International Green Week in Berlin, which is considered the world's biggest consumer fair for the food, agriculture and horticultural industries.
During the Summit, Minister R.Burmaa plans to meet the Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture Mr. Christian Schmidt and the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Mr. Gerd Muller to boost the Mongolia-Germany long-term and sustainable cooperation in the food and agricultural sectors.
Also, she intends to exchange views on implementing joint projects and activities and on having opportunities to seek a long-term leasing service to import agricultural techniques, equipment and cattle for the production of milk and meat as well as other financial services in order to introduce the German latest agricultural techniques and technologies.
Moreover, the Minister R.Burmaa will meet the Russian Minister of Agriculture Mr. N.V.Fedorov to discuss issues of mutual high-level visits, the meat export which was agreed during an Intergovernmental Commission Meeting, the second phase program to eradicate Mongolian livestock and realizing a joint program on producing and acclimatizing a new sort of seed.
Furthermore, the Minister for Food and Agriculture of Mongolia will meet Deputy Ministers of Agriculture from Belarus, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan and Latvia.

National organizing committee on ASEM to have its first meeting
January 13 ( Mongolia will host the 11th Asia–Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Ulaanbaatar in 2016. The country has planned 5 billion MNT for the organization of this event, and the ASEM standing committee has allocated 2.5 billion MNT for variable expenses and the remaining 2.5 billion MNT for investment in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs budget.
The national organizing committee on ASEM is having its first official meeting today to make a breakdown of the current budget planned for the event.
ASEM is one of the world's biggest international forums, with 28 member states of the European Union, and two other European countries, 21 Asian countries, and the ASEAN Secretariat, totaling 53 members. ASEM member countries and organizations account for 60 percent of global trade. The 2016 edition of ASEM will mark its 20th anniversary.
Nat’l council for ASEM Summit meetsMontsame, January 13

Bill on economic amnesty to be submitted
By B. Kuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 13 (MONTSAME) At its regular meeting on Monday, the cabinet decided to submit to parliament a draft law on the economy amnesty.
The bill has been drawn up with an aim to grant an amnesty to some subjects who committed crimes related to tax, finance and entities by exempting them from the criminal and administrative responsibilities.
The draft law is effective over those legal subjects who have violated the 42nd and 43rd clauses of the law on administrative responsibilities or committed crimes reflected in eight clauses of the criminal law.
The bill also reflects some clauses on freeing some subjects from punishments, dismissing the sentence period as well as some criminal and administration violations; and on those subjects who shall not be involved in the economic amnesty.  

Defense Minister Meets DPRK Ambassador to Mongolia
January 13 ( On January 13, 2015, Minister of Defense Ts.Tsolmon received in his office the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the DPRK to Mongolia, Mr. Hong Gyu.
During the meeting, Defense Minister emphasized that the bilateral relations, particularly in defense sector has been successfully developing and expressed his interest to organize a joint training among athletes and exchange science experts as well as invite physicians from North Korea under contracts.
In respond, Ambassador Hon Gyu mentioned that cooperation in the defense sector between the two countries can be developed in many ways and affirmed to support above initiations proposed by the Minister.
At the end of meeting, Ambassador briefed on the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asian security issues.

Massive Tavan Tolgoi development negotiations in progress
January 13 ( Negotiations between investors and the Government of Mongolia over the massive Tavan Tolgoi coking coal project are now in progress. The main meetings between investors and the Government of Mongolia are over, but negotiations in sub-meetings are underway. The sub-meetings are being divided into deposit and railway discussions.
It is estimated that over one billion USD will be spent in advance of Tavan Tolgoi's development.
The winning bidders for the tender are expected to develop Tavan Tolgoi will build a 267 km railway and enrich the plant with a 30 million ton capacity in 2.5 years.
A joint consortium of Mongolia's Energy Resources LLC, Japan's Sumitomo Corporation, and China Shenhua Energy Co Ltd will be in charge of paying the remaining debt of Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi JSC to Chinese state-owned company Chalco, and will also be responsible for future agreements.
State-owned Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi supplied 5.7 million tons of coal to China in 2014, leading national coal exporters.
The Tavan Tolgoi deposit is located close to the ground's surface, making it possible to conduct open pit mining for extraction. This lower cost exploration has lead to high competitiveness in the market, but  Mongolia's lack of infrastructure and demand for a large investment have served as disadvantages. Minister of Mongolia M.Enkhsaikhan, who is in charge of the Tavan Tolgoi mega project, stated, “Mongolian Mining Corporation will hold ownership of 51 percent of the project.”

Combating air pollution: Why targeting the ger districts matters for everyone
By Peter Bittner
January 13 (UB Post) In March of 2014, the World Health Organization announced, “air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk,” with an estimated seven million deaths each year attributable to exposure to airborne pollutants.
Over time, harmful gases damage airways and tiny particles of dust and soot trapped in lung tissue are unable to be expelled by the body. The long-term effects of particulate matter accumulation in the lungs are elevated risks of asthma, bronchitis, heart disease, stroke, and other respiratory and cardio-vascular maladies. Recent studies have also found strong correlations between air pollution and an increased prevalence of cancer of the mouth, larynx, and lungs.
It is well known that in recent years Ulaanbaatar has ranked among the world’s most polluted cities in terms of air quality, particularly in the winter. A 2011 study by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Mongolia’s Ministry of Nature, Environment, and Green Development found that levels of particulate matter in UB were 35 times higher than the WHO’s recommended levels. More recent World Bank resources have indicated that, “in wintertime, daily PM10 average concentrations reach at least seven times Mongolian standards, four times the most flexible WHO targets for developing countries and 14 times higher than WHO’s global guidelines.” While air quality monitoring has improved dramatically with up-to-the-minute data available online via sites like and, there are still great strides to be made to ensure Mongolia’s capital is a winter paradise. The appalling air pollution—which I experienced first-hand last year living in the Sukhbaatar district—has serious public health consequences.
Annual health expenses for Ulaanbaatar’s residents due to pollution-related causes could be as high as 727 million USD according to a 2011 World Bank study. An estimated 1,600 deaths and an additional 8,500 hospital admissions in UB are believed to be due to pollution-related causes, according to a WHO-Ministry of Nature study. A 2011 investigation by Ryan Allen of Simon Fraser University found that one in 10 citizens of UB die at least in part due to the effects of pollution. The hazy skies are especially harmful for children and infants, whose lungs are still developing—and even for those still in the womb. According to research presented this year by Dr. David Warburton of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, the risk of miscarriage in UB quadruples during the winter, when increased energy needs lead to dramatically higher levels of pollution.
The brunt of the public health crisis falls on UB’s most vulnerable residents: those who live in the ger districts. With 70 percent of the city’s population inhabiting the ger districts and an estimated 15,000 new migrants arriving each year, the portion of residents susceptible to the exceptionally high concentrations of airborne pollutants is only growing. Poor living conditions, low education levels, and inadequate access to health care hinders many families’ resilience to air pollution. A 2011 World Bank study found that if air quality was improved to meet Mongolian government standards, mortality due to air pollution in these areas could be reduced by a whopping 24 to 45 percent.
Improving the air quality in the ger districts will benefit not just the residents of UB’s growing peripheries but Mongolian society on the whole. World Bank resources indicate that 40 percent of UB’s annual pollution is due to ger heating. Therefore, even a 50 percent reduction in particulate matter caused by ger heating would elicit a 1/3 decrease in PM10 levels throughout the city. With each incremental improvement in air quality, hospital admissions will fall, economic productivity will increase, and the long-term quality of life will rise for all residents of UB. Everyone wins.
National and municipal policy makers should take a realistic and aggressive approach to combatting air pollution, specifically targeting these areas. There is no quick fix to reducing air pollution by the nearly 90 percent necessary to meet Mongolian air quality standards. Nevertheless, drastic changes must be taken. I agree with Dr. David Warburton (who penned an excellent UB Post opinion piece on October 10th, 2014) that a transition must be made away from coal and towards natural gas, especially in the ger districts. I also concur with his recommendation that eventually, ger inhabitants should be housed in better-insulated and more efficiently-powered permanent buildings—and conversely that the grid system be extended to the ger areas. There is little doubt that UB needs a greener and more effective power system requiring significant new investment and better methods of implementation.
However, in the meantime, while the complex policy decisions are finalized and the infrastructure projects are carried out, policy-makers, NGOs, banks, and businesses should continue to work towards increasing the efficiency of the ger district’s existing energy systems: coal-fired stoves. Several organizations’ efforts in this area have shown evidence of making positive impacts on UB’s air quality, but their operations need to be expanded upon and better supported by the government.
For example, the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s (MCC) 2011-2012 clean stove subsidy program resulted in participants producing, “65 percent lower emissions of PM 2.5 and 16 percent lower carbon monoxide emissions…compared to traditional stoves,” according to its website. The MCC’s subsidy program is also estimated to have helped reduce the total PM2.5 emissions from stoves in the ger districts by 30 percent and lower the rate of pollution-related respiratory illness. However, the MCC project is long-complete and this year the Mongolian government’s subsidies for cleaner-burning stoves dropped from 93 percent to 66 percent. However, Xac Bank’s Clean Stoves Microloan Program, with subsidies provided by Ulaanbaatar’s Clean Air Fund, has stepped in to fill the void.
To date, Xac Bank’s initiative, also known as the Eco Product Program, has distributed more than 138,000 “Xac Stoves” to ger-area residents and offers year-long microloans to ensure affordability for consumers. The program has had measurable impacts. Clean stove users, who in previous severe winters spent nearly half of their income on coal, have cut their heating costs by up to 50 percent through the more efficient stoves. In addition, approximately 970,000 tons of CO2 emissions have been reduced so far through the project. Through its partner, Microenergy Credits, Xac Bank hopes to sell its accumulated carbon credits on global markets to ensure the financially viability of the program. It has already registered with internationally-recognized institutions like Clean Development Mechanism and The Gold Standard. The bank aims to generate profit in international carbon markets in the near future by reducing a projected two million tons of CO2 by 2019.
Environmentally and financially sustainable initiatives employing innovative approaches like Xac Banks’s are crucial to ensure lasting, beneficial impacts on UB’s most vulnerable communities. But their efforts are only a small part of the larger solution to tackle a problem that negatively affects all of UB’s residents. Increasing transparency and accountability on the part of government offices and ministries is vital to successfully implement and adequately monitor and evaluate valuable programs. Fostering further collaborations between diverse stakeholders in a variety of sectors is crucial to building a community of allies to combat pollution. Short-term and long-term projects, small and large scale alike, are all necessary to reducing emissions. With continued concerted effort and alliance, UB’s pollution problem will be put in the past.
With contributions from Augustine Hosch, former Senior Project Development Officer in the Eco Banking Dept. of XacBank, and edited by the UB Post for clarity.

