Saturday, February 7, 2015

Mongolia Brief January 16, 2015

Minister of Mongolia meets with Japanese Ambassador
January 16 ( Minister of Mongolia M.Enkhsaikhan met with Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Mongolia Takenori Shimizu at the Government House on Thursday.

Minister of Mongolia M.Enkhsaikhan, who is in charge of dealing with investors for the development of Tavan Tolgoi, reported on the negotiation process for the Tavan Tolgoi investment agreement and exchanged views with the ambassador.
At the meeting, Ambassador Shimizu said, “Japan is interested in importing minerals from more and more countries. Thus, we want this project to achieve success. Foreign direct investment is crucial for Mongolia`s development. There is a need to improve the  investment environment in Mongolia. The massive Oyu Tolgoi project is being watched by Japanese investors. Oyu Tolgoi is a symbol of a mega project investment.
Minister of Mongolia M.Enkhsaikhan said, “You are someone who has good awareness of Mongolia.  I highly respect your efforts and support that have brought about good bilateral relations between Mongolia and Japan.”

Head of Mongolians Overseas’ Council awarded Medal of Labour
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, January 16 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr L.Purevsuren handed the Honorary Medal of Labour to the head of “Council of Mongolians” NGO Mr N.Nomun-Erdene on January 14. The award was in high recognition of the latter’s good deeds towards the Mongolian citizens who live, work and study abroad.
The Minister congratulated on the establishment of such a Council which is attended by the voluntary associations of Mongolians overseas, and promised a cooperation with this organization in frames of expanding the state policies for our citizens working and studying in foreign countries, of promoting their children to inherit the mother language, culture and traditions, facilitating the Mongolians who changed their citizenship with a favorable legal environment to return home, and of mobilizing Mongolia’s “soft power”.  He also emphasized the contributions of Mongolians overseas in the overcoming of economic declines faced by the country during the transition period. Mr Purevsuren suggested the guests to seek the opportunities to register the council as a mandated international organization, and wished them success.
After this, the Minister received the representatives of “Tsakhim Ortoo” (Online Stations) NGO, was sounded with their activities and exchanged opinions on the possibilities to implement state responsibilities through the organizations of Mongolian citizens abroad.

FM meets Vice Minister of Health and Sport
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 16 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Purevsuren Thursday met T.Boldbaatar, the Vice Minister of Health and Sport, and discussed issues of cooperating in supporting the sport sphere through a general regulation of the external relations.
In this year, Mongolian athletes will compete in 145 competitions and tournaments abroad to be qualified to participate in the Olympics, and Mongolia will host 14 international tournaments. The Foreign Minister introduced to the Voce Minister his initiatives and proposals to facilitate conditions for the athletes to compete abroad, to organize international competitions and to propagandize Mongolia during these competitions.
The delegates talked about expanding the external advertisement through sport celebrities, to popularize international tournaments held in Mongolia, hosting international friendly judo competitions with both North and South Korea, and winning a right to host the 2017 Judo World Championships.
Expressing thanks for an audience, the sport delegates said that the Minister’s initiatives and goals are fully accorded with willingness of the athletes, and added they will make the collaboration closer.
The meeting brought together N.Tuvshinbayar, an Olympic champion and State Honored Sportsman; and secretary-generals of the national federations for judo, wrestling, boxing, football and shooting.

Money supply in figures
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, January 16 (MONTSAME) According to the report of the Bank of Mongolia (BoM), money supply (broad money or M2) reached MNT 10.6 trillion at the end of December 2014, going up by MNT 715.3 billion or 7.2 percent from the previous month. It also shows an increase by MNT 1.2 trillion or 12.6 percent against the previous year.
As of the end of reporting period, currency issued in circulation reached MNT 809.7 billion, increasing by MNT 40.7 billion or 5.3 percent from the previous month, while going down by MNT 31.5 billion or 3.7 percent from 2013.

Master Budget report
Ulaanbaatar, January 16 (MONTSAME) As of the preliminary result of 2014, total equillibrated revenue and grants of the General Government Budget amounted to MNT 6223.4 billion, and total expenditure and net lending of the budget reached MNT 7031.4 billion, representing a deficit of MNT 808.0 billion in the equilibrated balance of the General Government Budget.
Compared to the previous year, tax revenue has increased by MNT 135.1 billion or 2.7percent. This increase mainly reflected increases of MNT 125.6 billion or 16.9 percent in other tax revenue, and of MNT 97.2 billion or 11.1 percent in social security contributions. However, income taxes decreased by MNT 56.8 billion or 3.0 percent in taxes on goods and services, MNT 26.1 billion or 6.8 percent in taxes on foreign trade, MNT 10.9 billion or 1.0 percent in income tax revenue, of which MNT 38.9 billion or 5.9 percent was in corporate income tax.
In 2014, total expenditure and net lending of the General Government Budget reached MNT 7031.4 billion and increased MNT 866.7 billion or 14.1 percent compared to the previous year. This increase was mainly due to increases of MNT 249.2 billion or 16.7 percent in capital expenditure, MNT 237.6 billion or 12.6 percent in subsidies and transfers expenditure, MNT 229.9 billion or 85.0 percent in interest payments expenditure, MNT 206.4 billion or 8.6percent in expenditure on goods and services, although there were decreases of MNT 56.5 billion or 46.5 percent in net lending.    