DP members protest unfair election practices
By B. Dulguun
January 13 (UB Post) Members and supporters of the Democratic Party in Chingeltei District began demonstrating outside of the DP’s headquarters yesterday, regarding party leadership elections.
The Chingeltei District DP is currently led by N.Batmunkh, who used to work as an advisor to former Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag. According to the protesters in Chingeltei District, almost half of the party’s members weren’t able to vote during the election, and the party concluded that their leader was elected unfairly, scheduling a re-election to reshuffle 16 members. The protesters say that despite appearances, candidates have been predetermined, which has led to the protests by party members.
Other party members in Songinokhairkhan District also joined the protest and started their own demonstration on Sunday.
Political analysts say these demonstrations in different districts are an indication of the beginning of unrest in the lower party levels against District Committees of the DP, which critics believe are formed from family connections.

President addresses plenary session
By Ch. Khaliun
January 13 (UB Post) President Ts.Elbegdorj delivered a speech at the plenary session of the Parliament on Friday, to review projects completed in 2014 and discuss future projects.
Beginning the session, the President briefly summarized the projects of 2014 and underlined successes in the previous year, saying, “The number of livestock has doubled since the animal husbandry co-operatives were disbanded, and farmers have seen big achievements. Mongolia experienced the biggest harvest since 1988.”
Ts.Elbegdorj added that Mongolia recorded a trade surplus in 2014. “Despite a shrinking economy and investment decline, we started to produce and manufacture domestically. Our citizens and domestic manufacturers have encouraged domestic production in response to the economic setback. We know that if we export processed goods and value added products, rather than raw materials and mineral resources, we will avoid a sharp economic downturn and develop our economy,” said the President.
The President spoke about last year’s summit visits, saying, “A new foundation of intensive relations and partnership with our two neighbors was established. During the high-level visits paid by the Heads of State of our two neighbors in 2014, a number of the most pressing issues of bilateral relations were discussed. I would like to remind you that there is a lot of work to be done, which will ensure and reinforce the achievements of the state visits.”
President Elbegdorj spoke about current economic difficulties and said, “Let’s tighten our belts, beginning with us. Let’s cut expenses. I told the Prime Minister to determine the office space required for chairmen and ministers, as they do in China. If we define it as 16 m2 we could cut back on luxuries.”
Ts.Elbegdorj also said that the Parliament and the Cabinet don’t have much time, and added, “The parties which established a coalition government can’t bicker like husband and wife. If you can’t fulfill your goals, you will not be able to get support from the people. I believe that we, together, can do many projects; believe in me and let’s cooperate. I wish for you to become parliamentarians who end the irresponsibility that has continued for many years. I hope that we can overcome the economic crisis and make a long-term development plan. We can do it.”
The session took place in the presence of cabinet members, officials of the Office of the President, the National Security Council, and some government agencies.

‘Je suis Charlie’ memorial held in Mongolia
January 13 (UB Post) A group of Mongolian journalists and those who support freedom of expression paid tribute on Friday to the 12 people killed at the offices of the Paris-based satirical weekly newspaper, Charlie Hebdo on January 7.
Journalists, administrators of press unions, delegates from the Embassy of France in Mongolia, and free speech supporters held signs that read “Je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie) following the attack in Paris. The Press Institute organized the event to add Mongolian media’s voice to global opposition against armed threats against freedom of speech.
They lit candles and offered their condolences to the families of the victims and readers of the newspaper, on behalf of all local journalists.
Mongolian translations of the “Je suis Charlie” slogan are also being shared on social media by local supporters.

Mining recovery yields increase in USD-MNT exchange rate
By B. Mendbayar
January 13 (UB Post) interviewed Director of the Asset Management Department at Khaan Bank T.Uuganbayar on the recent increase in the USD exchange rate against MNT.
The USD exchange rate against MNT has abruptly increased over the past few days. What affected this increase?
The increase in the exchange rate stemmed from increased demand [for USD]. The mining sector is likely to recover this year. Re-granting of the revoked licenses has yielded favorable results. In addition, mining exploitation is likely to begin relatively earlier compared to previous years, as this year’s weather is milder. These factors have resulted in increased demand for mining equipment and facilities, and thus impacted the exchange rate.
What measures shall be undertaken to increase the inflow of foreign currencies?
The issue of raising the nation’s debt ceiling had created considerable expectation. However, it did not receive approval during Friday’s Parliamentary discussion. Raising the debt ceiling was an effective means of substantially increasing the inflow of foreign currencies. Increasing exports, attracting foreign investors’ money, immediately resolving issues surrounding large-scale projects, and acquiring development loans and financing are absolute necessities in increasing the inflow of foreign currency.
How do you view the Central Bank’s intervention in the increase of the exchange rate?
The Central Bank has been intervening in the foreign exchange market during times of abrupt fluctuation in the exchange rates. It has been said that foreign exchange reserves have increased to 1.65 billion USD, which I see as more good news.