Industrial production increases
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, January 16 (MONTSAME) The industrial production index (2010=100 seasonally adjusted and experimental estimation) as of December 2014, increased by 10.2 percent against the same period of the previous year and 1.2 percent from the previous month.
The mining productions of broken or crashed stone, molybdenum with concentrate, gold, copper concentrate, crude oil increased by 8.1-44.4 percent in the minerals’ sectors. The production of products such as cigarettes, knitted goods, beer, milk, metal foundries, buuz, dumpling, soft drinks, wooden building door and windows, cake, bread, combed down wool, kinds of sausage, vacuum windows and doors, cement, sawn wood, macaroni noodles, leather boots and shoes increased by 2.1 percent to 86.2 percent in the manufacturing sector compared to the previous year.

Educational sphere in statistical mirror
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, January 16 (MONTSAME) According to the report by the National Statistics Office, a total of 137.4 thousand students and pupils graduate all levels of educational institutions in the academic year of 2013-2014.
Among them were 85.1 thousand children who graduated schools of general education, of which 50.1 thousand finished 9th grade, and 35.0 thousand --11th grade. Others include 18.4 thousand students graduated technical and vocational schools and 33.9 thousand students graduated universities, higher education institutions and colleges.

Law of Mongolia on Fiscal Stability Discussed to Gradually Reduce Percentage of Total Debt in GDP
January 16 ( At the irregular Cabinet meeting held on January 15, 2015, it was resolved to withdraw a draft amendment to the Law on Fiscal Stability and reflect a provision to gradually reduce the percentage of total amount of state debt in the GDP.
In other words, considering the current requirements the provision No.6.1.4 of the Fiscal Stability Law is set forth as, “The total percentage of the state debt in the GDP shall not be more than 60% for the fiscal year 2015, furthermore, not more than 55% in 2016 fiscal year, 50% in 2017, and not 40% in 2018 fiscal year respectively”.
Today, the renewed version of the Law on Fiscal Stability is being discussed at the Budget Standing Committee of the State Great Khural (Parliament) and it is scheduled to submit for first discussion at the Parliament afternoon session.

“Tsagaan Sar 2015” Exhibition and Fair Trade in Erenhot Cancelled but Runs in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia as Scheduled
January 16 ( It was previously reported that the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI) in collaboration with Administration of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, the PR of China are organizing the "Tsagaan Sar 2015" exhibition and fair trade in Inner Mongolia.
So on January 15, 2015, the MNCCI announced that the exhibition scheduled in Erenhot (Erlian) is cancelled, but the "Tsagaan Sar 2015" exhibition and fair trade will be organized in Hohhot, China as planned.
To remind, the Erenhot Exhibition was planned on January 24-28 and Hohhot Exhibition will be running from January 30 to February 10, 2015.
The reasons to cancel the Erenhot Exhibition are explained as follows:
1. The Erenhot Customs was not able to introduce tax-free goods
2. Mongolian side cannot allocate budget in the near future for fee of exhibition area and advertisement
3. It was decided to make some repairs on the floor of central exhibition of Erenhot that requires a total of 75 million MNT and the Chinese side requested to share the total cost, but due to difficult of economic conditions as well as product sales almost stopped and poor profit, organizers agreed to cancel the exhibition and fair trade in Erenhot this time.
Moreover, the MNCCI apologizes the entities registered and says to return the registration fee.

Foreign Minister Initiates to Host “North Korea – South Korea - Mongolia Judo for Peace 2015” and Judo World Championship 2017 in Ulaanbaatar
January 16 ( On January 15, 2015, Foreign Minister L.Purevsuren received in his office the General Secretaries of Mongolian National Olympic Committee as well as Federations and Associations of Judo, Freestyle Wrestling, Boxing, Football and Shooting, where the Olympic Champion N.Tuvshinbayar was also present.
During the meeting, parties exchanged views on how to expanding campaign in abroad as well as making a Mongolian brand when to organize international competitions home, and talked about the possibilities of obtaining the right of hosting the 2017 Judo World Championship in Mongolia.
Moreover, the notable reason to meet the sports envoys was an initiation by the Foreign Minister to host the “North Korea - South Korea - Mongolia Judo for Peace 2015” competition in Ulaanbaatar.
The sports representatives expressed their gratitude for reception and warmly accepted the initiations proposed by the Minister and pledged to support and closely cooperate to undertake the discussed issues.

National University of Education and American Center for Mongolian Studies Sign MOU
January 16 ( On January 15, 2015, Mongolian National University of Education (MNUE) and the American Center for Mongolian Studies (ACMS) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation to develop an academic partnership and support education inked by the MNUE Rector Dr. Davaasuren MUNKHJARGAL and the ACMS Director Marc Tasse.
Under the MoU, parties agreed to implement the followings:
- The MNUE and academic institutions of the United States to exchange research programs and scholarships for researchers as well as expanding cooperation opportunities.
- The MNUE and the US research institutes to collaborate as a bridge to promote education in Mongolia.
- To partner with American educational institutions and researchers on education-related projects and programs.
- Cooperation related to the development of the MNUE library service and its staff skill improvement trainings.

National Development Award - "State Gerege” to be awarded
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 16 (MONTSAME) A working group held its first discussion to consider organizational issues of the National Development Award, and decided to grant the State Gerege prize on January 14, 2015.
This award is granted by the Presidential Office of Mongolia to an outstanding creation or work that became a role model in social, economic and intellectual sectors, representing the symbol of competitiveness of the country, by contributing to the development of business, infrastructure, industry, agriculture, tourism, construction and cultural sectors, and bringing the development to world standard levels.
The working group has been set up with representatives of the President’s Office, the Academy of Science, the Chamber of Commerce, the National Development Institute, the National Creation Center, the Competitiveness Center and the Governor’s Office of Ulaanbaatar city.
Administrations of Ulaanbaatar city and provinces, the Citizen’s Representative Khurals, NGOs and citizens have the right to submit candidates and nominations for the “National Development Award – the State Gerege” and the documents and materials will be accepted to the relevant Ministries and President’s Office until January 25th, 2015.

SouthGobi Sands avoids taxes of 35 billion Togrog
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, January 16 (MONTSAME) The State General Prosecutor’s Office (SGPO) called a press conference on Friday to inform the public about the tax avoidance cases regarding “SouthGobi Sands” LLC, a branch of Canadian-listed SouthGobi Resources Ltd. in Mongolia. 
The news conference was called by Mr T.Sukhbaatar, head of the SGPO’s Press and Public Relations Division; and Ms G.Gereltuya, an attorney of the Municipal Prosecutors’ Office.
A case was opened by the Corruption Combating Agency (CCA) in 2012 regarding the group of officials led by D.Batkhuyag, then-head of the Authority for Mineral Resources. During the investigation, an investigator and commissioner O.Barkhasbadi separated a criminal case involving a US citizen Justin Kapla, who was the president of SouthGobi Sands at that time. He has since been under investigation on the grounds of tax evasion with a value of MNT 17 billion 441 million 383 thousand and 600 payable for MNT 90 billion income of the company, by intentionally presenting added value of taxable income expenditure, thus reflecting an omitted value of taxable revenue into the 2011 financial report of the company, with assistance from a former colleague at SouthGobi, a Phillipine national Hilarium Cajucom, the general manager at that time. 
Another investigation has taken place regarding a separate tax evasion of MNT 17 billion committed by Hilarium Cojacum and Cristobal David, who then worked as a manager in charge of finance and accounting of SouthGobi, both Philippine nationals. A group of criminal experts issued a conclusion on December 16, 2014, that confirmed the validity of these cases of significant amount of tax evasions, which imposed tax deficit of over 35 billion Togrog. The cases have been passed to the primary court.
Travel bans for the accused persons have been issued during the investigation, and the SouthGobi accounts in Khan Bank, Golomt Bank and Trade Development Bank have been sealed, said T.Sukhbaatar.
The case has been the biggest ever taxation avoidance crime in Mongolia in terms of amount of money.

Transport statistics
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, January 16 (MONTSAME) According to the report by the National Statistics Office, a total of 58.6 million tons of freight and 346.0 million passengers (double counted) were carried by all types of transport in 2014. Carried freight increased by 8.9 million tons or 17.8 percent and carried passengers -- by 37.3 million people or 12.1 percent, compared to the previous year.
Railway carried 21.0 million tons of freight and 3.3 million passengers (double counted). Compared to 2013, the amount of carried freight decreased by 39.4 thousand tons or 0.2 percent and number of carried passengers -- by 453.4 thousand or 12.1 percent.
The revenue from railway transport in 2014 reached MNT 427.2 billion reflecting increase of MNT 5.8 billion or 1.4 percent compared to the previous year.
In 2014, 3.3 thousand tons of freight and 672.7 thousand passengers (double counted) were carried by air transport. Compared to the previous year, the amount of carried freight decreased by 641.6 tons or 15.7 percent and of carried passengers, by 105.8 thous.persons or 13.6 percent.
The air transport revenue of 2014 totaled to MNT 239.0 billion, showing decrease of MNT 8.3 billion or 3.4 percent, against the previous year.
Roads carried 37.6 million tons of freight and 342 million passengers (double counted), indicating an increase of 8.9 million tons or 30.9 percent in carried freight and of 37.8 million people or 12.4percent in carried passengers’ number, compared to the previous year.