B.Chimeddorj: We’re still unable to expose networks trafficking wildlife parts
January 13 (UB Post) The population of Saiga tatarica (Mongolian Saiga) has been increasing in recent years; specifically in 2014, it rose to 13,800. This very distinct looking antelope with a large, proboscis-like nose, which hangs down over its mouth, is exclusively spread in Mongolia, particularly around Gobi-Altai and Khovd Provinces. However, saigas are in danger of extinction due to illegal trafficking and adverse weather conditions.
A Mongolian program team of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is exercising many projects for studying and protecting Mongolian Saigas. The manager responsible for the program, B.Chimmeddorj, provides insights about various saiga related issues and projects.
What sorts of projects are the Mongolian program team of the WWF executing to protect saigas?
In the late 1980’s, Mongolian and Russian scientists and researchers collaborated in conducting a wide range of researches in Sharga Gobi, Gobi-Altai Province. During the research, scientists identified that Mongolia has approximately 700 Mongolian Saigas and urged the need to protect these animals.
A Mongolian program team of the WWF has been operating since 1998 and has been cooperating with rangers, herders, and local residents, focusing on projects to protect saigas to determine its population, operate an emergency response team against illegal hunting and trade, and execute habitat protection and appropriate usage of pastures. The team conducts monitoring on the number of saigas and census every year. As a result, the population of saigas increased to 5,200 in 2000, but due to a natural disaster in the winter of 2002, the population drastically fell to 750. A comprehensive pasture management program for protecting habitats of saigas and conducting rational usage of water supply was developed from 2012 to 2013 and has been implemented since then in Gobi-Altai Province.
How is a census for determining the number of saigas conducted?
Identifying the number of wildlife isn’t easy. A line transect method is an internationally approved method for determining the number of wildlife and its variance in steppe and open desert regions. This research method can be done using an airplane, but the cost is very high and it’s impossible to collect additional data such as a particular animal’s habitat and plant reproductive output.
Specialists in the Mongolian WWF program team, the Wildlife Conservation Society in Mongolia, and provincial environmental and protected area administrations partnered to determine the population, distribution and location of saigas. In August 2014, they did a research with the line transect method within 12,000 kms of distribution area, particularly, Sharga Gobi, Khuis Gobi and Durgun Khuren steppe. This type of research done on ground not only saves on costs but also gives the opportunity to collect data about snow, water and pasture. We’ve been conducting research works and censuses in this method for the past ten years.
Mongolia enlisted Saiga Antelopes [different from Mongolian Saiga] in the List of Extinct Animals. Why are Saiga Antelopes becoming extinct? Is it possible to reintroduce them?
Saiga Antelopes used to inhabit the southern deserts of Altai Mountains. Since the 1950’s, the species no longer appeared and was registered in the List of Extinct Animals of Mongolia. The reason behind its extinction is believed to be connected to beast influences and weather conditions. Currently, Saiga Antelopes are widely spread in Central Asia, Kazakhstan, and Kalmykia. Last year, it was determined that 176,000 Saiga Antelopes live in Kazakhstan.
It’s possible to reintroduce Saiga Antelopes in the southern parts of Altai Mountains. It’s important to provide security and protection until reintroduced Saiga Antelopes are fully capable of surviving on their own. Before raising issues regarding Saiga Antelopes, Mongolian Saigas should be well protected and introduced to their old distribution areas first.
What’s the difference between Mongolian Saigas and Saiga Antelopes? What does Kazakhstan do to protect and increase the population of Saiga Antelopes?
Mongolian Saigas are smaller. Although these two species are related to one another, the two can’t be linked as one because of their geographic location. Saiga Antelopes are located in the southern part of Altai Mountains and Mongolian Saigas in the northern part.
Kazakhstan used to permit exportation of Saiga Antelope horns. Now it’s prohibited until 2020 or until the population of Saiga Antelopes reaches 200,000.
Saigas frequently bear twins. What percentage of total births of saigas are twins?
According to studies, up to 70 percent of the total female saigas bear twins. It was concluded that around 30 percent of their offspring bear twins with researches completed in recent years. Since saigas frequently bear twins, its population increases rapidly if under protection.
It’s said that a quarter of the total saiga offspring die even with appropriate weather conditions. Why is that so?
In 2010 and 2011, the Wildlife Conservation Society put on GPS collars on 40 young saigas to study their death. It was identified that eagles and foxes influence most on the deaths of saigas. A female saiga gives birth in mid-June, and for over ten days, the offspring moves between bushes and ravines, and follows its mother for a year. Young saigas are often amortized during the first ten days after its birth.
Hunting saigas was prohibited by the law. How is the enforcement of this law?
In Mongolia, hunting Mongolian saiga has been prohibited and saigas have been put under special protection in 1930. A male saiga has an ecological and economic value of four million MNT and the female is worth 4.2 million MNT. Anyone who hunts saigas will receive criminal liability. Nevertheless, the protection conditions written on paper aren’t enforced adequately.
What’s the main reason for illegally hunting protected animals?
In October 2014, a trial regarding 74 horns of Mongolian Saigas was held. The latest violation was reported in December 2014 when six saigas were hunted in Chandmani soum, Khovd Province. Our team has access to data indicating that over 80 saigas have been illegally hunted in the past three years. Despite successfully detecting illegal hunting, the fundamental error is not being able to detect, and having networks and traffickers that illegally trade saiga horns held accountable.
There’s a saying that medicines made from horns of slaughtered animals become poison. It’s clear that locals don’t hunt male saigas for fun. It’s clear that there are groups of traffickers who illegally trade saiga horns across borders. Illegal hunting of wildlife has advanced as technology advances.
How do saigas protect themselves from predators and hunters?
Mongolian Saigas have a skin color complementary to the nature, camouflaging and protecting them from attackers. In summer, the coat of a saiga is relatively sparse, and is a cinnamon-buff color around the top and white at the bottom, with a white patch on the rump. During winter, the coat becomes much longer and thicker and is uniformly white. Similar to other amphibians and vegetarians, its light feet help it to escape from danger. It’s determined that it can run up to the speed of 90 km per hour, but they aren’t able to escape from big trucks or bullets of military guns.
Also, the communication between hunters has improved significantly. Rangers would immediately report to others if they detect any violations. Still, we find that hunters had escaped by the time the police arrive at the site. NGOs aren’t able to complete some tasks of the government perfectly. It’s crucial to detect illegal trafficking networks of all wildlife. Slaughtering a male saiga just for its horns is damaging the communication and relation between saiga herds.
How are Mongolian Saigas significant to the nature and environment?
Although it’s unofficial, saigas are said to eat Anabasis brevifolia, which is toxic to livestock, and maintains the plant’s expansion and spread. It’s the main part of the food chain in gobi desert. It also helps revitalize pasture plants, thin the soil, and fertilize desert plants.
What sorts of projects have been planned to increase the population of saigas?
The population of saiga has increased to 13,800, but its habitat area is still limited, meaning that the whole specie is in danger of being wiped out if there is a drought or severe weather condition. To prevent extinction of the specie, which is exclusive to only Mongolia, it’s important to increase its population and exact the protection measures on paper.
Source: /1fk0

Judo State Championship 2015 crowns new champions
By M. Zoljargal
January 13 (UB Post) The Judo State Championship 2015 launched at Buyant-Ukhaa Sports Venue on Saturday to challenge 296 judokas in 14 weight classes.
Champion of each weight class will earn a spot at the IJF Asian Judo Championship and 2015 World Judo Championship in Astana, Kazakhstan, the biggest judo event in the world.
Day 1 of the Judo State Championship 2015 brought unexpected results as World Champion Kh.Tsagaanbaatar and Silver Medalist of the World Judo Championship D.Amartuvshin couldn’t win medals. World Champion G.Boldbaatar and International Master of Sport B.Khishigbayar passed this year’s state championship.
In the men’s 60 kg, G.Kherlen won his first State Champion title, while D.Tumurkhuleg won the men’s 66 kg tournament. D.Tumurkhuleg fought B.Batgerel in the final and won the match to earn his second gold from the championship.
S.Miyaragchaa and G.Odbayar fought for gold in the men’s 73 kg, which ended with a victory for the latter. One of the most competitive judokas in the weight class, Kh.Tsagaanbaatar, was defeated before the semi-final. S.Nyam-Ochir won a bronze in the men’s 73 kg.
In the women’s 48 kg, M.Urantsetseg and G.Otgontsetseg, who are the finest female judokas of Mongolia, didn’t compete in the championship.
E.Gerelmaa claimed the State Champion title in the women’s 48 kg weight class this year.
In the women’s 52 kg, M.Bundmaa showed excellent fighting and stood on the winner’s podium of the Judo State Championship for the 11th time.
D.Sumiya seized a gold medal in the women’s 57 kg weight class, while Ts.Tserennadmid was crowned a champion in the women’s 63 kg tournament.
Results of the last day of the championship, held on Sunday, will be published on our following issue on Wednesday.

Mongolian boxer stars in Hong Kong film ‘Iron Monk’
By B. Tungalag
January 13 (UB Post) World Professional Boxing Champion Ch.Tseveenpurev starred in a Hong Kong martial arts film “Iron Monk”.
Ch.Tseveenpurev character in “Iron Monk”, Roy, causes severe injuries to his opponents in the film, which will feature “100 percent Kung Fu”, according to the filmmakers.
Ch.Tseveenpurev is a Mongolian featherweight boxer based in the UK. Ch.Tseveenpurev won the Prizefighter series Featherweights tournament on October 29, 2011, the same month that he passed 40. This followed a ten-round victory on June 18, 2011 over former IBO featherweight champion Jackson Asiku – a fight nominated for the British boxing fight of the year.
Ch.Tseveenpurev, known as the Mongol Warrior, began his career with ten-rounder as an away fighter in South Korea and Thailand, fighting legendary former and future world champion Veeraphol Sahaprom in only his third contest. This was one of his four defeats in his career, all by points verdicts.
His boxing career saw him travel to South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia and China before settling in the UK in 2000. Ch.Tseveenpurev is currently trained by promoter Spencer Fearon, having previously worked with Jack Doughty and Lee Wilkins.
On June 6, 2008, he was awarded with the title of State Honored Athlete by former President of Mongolia N.Enkhbayar.

In the pursuit of happiness
By D. Jargalsaikhan
January 13 (UB Post) It has been several days since I came back from traveling to India and interviewing His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama Danzanjamts for my “defacto” television program. Last week, I wrote an article titled “Mongolia’s great spiritual shift”, to summarize and reflect on the Dalai Lama’s teachings that relate to our society, economy, and public governance today. This time, I would like to convey his messages about life and happiness.
Everywhere, there are many people who are only living for money and material things. However, some of them – maybe most of them, are seeking the meaning of life rather than wealth because money and power do not bring inner peace. Sometimes, the richer and more powerful one becomes, the more issues and problems one finds.
The most important goal or purpose in life must not be pursuing money and wealth. External material development must be combined with inner development. Everyone is emotional – they get happy, sad, and empathetic. It is related to our hearts and minds. Therefore, inner values are the real key to bringing about inner peace. The purpose of life is happiness. In order to have a happy life, one needs not only external material things, but also inner development.
Material wealth and material development should be combined with our rich tradition that is several centuries old. Material development, modern technology, and modern education provide us with physical comfort, whereas traditional values bring inner comfort.
Spirituality is not exclusive to religion, but it is very important for happiness. The same goes for secularity. Spirituality and religion are not necessarily inherently linked.
It has already been proven by science that peace of mind is essential to being healthy. Constant anger, hatred, and fear are harmful to our health. You cannot buy peace of mind in a supermarket. It is a wealth created by the individual. It is wrong to think it is okay to do something wrong as long as you seek forgiveness and compassion afterwards. In Buddhism, we have no concept of a creator of everything. Buddha is a teacher. Buddha teaches us how to build peace of mind. Since he is not the creator of everything, Buddha cannot forgive our mistakes for a better future. Our future must be created by ourselves, with the right motivation, with the right vision, and with the right behavior. Buddha says you are your own master, so your future depends on you. It is in your hands.
In some countries, poor people are regarded as bad people who are paying for the sins they committed in their previous life. In India, the caste system says that poor people are poor because of their own karma, their own destiny. The Buddhist point of view explains that this is wrong. Everyone is equal at a fundamental level. Buddha treated beggars and poor people with great generosity. On one occasion, Buddha saw a sick person and had his disciple bring water, and he washed the sick man’s feet himself. That’s how Buddha, our teacher, shows us by example.
Even those who are wealthy will have to work as hard as others to live happily. Those who can offer others support in education and health should do so. Therefore, you can never say that a poor person is carrying his karma and living out his destiny. Many people lack a compassionate mind. It is the same in Tibet. The lack of compassion is even found in some senior lamas. They think that they cannot be close to some poor people because they remain too high to take care of them. This is absolutely wrong. It is time for some monasteries to pay attention to this. We need to understand our wrongdoings and we must change.
There are no good days or bad days to do something. Buddha stated clearly that things happen due to your own previous karma. This means everything depends on your own behavior, not on the movement of certain planets or stars, or specific days. The Fifth Dalai Lama mentioned in his autobiography that on the day of his birth, a very special star was visible. He also said that at the same time, a lot of dogs were also born.
Before Buddhism reached Tibet and other central Asian countries, there were religious beliefs similar to shamanism during the 7-8th century. When Buddhism first reached Tibet, there were some difficulties, even clashes at the beginning. As time passed, people grew to see Buddhism in a more positive way. Eventually, the Tibetan emperors fully accepted Buddhist philosophy and religion. Buddhist concepts and philosophy greatly influenced shamanism. Nowadays, the Pen tradition, which is very similar to Buddhist tradition, lives on in Tibet.
Happiness is the value of life. If a person takes shortcuts and eliminates enemies to gain some sort of short-term happiness, these actions will not result in long-term happiness. If you abstain from doing bad things to others and try helping them when you can, you will have the chance to live a truly happy life. It allows you to reflect on your life and feel true happiness; you have had a meaningful life when you’ve helped others. Those who spend their entire life seeking fame and wealth do not have anything to remember at the end of their life. Wealth and power cannot help anyone escape death.
Please read more about what the Dalai Lama had to say about human characteristics in my next article.
Translated By B.Amar

“Justice” Faction Inquires about Gatsuurt Deposit
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, January 13 (MONTSAME) Head of the Parliamentary MPRP-MNDP joint “Justice” faction Mr N.Battsereg MP called a press conference on Monday to share the results of the faction’s inquiries on Tavan Tolgoi and Gatsuurt deposits.
The last meeting of the Parliament has discussed the issue of including the Gatsuurt gold deposit in the list of strategic deposits of Mongolia. After taking a break on this meeting, the faction has held its meeting to get sounded with various types of information about the deposit with assistance from a citizen of Mandal soum of Selenge aimag, a cryologist, and representatives of NGOs.
The faction members exchanged their opinions about “Noyon” mountain, a historic landmark where the findings date back to the times of Hun Empire have been found, on whether there are still more archaeological findings to be discovered, and about the measures to be taken in such a case.
Head of the faction N.Battsereg MP expressed that he is not against conducting any mining operations at the site and registering it as a strategic deposit. “I am only concerned about the potential threat of destruction for Noyon mountain, and for the historic heritages around the landmark”, he added.
Minister of Mongolia and a head of the Tavan Tolgoi working group M.Enkhsaikhan gave the faction information about current processes of the Tavan Tolgoi negotiations. According to him, the negotiations have concluded its initial phase, thus, the sub-groups on the matters of railroads and deposit investment have been obligated to settle detailed resolutions for the major coal deposit.

Intergovernmental Agreements on Transportation Approved
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 13 (MONTSAME) The cabinet meeting held Monday discussed and approved Mongolia-China intergovernmental agreements on allowing Mongolia to reach a seaport and to make transit transportation through territories of China; and on the bilateral cooperation in the railway transit transportation.
These agreements were established during a state visit of Xi Jinping, the President of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to Mongolia in August of 2014.
The agreements reflect beneficial clauses for Mongolia such as the routes for transporting Mongolian products, their sizes, tariff preferences and tax terms. Moreover, the number of seaports to be used by Mongolia is augmented by the agreements, contributing to an economic development of Mongolia.