About works to be done in UB
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 16 (MONTSAME) In 2015, works will be performed in the capital city with money of totaling MNT 219 billion and 50.4 million in frames of the 2013-2016 action plan of the UB Mayor and the 2015 socio-economic goals.
The money of MNT 149 billion and 501.7 million is allotted from the city’s budget, MNT 30 billion and 944.2 million--from the city’s road fund, and MNT 38 billion and 604.5 million--from the fund for local development. In addition, money of MNT 164 billion will be given from the state budget for the works to be done in Ulaanbaatar.
The investment from the various resources will be spent for many works such as drawing up designs of new buildings, auto-roads, engineering pipelines, freeing lands, working out a master plan, constructing new apartments and renovating pipelines.
Moreover, the money will finance those projects that have not been finished yet and the repayment of some projects and measures being implemented with local concession.

Auto trade complex to open in March
January 16 ( In order to reduce traffic congestion in UB, it has been decided to resettle open-air markets operating in the capital. Auto markets are now being relocated and a project to build an auto trade complex started in March last year.
The first stage of the complex was supposed to be launched in October 2014 but work on the complex was postponed. The first stage of the project is almost 80 percent complete, and the Administration Office of Ulaanbaatar is planning to launch business at the auto trade complex starting in March this year. 
The construction of the complex will be ready for 100 percent utilization in June 2015.

Procedure for ordering passports now easier
January 16 ( Previously, in order to get Mongolian passports for foreign travel, applicants faced several stages and long procedures for filing applications, paying fees, invalidating previous passports, and more. Now the process is being changed and Mongolian citizens are able to receive foreign passports without any long procedures and in a very easy way.
Applicants can now pay fees for foreign passports at any commercial bank in Mongolia, and at the Registration Office, only a fingerprint is required to receive a foreign passport.
Applicants can also use the postal service to have passports delivered to their offices or homes. Delivery of a foreign passport to any destination in UB will cost 3,500 MNT.
Last year, more than 3,000 citizens used this service.

“Mongol Bankhar” Dog Show 2015 Takes Place This Saturday
January 16 ( The “Arslan” Kynological Club is organizing this year’s first winter gathering among dog breeders and animal lovers that will be hosted under “Mongol Bankhar” Dog Show starting from 11:00 am at the hippodrome locates in Yarmag area, UB on January 17, 2015.
This year’s edition will be focusing and considering the Mongol Bankhar or Mongol breed dog’s standard by evaluating the dog’s Pedigree, Balance (overall appropriate proportions in size), Weight, Size, Eyes (color, size, shape), Ears (shape, length, position), Head (shape), Muzzle (shape, length), Whiskers (thickness), Teeth (kind of bite, e.g. level or scissors bites), Tail (how it arches and sets, e.g. how high or low), Shoulders (bone, muscle), Legs (muscles, stance, proportionality), Coat (texture, length), and Color (accepted breed colors).
Moreover, certificates will be given in following four nominations:
1. The tallest bankhar
2. The heaviest bankhar
3. The most hairy bankhar
4. Bankhar with heaviest bones (dog perimeters including the chest girth and shin circumference, paw width and etc.)
The event is aimed to protect, promote and breed Mongol stock dogs that are considered as nearly endangered species.

Minister of Agriculture at Global Forum in Germany
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 16 (MONTSAME) A delegation headed by Ms R.Burmaa MP, the Minister of Food and Agriculture has participated opening ceremonies of the International Green Week in Berlin and the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture 2015 running in Germany.
The 2015 Global Forum for Food and Agriculture has brought together Ministers and Vice Ministers of Agriculture of some 70 countries, whereas the International Green Week exhibition attracted some 1,600 entities and companies showing their products.
On Thursday, the Minister met with her counterpart of Latvia Janis Duklavs, this year’s partner of the fair. They discussed the Mongolia-Latvia cooperation in the agricultural sphere and concurred to establish a memorandum on launching a permanent mechanism for the cooperation.
The same day, Ms Burmaa met with Ms Maria Flachsbarth, the Parliamentary State Secretary of the Germany’s Ministry of Food and Agriculture, discussing a course of the “Sustainable land farming” project, the bilateral cooperation in the agricultural sector and further tendency.

External Trade Reaches USD 11.0 Billion
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 16 (MONTSAME) Total external trade turnover of Mongolia reached USD 11.0 billion, of which USD 5,774.6 million was made up by exports, whereas MNT 5,236.6 million by imports in 2014 after trading with 139 countries.
Total external trade turnover increased by USD 384.3 million or 3.6%; the exports rose by USD 1,505.5 million or 35.3% and imports declined by USD 1,121.2 million or 17.6% against 2013.
External trade balance showed a deficit of USD 2.1 billion in 2013, while it was in a surplus of USD 537.9 million in 2014.

Agriculture in Statistics
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 16 (MONTSAME) In 2014, Mongolia harvested 518.8 thousand tons of cereals, 161.5 thousand tons of potatoes, 104.8 thousand tons of vegetables.
In addition, 1,178.7 thousand tons of hay harvest, 40.3 thousand tons of handmade fodder were produced. The harvesting of vegetables rose by 3.0 thousand tons or 3.0%, hand-made fodder-- by 3.7 thousand tons or 10.0%, hay harvest--by 9.4 thousand tons or 0.8%, cereals--by 131.7 thousand tons or 34.0%, whereas harvesting of potatoes decreased by 30.1 thousand tons or 15.7% against 2013.

Construction and Repair Works
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 16 (MONTSAME) Construction and capital repair works were made at a national level in 2014 with total of MNT 2,146.8 billion.
The works of MNT 2,013.4 billion or 93.8% of them were performed by domestic entities, whereas works of MNT 133.4 billion or 6.2% by foreign entities. The increase of the construction and capital repair by MNT 300.9 billion or 16.3% against 2013 was mainly due to the MNT 293.9 billion or 17.1% increase in works executed by domestic entities.

Stock Exchange News for January 16
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 16 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades on Friday, a total of 14 thousand and 305 units of 14 JSCs were traded costing MNT 10 million 803 thousand and 430.
"Moninjbar” /8,036 units/, “Merex” /3,446 units/, “Mongol makh expo” /1,456 units/, “Genco tour bureau” /550 units/ and "Makh impex” /283 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value were "Mongolia makh expo” (MNT four million 149 thousand and 600), "Moninjbar” (MNT one million 687 thousand and 884), “Talkh chikher” (MNT one million 646 thousand and 500), “Makh impex” (MNT one million 004 thousand and 650) and "Gutal” (MNT 959 thousand and 500).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 412 billion 346 million 991 thousand and 870. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 14,608.25, decreasing 3.06 units or 0.02% against the previous day.

Stock Exchange Weekly Review
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 16 (MONTSAME) Five stock trades were held at Mongolia's Stock Exchange January 12-16 of 2015. In overall, 231 thousand and 258 shares were sold of 44 joint-stock companies totalling MNT 12 billion 654 million 532 thousand and 868.00.
"Khokh gan” /25 thousand and 588 units/, "Remikon” /23 thousand and 532 units/, "Binse HK” /15 thousand and 600 units/, "Genco tour bureau” /8,319 units/ and "Moninjbar” /8,246 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value--"Binse HK” (MNT 12 million and 324 thousand, "APU” (MNT nine million 029 thousand and 520), "Tavantolgoi” /MNT seven million 510 thousand and 174/, "Darkhan khuns” /MNT four million and 850 thousand/ and "Mongol makh expo” (MNT four million 799 thousand and 600).