Cabinet Meeting in Brief
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 13 (MONTSAME) The cabinet meeting on Monday approved the intergovernmental commissions' compositions for the Mongolian side on the trade, economy, science and technical cooperation between the governments of Mongolia and other countries.
- The cabinet discussed a draft new wording of the law on traffic safety worked out by G.Batkhuu and M.Batchimeg MPs, and then decided to convey some specific proposals to the draft initiators.
- The cabinet discussed and backed a draft amendment to the law on state and local properties, and then decided to submit it to parliament. The amendment to the law stipulates that auctions should be announced two weeks before the day of auctions.

Health Minister Meets WB Permanent Rep
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 13 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Health and Sport G.Shiilegdamba Tuesday received a delegation led by Mr James Anderson, the Permanent Representative of the World Bank WB to Mongolia; and Ms G.Pagma, a human development consultant.
At the meeting, the WB officials introduced to the Health Minister the “E-health” project to be implemented with a soft-loan of the WB with aims to improve a consumption of health information system and coordination, and to create E-solutions for quickly delivering health services to selected places.
The project will be tested in family hospitals of Tov, Khovsgol and the city’s Songinokhairkhan district, the first and third hospitals.

Draft Amendments to Budget Stability Law Presented
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, January 13 (MONTSAME) A renewed version of draft amendments to the Law on Budget Stability was presented Tuesday to the Speaker Z.Enkhbold by the head of the Cabinet Secretariat S.Bayartsogt MP.
The draft has been withdrawn due to the Parliament’s decision to dismiss its discussion.
The previous version has been presented for the Parliament discussion along with the draft amendments to the laws on budgets.
The new version of the draft offers facilitating a favorable condition to reduce the debt ceiling to 60 percent of the GDP in 2015, 55 percent -- in 2016, 50 percent -- in 2017, and to 40 percent of the GDP starting from a budged year of 2018, through implementing phases of special debt requirements and offers good debt management.

Stock Exchange News for January 13
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 13 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades on Tuesday, a total of 147 thousand and 123 units of 19 JSCs were traded costing MNT 12 billion 593 million 230 thousand and 380.
"Khokh gan” /7,565 units/, “Genco tour bureau” /5,768 units/, “APU” /1,600 units/, “State Department Store” /885 units/ and "Tushig Uul” /200 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value were "APU” (MNT six million), "Tavantolgoi” (MNT 819 thousand and 300), “Khokh gan” (MNT 746 thousand and 545), “Genco tour bureau” (MNT 514 thousand and 831) and "State Department Store” (MNT 498 thousand and 690).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 420 billion 115 million 064 thousand and 202. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 14,712.61, increasing 2014.68 units or 1.48% against the previous day.

Academician to Receive Altaic Studies “Gold Medal”
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, January 13 (MONTSAME) The Permanent International Altaistic Conference has resolved to award a Mongolian academician D.Tserensodnom with “Gold Medal” of Altaic studies. The academician currently serves as the head of the Research Center for “Secret History of Mongols” at the Institute of Linguistics of the Academy of Sciences.
The medal will be handed on January 14 at the Academy of Sciences. This award went to B.Renchin, a Mongolist and a founder of contemporary Mongolian literature, in 1963.
Academician D.Tserensodnom is the second Mongolian to receive this distinguished prize.

Mongolia’s Constitution on display at the State History Museum
By Ch. Khaliun
January 13 (UB Post) On Monday, a ceremony took place to mark the placement of the original copy of Mongolia’s democratic constitution at the State History Museum, on the occasion of the 23rd anniversary of the Constitution.
Secretary General of the Office of the Parliament B.Boldbaatar gave the opening speech at the ceremony.
B.Boldbaatar said, “There is an annual tradition of placing the original copy of the new democratic constitution for one week, on Constitution Day (January 13), at the State Museum to make the history of its adoption available to the people.”
At the ceremony, President of Mongol Bank N.Zoljargal delivered replicas of the White Stone Seal of Bogd Khaan, the Silver Seal of theocratic Narangerelt Bogd Khaan, the Silver Seal of Ekh Dagina, and two Golden Seals of the Bogd Lama to the museum. The originals are preserved in the Treasury of Mongol Bank.
The ceremony took place in the presence of the Head of the Office of the President P.Tsagaan, authorities of Mongol Bank, members of the Constitutional Court, legislative representatives, and other officials.

E-tour of the State House now available
By Ch. Khaliun
January 13 (UB Post) An opening ceremony for the official launch of the website was held on Monday. The website was developed under an order from the Office of the Parliament, offering people a virtual tour through the State House.
The event was organized as part of the office’s responsibility to promote and present the regulations, policies, and decision making process of the Parliament to the people in a timely, accessible, and adequate manner.
The Office of the Parliament successfully implemented the “e-Parliament” project, in cooperation with Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), last year.
Secretary General of the Office of the Parliament B.Boldbaatar gave the opening speech at the ceremony.
B.Boldbaatar said, “Audio and video systems for broadcasting the plenary sessions of Parliament and the meetings of standing committees were refined, as were the press rooms, technical monitoring cabinet, and information centers facilitated with modern technology.”
Boldbaatar thanked Pano Interface LLC for initiating and successfully commissioning the website meeting global standards.
The website has two language choices, Mongolian and English, and visitors will be able to access every chamber of the State House, historical and cultural monuments within the State House, the office of the Speaker of Parliament, and portraits of all prime ministers of Mongolia.
The website was created with a total of 3,000 materials and records, and 42 state objects are shared through 100 points.
The initiators hope to further develop the website, with plans to include descriptions in other languages, enabling online orders from visitors to the State House, and enriching the website with animation and video.
The ceremony took place in the presence of the Director of Pano Interface LLC, B.Battulga, consultant of the company D.Enkhtsogt, and visitors to the State House.

Two Chinese residents in Ulaanbaatar killed in a robbery
By M. Zoljargal
January 13 (UB Post) The General Police Department received a murder report on Sunday night where two Chinese traders were found dead in their residence.
Approximatelly 700 police officers and investigators in Ulaanbaatar, Darkhan-Uul and Selenge Provinces worked together on tracking suspects and caught four suspects who were carrying the 210 million MNT they stole from their victims, within five hours after the case was reported.
Darkhan-Uul Province police caught the suspects on the way to Selenge and brought them back to Ulaanbaatar. A 26-year-old suspect is undergoing interrogation, while three suspects are currently detained at Prison No.461.
The stolen money was confiscated as evidence and the Ulaanbaatar Metropolitan Police Department is working on the case, sources of Unuudur Daily reported.
The crime took place in the victims’ apartment in Bayangol District and investigation revealed that a group of four to five men entered the apartment and came out carrying a bag. They left the scene in a Toyota Prius according to a camera surveillance footage.
The victims rented the apartment and a team of investigators and prosecutors agreed that the victims were both murdered. Forensic research showed that one of the victims was stabbed, while the other victim was choked to death.
The team tracked down the car through the Traffic Monitoring Center and found that it was headed to Tavanshar via Peace Avenue.
The suspects planned to flee to Russia through Altanbulag free trade zone in Selenge Province. One of the suspects confirmed that the victims were murdered for their money. He said that the murder was not hate-motivated and that they are not involved in any religious or nationalistic groups.
Two of the suspects are brothers who were born in 1987 and 1989, while another knew the Chinese traders and visited their home frequently, according to sources close to the case. One of the victims was a leather and hide trader who worked in the city for around 20 years.

Affordable housing strategy for low-income residents unveiled
By B. Mendbayar
January 13 (UB Post) A consultation themed “Affordable housing strategy for Ulaanbaatar residents” was organized last Saturday by the Governor’s Office, in cooperation with the World Bank and Affordable Housing Institute of the USA.
Developing the strategy took over six months. In addition to improving the living standards of citizens, providing affordable housing for residents with small or lower than average income is expected to contribute to the alleviation of air and soil pollution in the city.
The organizers put together the consultation in order to inform the banking and construction sectors of the measures they will be required to undertake, and to listen to suggestions and opinions of the organizations who will participate in creating affordable housing.
About fifty percent of Ulaanbaatar citizens receive small or lower than average incomes. As their monthly incomes average 870,644 MNT, these families cannot afford apartments without support from the government.
Attendees of the consultation supported the strategy, which will be implemented in short, middle and long term phases.
Under the project, a city housing institution with an arbitrating role will be established and a legal environment will be created. Designated to regulate and arbitrate rather than construct apartments, the institution will be responsible for supporting low-income residents in buying apartments by issuing collateral through advance payments and establishing a credit collateral fund.
The strategy includes a plan to provide housing for low-income residents in stages, depending on the number of family members in a single household, income level, and the number of years a family has lived in Ulaanbaatar.