Character becomes destiny
By D. Jargalsaikhan
January 18 (UB Post) This is the last of the three articles I have written using the notes  I took during my interview with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama in Delhi, about three weeks ago. The first article talked about the great spiritual transition taking place in Mongolia’s society, whereas the second one was about happiness and the values of life. This time, it is a summary of the Dalai Lama’s teachings on how one’s destiny depends on his character.
Some nations have a saying that goes, “Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” It seems that the Dalai Lama’s thoughts are reflected in this “thought-word-action-habit-character-destiny” logical sequence.
On Dorje Shugden, the Dalai Lama said, “Among the spirits, Shugden is a very controversial one. The concept, which started during the 5th Dalai Lama’s era, has been around for the last 400 years. According to the 5th Dalai Lama, a Lama named Tyabu Danzan became Shugden, an evil spirit, after making the wrong prayers. The 5th Dalai Lama said that the spirit is very harmful.”
You have said that it was caused by the wrong prayers. Does this mean that, if one says the wrong prayers, it can bring harm to the person praying?
Yes. For example, if you have accomplished good deeds, and pray that you are now to become a holy and kind soul, it is wrong. Such prayers are very harmful. At one time, I myself worshipped that spirit, due to my ignorance. By doing so, I, the 14th Dalai Lama, disgraced the previous Dalai Lamas. The 5th Dalai Lama warned specifically about such prayers and this spirit being very harmful. The 13th Dalai Lama also put a lot of restrictions on such prayers. My junior tutor fought this spirit very much.  But he treated it as a servant and as a friend, like a protector. So I also followed him. But my senior tutor was quite suspicious of this spirit. He always remained distant. So, from 1951 to 1970, I worshipped that spirit and then gradually developed some suspicion as well. Then I did thorough research on the history of the last 400 years and it became very clear that this is a very harmful prayer.
Another thing is, the First Dalai Lama, the 5thDalai Lama, and the 13th Dalai Lama also worshipped in a more non-sectarian way. Many well-known great spiritual teachers were also non-sectarian. There were some individual sectarian teachers as well. This also suggests the extent of the worship of this spirit today. Once you worship this spirit, you should not keep any of your own traditions. If you keep them, this will bring you harm. So this is very bad for the promotion of non-sectarian religion. There were too many sects in the past in Tibet and, sometimes, it would lead to small-scale conflict and fighting within the religion; like Shia-Sunni mini fighting. Tibetans sometimes also fought because of extreme sectarian religion, which was extremely wrong. Gelu, Nemu, Saja, and Guhju are all followers of the Nalahru tradition; they all are followers of Buddha. Therefore, this spirit is very harmful to a non-sectarian way of worship.
In Mongolia, people try to stand out and show off their material wealth rather than being humble. Humility is not that big of a trend. But, it looks like Tibetan lamas and Indian people are very humble people. How important is modesty?
Very important. Modesty is essential for everyone. When I meet people, I try to approach them as one of the seven billion human beings dwelling on the planet earth, rather than the Dalai Lama. You see, that attitude brings us much closer. I consider people my brothers and sisters and I hope they also consider me as the same. On that level, we are no different from each other. If I emphasize that I am special and I am the Dalai Lama, then I, myself, will become more isolated
How do you manage to keep such an attitude when thousands of people are praying to you because you are the Dalai Lama?  How do you see yourself as just an ordinary person?
The Dalai Lama is also a human being. So, we must always go to a fundamental level. The seven billion human beings on Earth are the same. However, there are a lot of differences at a secondary level: different races, different faiths, and being rich and poor. The three million people in Mongolia are also the same, regardless of whether they are religious or not. Buddhist, Christian, Muslim or not, rich or poor, and intelligent or humble. There are a lot of differences. Therefore, you should go to the fundamental level and look for the similarity we all share. We should remember that regardless of our race, religion, and beliefs, we are all intelligent human beings. The compassionate mind is on the level of humanity. If we go to a deeper level, a human level, then there are no boundaries and no differences among us.  All seven billion human beings are all the same. So, we need everyone to have a sense of oneness and unity, which I always emphasize. I am only one of those human beings. This thought has helped me relate to others and become closer to them. If I put too much emphasis on being a Dalai Lama who should only remain on his holy throne, then I become a lonely person. [laughs] 
Your Holiness, what is your opinion on education for all ages? I always read in your interviews that you are always concerned about education and knowledge. Education is not only for children, but also for people of all ages. Please tell us what you think about this.
I think that education means gaining deeper knowledge. In the 13th century, a Tibetan Gerhd Master said that humans learn continuously throughout their lives, until their very last day.
Does education mean enlightenment? How does one achieve enlightenment? Are education and enlightenment different?
Enlightenment can be interpreted in many ways. Of course, the better education one has, the more enlightened he is. We can say that. You can also say that scientists are more enlightened. On a spiritual level, we can say the Buddha is an enlightened person. Enlightenment is knowledge at a very deep level.
Buddhism is taught to Tibetan people in the Tibetan language. Tibetan people learn Buddhism in their own language, which is not the case in Mongolia. Ordinary people don’t understand Tibetan. Do you think that it is better for Buddhism to be taught in Mongolian to Mongolian people?
Yes, the language barrier. I think that it is better to translate the Buddhist teachings into Mongolian. For more than fifteen years, we have been working on Ganjuur Tenjuur’s more than three hundred volumes. We categorized it in three parts, upon their basis: science, philosophy, and religion. Science is common and universal. Ganjuur Tenjuur has a lot of explanations about our mind and about our body. So, we already have one textbook, which is the first part on science, with full cooperation from some scientists and some educators.
We are now working on developing a draft curriculum, which can fit in the secular education field. In America, some scientists have already been carrying out experimental projects with very good results for the last 10 years. Today, Tibetan refugee schools in India are teaching lessons about Buddhist science. As Mongolia is a Buddhist country, you could easily adopt such academic teachings. Regardless of whether the student is a believer or a non-believer, Buddhism, as a secular subject, can be taught universally. It can be taught to develop inner peace. It will also make people understand that the destruction of inner peace is not an external force, but your own destructive emotion. So in order to tackle this destructive emotion, one should have better knowledge about the nature of different kinds of emotions. Then you can deal more effectively with negative emotions. This is not something for the next life, or for Nirvana. It is simply about how to maintain a healthy body, a healthy mind, a happy family, and a happy humanity.
My last question, your Holiness, is what would be your message to Mongolians?
I always say to the Tibetan Buddhists, Chinese Buddhists, Japanese Buddhists, Korean Buddhists, Mongolian Buddhists, and so on, that we should be 21st century Buddhists. This means that we should carry the Buddhist faith with fuller knowledge of the whole system, not just blind faith. Traditionally, many people just had blind faith. Not necessarily Buddhism, just faith. I think that this is out-dated. Therefore, in the 21st century, we should always be studying, learning, and developing our knowledge. As the Dalai Lama, this is what I would like to tell my Mongolian brothers and sisters. The word “Dalai” is a Mongolian word. When I am asked about the meaning of the word “Dalai”, I always say that it is a Mongolian word.
Trans. by B.AMAR

Yokozuna Harumafuji falls
By B. Dulguun
January 18 (UB Post) Mongolian Yokozuna (Grand Champion) Harumafuji D.Byambadorj received a shocking flung over the edge of the ring by No. 4 Maegashira Jokoryu, losing his lead to Hakuho M.Davaajargal, on Saturday, the seventh day of the Hatsu Basho Sumo Tournament. The top division professional sumo tournament of January is taking place at the Ryougoku Sumo Hall, Tokyo.
Mongolian Yokozuna Hakuho M.Davaajargal plopped Komusubi Takayasu out of the ring, becoming the only unbeaten sumo in the first week of the 15-day tournament. Another top ranked sumo wrestler of Mongolia, Yokozuna Kakuryu, who already lost twice, proved that he’s worthy of his title by thrusting Maegashira No. 3 Endo to the ground. Mongolian sumo wrestler Sekiwake Ichinojo, on the other hand, was pushed out of the ring by Ozeki Kisenosato, who’s holding firm with only one loss so far.
The first week wrapped up with Hakuho’s strong performance of seven wins, but Yokozuna Harumafuji, Ozeki Kisenosato, and No. 6 Maegashira Okinoumi are on his tail with six wins and one loss.
Results of Mongolian sumo wrestlers on Day 7
Yokozuna Hakuho M.Davaadorj 7-0
Yokozuna Harumafuji D.Byambadorj 6-1
Yokozuna Kakuryu M.Anand 5-2
Sekiwake Ichinojo A.Ichinnorov 3-4
М-2 Terunofuji G.Gan-Erdene 3-4
М-7 Kyokutenho N.Tsevegnyam3-4
М-9 Tamavashi B. Munkh-Orgil 4-3
М-12 KyokushuhoT.Erdenebaatar5-2
M-13 Aravashi E.Dulguun 3-4
M-13 Tokitenku A.Huchitbaatar5-2
Asasekiryu B.Dashnyam1-6

Russian artist creates Mongolian traditional clothing with paper
By B. Tungalag
January 18 (UB Post) Russian artist Asya Kozina crafts all kinds of beautifully elaborate works. Her collection of Mongolian costumes was inspired by the artist’s fascination with the idea that ethnic wedding dresses are a dying tradition, often only found in photographs.
The exhibition titled “Kuklyandiya: People and Dolls” launched in Surgut Art Museum in Russia on May 2014. Outstanding artists and craftsmen, permanent members of international organizations, as well as character designers displayed their artwork at the exhibition.
Kozina’s Mongolian traditional costumes made of paper were presented at the exhibition won special attention from the audiences.
Kozina, who lives in St. Petersburg, fell in love with paper art during her childhood.
“Mongolian traditional costume is very fancy and has a rich culture. I respect and love Mongolian tradition and culture. I was a little nervous about whether Mongolians would like my paper works. But Mongolian audiences loved it,” she said.
Kozina said it takes a month to make one costume.
Kozina was born in 1984 in Ukraine, Dnepropetrovsk region. She was fascinated by paper art since childhood and her first creations were made in the paper cutting technique.
Kozina’s first exhibition “The delight of white” took place in 2007.
The artist presented a series of paper sculptures devoted to historic costumes. Her works are distinguished by a combination of jewelry, elaboration of details, and wholeness. In her motherland, in Ukraine, Kozina is called “A fairy of paper”.
In 2013, Kozina presented her new series “From scratch”.