Clarifying goods to be exempt from customs duties
January 13 (UB Post) The provisions of laws exempting goods from duties and import taxes have been amended recently, allowing specific amount of goods or goods within certain price margins to be exempt from customs taxes.
Statistical experts have determined that over 120,000 Mongolians are living abroad. These people often send non-commercial items for personal use, including clothing, children’s school supplies, toys, baby shoes, books, souvenirs, medicines and medical apparatus, and instruments. Every time they sent an item, they were charged with paying five percent on customs duties and ten percent on value-added tax.
A law to exempt customs duties for parcels and goods sent from abroad that valued ten times more than the minimum monthly wage, has taken effect on this year. Article 38 for tax exempt items in the Customs Tariff and Tax Law has been amended with Article 38.1.15, which states that international postal parcel for personal consumption, not including two items of the same content and not exceeding the sum equal to ten times that of the current minimum monthly wage, has been exempted from taxes starting January 1.
By making this amendment, issues concerning customs and value-added tax exemptions for parcel sent from abroad will be resolved depending on two factors. The government has increased the minimum monthly wage to 192,000 MNT last year. According to this, goods valued less than 1.92 million MNT, which is ten times the minimum monthly wage, will be accepted without any taxes.
However, the law needs to be careful about the specification “two items of the same content”, also referred as identical or similar goods.
What are similar goods?
According to Article 12.2 of the Customs Tariff and Tax Law‚ “Similar goods” are goods, which, although not alike in all respects, have similar characteristics and component materials, perform the same functions and are commercially interchangeable with goods being valued. The Article 12.3 states, “In determining whether goods are similar, a quality, trademark, reputation and the country of origin of goods should be considered.”
Considering these indications, importers will have to pay customs duties if for instance, three shirts of the same trademark that don’t exceed 1.92 million MNT are sent from abroad. If three different goods such as two shirts and trousers or a shoe, a shirt and a trouser that don’t exceed 1.92 million MNT are sent, it can be retrieved without any taxes. As long as a parcel doesn’t include more than two items of the same content and don’t exceed the limit of 1.92 million MNT, the entire parcel will be exempt from taxes. If a parcel costs one MNT more than 1.92 million MNT or has more than two similar items, importers will be charged with customs duties for the entire parcel. Therefore, it’s better to pay attention to these points.
If you want to declare unmentioned goods or want more information, you’ll be able to get your answer from the Customs Control section at the website,
Will computers be included in tax exemptions?
Portable computers aren’t charged with customs taxes or tariff. However, be aware that the indication about similar or identical goods will apply on computers and other computer items. Good news has arrived for those who thought they wouldn’t be able to enjoy tax exemptions because their computer is too expensive. The requirement to not exceed the sum equal to ten times that of the current minimum monthly wage will not apply on this issue.
According to the new Article 13.1.24 in the Law on Value-added Tax, international postal parcel for personal consumption, not including two items of the same content and not exceeding the sum equal to ten times that of the current minimum monthly wage, as for portable computers, not exceeding the sum equal to 30 times of the current minimum monthly wage will be exempt from the value-added tax.
Therefore, you will not have to pay taxes if you receive one or two portable computers, not exceeding 5.76 million MNT, from abroad. Be aware of the fact it has to be a portable computer.
Will the size and weight matter?
Currently, the maximum weight for international postal parcels is 20 kg. The President of Mongolia issued an international postal service standard, MNS 5382-3: 2004, specifying that parcels weighing up to 50 kg can be accepted if the two countries have mutually agreed.
Drugs, medical equipment and food
The Article 15.9 in the Law on Medicine and Medical Devices states, “The following shall be prohibited in the processes of importing and exporting medicines and medical devices,” and in Article 15.9.3, “importing medicines, medical devices and bioactive products by legal entities and individuals who don’t have the special license.” This strictly prohibits sending any medicine, vitamin and bioactive products through international postal services.
The Article 11.1 in the Law on Food regulates, “Food must only be imported and exported by legal entities that are registered in Mongolia.” Therefore, importing and exporting food for personal use is also prohibited.
Results of amendments for tax exemptions
It’s impossible to account the specific outcome and results from these amendments, taking effect for only 14 days. Still, Post Usage and Technology Agency Chief of Mongol Post B.Sodchimeg reported about improvements made during these two weeks.
She clarified that 120 parcels weren’t retrieved a week before the law amendments were enforced due to high tax charges. Locals previously were unaware that customs duties were charged depending on the goods, products and quantity, and often complained about demanding extra charges when postal transportation service fee had been paid. According to B.Sodchimeg, these sorts of complaints has reduced since the enforcement of the two new amendments in the Laws on Value-added Tax, and Customs Tariff and Tax Law.

Law on Whistleblower Protection to be submitted this week
January 13 (UB Post) Member of Parliament Ts.Oyungerel recently drafted the Law on Whistleblower Protection and spoke with Daily News about the legal project.
You drafted the Law on Whistleblower Protection. What kind of principles will be upheld to implement the law?
The Constitution of Mongolia reflected that every person has the right to express their views and thoughts freely. Protecting whistleblowers’ rights fulfills the clause of the Constitution completely. Whistleblowers are defined differently around the globe. Whistleblowers are vulnerable to losing their jobs or salary in Mongolia. I attempt to introduce a new policy that protects whistleblowers’ rights. We guaranteed press freedom in the law 20 years ago, but we do not protect the people who distribute news through social media. At present, 17 members of Parliament have supported the law.
There is a frame for executing the law. Who will the law protect, besides whistleblowers?
People who are independent from others can criticize freely. For example, Mongolians who live in the U.S.A or Canada are free to criticize some sectors in Mongolia. They do not receive negative results when they criticize illegal activities. But Mongolians who are in their homeland have the risk of going to jail or paying monetary fines. So there is a question about who must be protected. The rights and responsibility of whistleblowers and person who receives criticism were included in the law.
Who is a whistleblower and who are the people being criticized?
People who conduct activities for public interest have a responsibility to be criticized. For example, the President, members of the government and Parliament, officials who spend the state budget and so on. From the private sectors, social health, nature and environment, and security organizations are included in this as well. A whistleblowers can be anyone but they must not violate individuals’ rights that are in the Constitution such as ethnic origin, language, race, sex, social origin, religion and family.
Media organizations are the majority of whistleblowers in society. Does the law refer to them?
Press organizations are the first whistleblowers, and protectors of whistleblowers can be the second whistleblowers. In other words, media organizations are able to protect and hide their sources of information in relation to this law. If the law is passed, it will not urge media organizations to reveal their sources. Whistleblowers will not go to the jail on the basis of hiding their sources.
What measures will be taken if the law is violated? Currently, whistleblowers get fined.
We have heads who cannot receive criticisms. We need to fix this situation. According to this law, the recent case of L.Davaapil and the former Minister of Road and Transportation L.Gansukh can be resolved easily. Whistleblowers have the right to have illegal activities investigated. Today, the implementation of certain legal procedures are not conducted in Mongolia. A person who holds all the information do not report anything. In order to eliminate the misunderstanding in society, L.Gansukh should have reported all the things instead of suing Davaapil. Consequently, the public does not know the truth. Simply put, the public did not value Davaapil’s courage.
People tend to defame others using fake names. Will the law encourage this behaviour?
If someone was defamed, they are able to retaliate. As part of the law, higher authorities will not sue individuals easily. Before going to court, they should report and give information to the public.
Have you conducted a research on whistleblowers? Are there many incidences that threaten whistleblowers?
I have studied other countries’ laws and policies on this issue to draft the law. Also, I researched recommendations of international organizations and made estimations. Over 90 percent of the report made to the Mongolian Criminal Police Department about defamation came from officials, which means that ordinary citizens do not report defamation.
I have concluded that officials and higher organizations overuse their authorities. I plan to submit the law this week.
Source: Daily News

Ch.Badral: Achievement and success is the biggest gift for oneself
January 13 (UB Post) A rising opera star of Mongolia, Ch.Badral, who won three Grand Prixes and several awards from international music competitions in the past two years, gave an interview about his amazing achievements during his trip to Mongolia.
Ch.Badral is currently studying at the Gnesins’ Academy of Music in Moscow, Russia. He was born in Zuunburen soum, Selenge Province and set foot into the opera world by entering the Music and Dance College in 2006, under the guidance of State Honored opera singer Ch.Yuruu.
Since college, Ch.Badral has been actively sharpening his skills by working at the Mongolian Military Song and Dance Ensemble (MMSDE) and was granted a scholarship from the Prime Minister of Russia to study at the Gnesins’ Academy of Music in 2012.
Your achievements are leaving a clear trail in the history of Mongolian opera arts. Congratulations on winning the Laureates of the Second Premium award at the 25th Glinka International Vocal Contest in December, 2014.
Thank you. Mongolian opera singers have been successfully participating at the Glinka International Vocal Contest in recent years. This is probably because vocal skills of Mongolian vocalists are improving tremendously, as well as the fact that the media has become more open. Previously, these sorts of news weren’t covered. Many young singers debuted simultaneously, increasing competition and inducing one another to improve their skills.
The person who established this new generation and trail of Mongolian opera arts is State Honored Artist P.Ganbat. Baritone soloists of the State Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet (SATOB) A.Sainbayar and Ch.Enkhtaivan made significant achievements, deepening this trail. Since then, vocalists S.Munguntsetseg and G.Ariunbaatar have been actively engaging in competitions. Now, State Artist E.Amartuvshin, G.Ariunbaatar, soloists of the SATOB J.Byambajav and E.Ankhbayar, and I are very happy to be promoting Mongolia as well as our profession internationally.
You are the first Mongolian male vocalist to study at the Gnesins’ Academy of Music. Is the curriculum different from Mongolia’s?
The academy mainly provides one-on-one training as it cultivates soloists. Teaching methods aren’t very different, but the training environment and equipped classrooms are different. For instance, compared to Mongolian schools, the academy has two royal pianos in a classroom, instead of one. The curriculum and training by Mongolian instructors are consistent to all international curriculum as they have developed training from instructors of the golden age of Mongolian opera singing.
The environment must also affect you. Does your musical taste improve more as you watch regular performances at the academy’s theater?
At least I would get to understand more about orchestra in a short period. Violin and piano performances are organized frequently. Mongolian students rarely get the opportunity to watch opera and ballet practices of the SATOB. We would get to watch an opera once a week. Students studying in Russia are able to watch performances as well as practices every day.
How many Mongolians are studying at the Gnesins’ Academy of Music? Do you know any former Mongolian graduates of the academy?
I heard that Mongolian composers and musicians have graduated from this academy. Violinists and pianists have graduated. Composer Ulziibayar furthered his education and got his master’s degree there. A vocalist graduated last year. Another vocalist will graduate this year. Currently, five Mongolians are studying at the academy. Female vocalists usually come to study from Mongolia.
Who’s your professional instructor?
Natalia A. Dmitriev.
How did you get the opportunity to study in Russia?
In 2012, the Music and Dance College received a scholarship from the Russian Prime Minister to let one student study in Russia. Russian professors came to examine and I was chosen. Although I had the passion to continue as an opera singer, it didn’t occur to me that I would be granted with such an amazing opportunity. After going to Russia, I gradually understood the lyrics of the songs I sang and could carry out daily conversations. My studies are progressing well. I will be concentrating on the language afterwards.
Many competitions are held in Russia. What is the rank of the competitions you’ve participated and won?
Many competitions named after Russian famous artists and singers are organized in Russia. All these competitions are ranked. I motivate myself to succeed and make achievements at the top ten ranking competitions.
In 2013, I became the winner of Grand Prix of the Eighth International Competition for Vocalists, named after Russian People’s Artist A.P.Ivanov. In spring 2014, I won the first Grand Prix of the international opera singers’ competition named after Russian People’s Artist Natalia Spiller.
As for the ranking of Russian competitions, International Tchaikovsky Competition is ranked first, Glinka International Vocal Contest is second, and International N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov Competition is third, followed by International E.V.Obraztsova Competition. There are many more competitions which are famous in Europe.
Mongolian vocalists are attracting interests of the classical arts of Russia. Do people enquire about special practices and training?
Mongolians are attracting a lot of attention. The skill and potential of Mongolians and their unique timbre consistent to Mongolia’s extreme climate sound very different and intriguing. Even if a Mongolian hasn’t won a competition, the judges often ask about where they studied and their instructor. The 25th Glinka International Vocal Contest had 14 judges. Half of the judges were Europeans as it was the 210th anniversary of prominent Russian composer M.I.Glinka’s birth. An Italian judge came up to me after the competition and told me that my school wasn’t completely Russian and had Italian practices. I understood that our Mongolian curriculum, created from the experiences of Mongolian instructors, also has included these Italian practices.
Are you going to enter the International Tchaikovsky Competition this summer?
There’s no end to human desire. I’m thinking of participating. It’s difficult to make definite plans for the competition. The voices of vocalists are very sensitive. At worst, it’ll get affected by a disease. Even so, I’ll try my best.
Did you sing since you were young? How did you become aware of classical music?
Most Mongolian singers had moved from remote areas to the city to study music. Only few people have entered schools after becoming familiar with classical arts. When I was young, State Honored Artists such as Ts.Tuvshintugs and B.Erdenebat used to sing public songs. I took the exam for the Music and Dance College, aiming to become a singer like them. My father has a very beautiful voice. He wanted to become a singer but wasn’t able to. My drive might have been a son’s passion to realize his father’s dreams. I certainly didn’t enter the college to become a professional singer. Many factors influenced my decision to choose this path as an opera singer.
S.Munguntsetseg and G.Ariunbaatar were awarded with state honored artist title after succeeding at the Glinka International Vocal Contest. Are you anticipating any awards?
That’s a difficult question. Not anyone can make this achievement or get awarded with this title. Artists do get hopes and anticipation for certain awards after making certain achievements. Getting rewarded from the government does motivate and make us feel accomplished. I’m still young and I have many things to achieve. If I’m awarded with an appropriate prize to my achievement, I will gladly receive it from the state. However, discussing this topic is still too early.
Does success lead to future successes or does hard work get rewarded with success?
During my time studying in Russia, I pondered about many things since I was alone. Sometimes, it was hard because I couldn’t open my inner emotions to anyone. On the other hand, this probably made it easier to understand and communicate with my inner self. Success is the biggest thing you can do for yourself. It’s a wonderful rush of emotional satisfaction. You’ll come closer to success depending on how much you’ve labored and made effort. Behind success lies the support of many people, including family, friends, and instructors. Encouragements and countenance from many can influence too. My family was inspired to learn about classical arts by me. Now, they often listen to classical music and are aware of professional singers.
You will be graduating soon. Have you planned where you’ll be working?
I haven’t informed many people but I received proposals from two places. One of them was sent from the prestigious Mariinsky Academy of Young Opera Singers in St. Petersburg. The other was sent from Helikon Opera, a famous Russian opera company based in Moscow specializing in unconventional productions, which is ranked after Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. Knowing that I was invited to the Mariinsky Academy of Young Opera Singers gives me a big hope and support. We’ll probably start collaborating by the end of this year.

‘Script Writer of Mongolia 2015’ contest takes place
By B. Tungalag
January 13 (UB Post) The weekly Khumuun Bichig newspaper of the state owned MONTSAME Agency awarded the winners of the 18th “Script Writer of Mongolia” national contest on January 12 at the Mongolian National Modern Art Gallery.
The contest, which was organized for the 18th time, awards traditional calligraphy writings in five categories; teachers, adults, students, 12th grade students, and calligraphy.
Around 800 people from all districts of Ulaanbaatar and all provinces, except Bayan-Ulgii and Khentii, submitted materials to this year’s contest.
At the ceremony, Cabinet Minister S.Bayartsogt handed prizes to the winners and commended them on their success.
He expressed his gratitude to Khumuun Bichig for contributing to the promotion of a national heritage to the young generation.
The eldest participant was S.Jigjidsuren, 90, from Bayangol District, and the youngest was M.Buyankhishig, 6th grade student from Bayankhongor Province.
Mongolian and Russian language teacher of the Mongolian State University of Education Z.Byambasuren won the professional teachers’ category.
Senior student at Law School of National University of Mongolia, B.Zolzaya, won in the adults’ category.
Ts.Bayarmanlai won first place in the calligraphy category.
Student of School No.3 E.Tsetsenbilguun, student of School No.93 U.Ochirpurev, student of Arbulag soum school of Khuvsgul Province G.Narantsetseg, and Uvs Province student B.Nomin-Erdene won the 12th grade student category and received full government scholarships to study at the National University of Mongolia and Mongolian State University of Education.

State Chess Amateur Championship concludes
By B. Baatar
January 13 (UB Post) On the occasion of the 23rd anniversary of the Constitution of Mongolia, the State Chess Amateur’s Championship tournament took place, under the auspices of Speaker of Parliament Z.Enkhbold, at the State Palace on January 10 and 11.
Ninety-four male chess players competed in men’s category.
S.Altangerel from Ulaanbaatar won first place with 7.5 points, followed by Orkhon Province’s U.Tserendorj and Dornod Province’s D.Duurenjargal.
A total of 33 female chess players competed in this year’s event. Darkhan-Uul’S T.Mart won first place, followed by Selenge Province’s B.Altantuya and Uvs Province’s J.Altantsetseg.
Chess player S.Altankhuyag was named “the best senior male player” and D.Sainzaya became “the best senior female player”.

Students honor the legacy of B.Purevsukh
By B. Narantuya
January 13 (UB Post) For this year’s 70th anniversary of the School of Fine Arts, students of State Honored Artist of Mongolia, Honorary Artist of UMA, and teacher, B.Purevsukh, are presenting the exhibition, “Memorial Touch of Historical Paintings”. The exhibition is on view at the Union of Mongolian Artists, from January 19 to 28. Seventy paintings by 20 artists are presented in the exhibition.
The exhibition presents the work of 20 skillful artists who were students of B.Purevsukh, including G.Lhagvasuren, Ch.Khurelbaatar, D.Purev, S.Ganbold, D.Erdenebileg, D.Chuluunbat, and B.Ochirkhuya (studied under B.Purevsukh from 1975 to 1979); Ts.Bold, D.Burdaa, S.Gantsatsral, T.Naimanchuluun, A.Taivanbold, N.Jargalan, S.Bold, and D.Munkhduuren (1979 to 1983); and J.Munkhtsetseg, M.Erdenebayar, G.Tsengunjav, Ts.Batjargal, and D.Batnasan (1983 to 1985). Many of B.Purevsukh students are now Honorary Artists of the Union of Mongolian Artists (UMA).
The following is a tribute written by a former student of B.Purevsukh, ProfessorS.Badral, who teaches at the School of Fine Arts at Mongolian State University of Arts and Culture:
Time goes by and the only things that remain and exist forever are the memories of great human beings and their actions, as well as their creations.
“The only thing that is eternal in the universe is the human mind and memory,” the Great Khan of Mongolia, Uguudei, once said. And that is true: The history of our ancestors has been inherited from ancient times to the present, into our minds.
One of the greatest artists in fine arts, Batsend Purevsukh, was my teacher. He was a person who aimed to show true history and express the strengths of Mongols in his paintings throughout his lifetime. Besides creating tremendous paintings, he was a teacher and was respected by his students. His students often called him “Puujee”.
He didn’t imitate others. He created his paintings according to what he had learned during his study at the Russian Academy of Fine Arts in Saint Petersburg. His most famous paintings are: “Hero of Labor Tegshjav”, “Among the Sukhbaatar Youth”, “Scientist Myangat”, “Arresting the Monk Saj”, and “Amarsanaa”.
I knew my teacher B.Purevsukh very well, because I used to spend a lot of time with him. He was an extremely talented artist who was a master of using oils, paint brushes, and color; a good teacher and a great person with vision that was ahead of his time.
Puujee teacher was, overall, a calm person with an honest vision. He didn’t yell or get angry at his students, instead, just saying a few words that were worthwhile.
He had many rare, historical books in his huge library in his home. Wherever he went, he read books and wrote down notes. I remember well when he was reading books about the great artists of France, Camille Pissarro and Pierre Auguste Renoir.
Even though we – his students, were young people, he respected us as artists and used to praise us with kind words that we will never forget.
He worked as a general painter in great Mongolian movies, such as “Mandukhai Queen” and “Munkh Tengeriin Huchin Dor”.
He will remain an honored and well respected teacher and artist to me, and in the history of arts forever, as he contributed to the development of fine arts and motion pictures; as he influenced and taught his students well; and as he created many historical artistic pieces for Mongolians, dedicated with respect for his homeland.

Will taxes make up for budget shortfalls?
January 13 (UB Post) The government’s budget amendments to the taxation law have angered the public. The government has taken the position that increasing taxes will generate a significant percentage of the financing required for the state budget.
Recently, Members of Parliament and other high-ranking government authorities have discussed the effectiveness of downsizing ministries and agencies and trimming ineffective costs. But in a reality, they did not pursue what they discussed and they are attempting to empty citizens’ pockets instead.
In particular, over 186 staff will be laid off under the proposed staff reductions. But starting with the government and province governor’s offices, the authorities are violating the government’s resolution and keeping their staff in their positions to work without pay.
Property taxes include apartment tax, vehicle tax, gun tax, and livestock tax. The majority of Parliament supported a discussion of a three-fold increase to the taxes for a Toyota Prius. Consequently, Toyota Prius owners are now obliged to pay annually 108,000 MNT in vehicle tax, which was previously 36,000 MNT.
Ulaanbaatar City Administration once proposed putting weekend driving restrictions on cars with right-hand steering systems. This idea was met with the public’s objections. Now, the Toyota Prius taxation issue is being debated. This Toyota model has already become popular for purchase by median-income households, and some people prefer these vehicles for taxi services. Why are the authorities trying to empty the public’s pockets, since they already pay tolls for air pollution, driver responsibility insurance and road use charges? Will drivers accept this tax increase?
An additional clause was added to the Property Tax Law. If a citizen has more than three apartments in their name, they will pay additional taxes.
It is wrong to burden taxpayers to fix a few people’s mistakes. It seems like the parliament and government has started planning how to spend money from citizens’ pockets, rather than doing something great for the country’s development.
The City Administration was also considering a project to charge fees for access to the city’s central roads to reduce traffic congestion. Their idea was to apply fees of 50,000 MNT per month to provide drivers with access through the Western Intersection, Wrestler’s Palace, and Chinggis Hotel- Geser Temple. City administrators are expected to try to submit the project again soon.
If you drive a Toyota Prius and travel through the city center, you will be obliged to spend a significant amount of money on taxes.
Countries around the world actually impose higher taxes on cars that have larger engines and less efficient fuel consumption. Also, other countries determine taxes based on their population’s salary and required living expenses. In other words, in some countries, rich people pay more in taxes. Interestingly, the changes to taxes in Mongolia will affect people who have medium or lower income.
The head of the Authority for Fair Competition and Consumer’s Rights, O.Magnai, said that people shouldn’t pay the same amount of taxes when they buy an apartment that costs over 5,000 USD per square meter and one that costs one million MNT per square meter. Residents live on a wide range of incomes. This issue needs to be discussed further, but it is not getting the public’s attention.
The general public will be in agreement that it is time to impose taxes on luxury living.
Doesn’t the government have more ideas about how to earn budget income without increasing taxes?
Source: Undesnii Shuudan

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