N.Zoljargal: The economy doesn’t need to shrink
January 18 (UB Post) The following is an interview with Governor of Mongolbank (Central Bank of Mongolia) N.Zoljargal, highlighting timely issues.
If the debt ceiling isn’t raised to 70 percent of GDP, how high will inflation rate go?
 Quite a ruckus was made regarding the debt ceiling at the parliamentary meeting. According to the law, the debt ceiling should be at 40 percent (of GDP) but now, it’s at 53 percent. Last Friday, a proposal to raise it to 70 percent was submitted and was rejected. The specified percentage in the law has already been violated because the foreign exchange (FX) inflow has subsided, causing significant changes. Debt ceiling will directly be influenced if Mongolia’s foreign exchange inflow improves.
If it’s really impossible to raise the debt ceiling, the guarantee of government loans, available for businesses, will equal to zero. FX inflow will have to become limited to some extent if the government can’t provide currency support or guarantees to businesses, or get loans from foreign countries. The debt ceiling amount becomes an important factor for making decisions for Mongolbank.
How will increasing the policy interest rate by one percent influence MNT against USD exchange rate?
Since the new year, exchange rate has increased by two percent. This is very different from our expectation. High prices of parts and equipment of the mining sector shows that this sector will have positive improvements. FX inflow hasn’t improved as much as we’ve anticipated. December brought good news to currency reserves. This provides opportunities to influence the currency policy.
Mongolbank inflated the policy interest rate to 13 percent. How will the economy benefit from this?
Macro calculations have been done in detail. According to the Currency Exchange Fund, the Mongolian economy is estimated to grow by five percent. For instance, we’ve accounted possible risks and opportunities if foreign direct investment jumps by a billion USD or by two billion USD. From practices in 2010, FX inflow exceeding expectation of a billion USD offset exchange rate by 100 MNT. It doesn’t necessarily mean the economy will shrink. It can be said that the economy can recover its opportunities to expand from FX inflow as long as the macro balance is kept and the FX inflow is increasing.
The government has been discussing the difficult economic conditions several times. The economic growth that reached 17 percent in 2011 slowed to 13 percent in 2014 and now, it has slumped to 5.4 percent. Economists believe that an economy suitable for real economic circumstances is being formed. Improved FX inflow will become the foundation to a long-term economic growth. Policy decisions were made based on actual situations. We’re ready to modify our decisions if we see positive changes.
If there isn’t any FX inflow, how will Mongolbank preserve its currency reserve? What’s your prospect for the Mongolian economy by the end of 2015?
This year, Mongolia will invest its foreign direct investment to Oyu Tolgoi and recreate the Mongolian economy of 2008. The economy in 2008 was three times smaller than its current size with only seven trillion MNT. Currently, Mongolia has an economy worth 21 trillion MNT. It’s difficult to grow the current economy with its current FX inflow. Foreign direct investment is at the top of our “to do” list.
Last year, Mongolian exportation amount increased. Crude oil, gold, and copper exports have increased while iron ore and coal exports are still lagging. This indicates that Mongolia has potential reserves and resources. Foreign direct investment doesn’t recover easily. There are tons of works and projects that need to be done. The government has to pay attention to these projects urgently.
Parliament is planning to cut over 900 billion MNT from state revenue and expenditure. How consistent will this be to the budget and monetary policies? Mongolbank is also making changes in the policy interest rate, right?
Superficial understanding is spreading around, such as the monetary policy can be weak since the budget is being cut. The factor that actually influences the monetary policy is the budget deficit, not the total budget amount. Compared to 2014, the planning for budget revenue and expenditure is expected to increase by 18 percent in 2015. Everyone knows that this doesn’t happen in reality. In the past two years, budget was cut by a trillion MNT – deficit from overdue loans of banks and construction companies. It’s good that money that will not return anyway is accounted as “gone money”.  The revenue and expenditure gap, or deficit, is still very big. This means that the gap will be fixed from domestic financial markets, which will result in drawbacks on the domestic financial sector and the development of the banking sector. Budget deficit has to be calculated in policy measures.
Cutting 900 billion MNT from both the budget revenue and expenditure is a healthy remedy. Still, the budget deficit is the vital part of policy decisions. The year-end equilibrated budget deficit became 3.7 percent (of GDP). This figure will become nearly seven percent in the coming year when the Development Bank is included.
Mongolia has accumulated many unfinished buildings over the years by estimating over exaggerated revenue and ordering many building for construction which are later financed with bank loans. At the end of the year, the buildings don’t receive money from the government and  is never completed. Budget revenue never reaches the estimated balance and expenses become unable to cover. Banks are pointing out that overdue loans are increasing risks because this ineffective practice has continued for several years, increasing deficit to a trillion MNT.
The fact that Parliament is bringing investment budget to a realistic level is making it easier to reduce loans of potential risks.
Didn’t cutting the budget revenue and expenditure by nearly a trillion MNT double the deficit, making it four percent of GDP?
High budget deficit is bad for macro economy. The deficit has become one of the reasons to increase the policy interest rate. Low budget deficit increases spaces in the economy for private sectors to operate.
Will commercial banks pursue policies to tighten its loans and increase the interest rate?
Policy interest rate plays a key role in estimating loan interest rates. When the policy interest rate was 13.25 percent in 2012, inflation was at 14 percent and loan interest rate at 18 percent. Increasing policy interest rate effects loan risks rather than directly influencing loan interest rates. If you see it from this perspective, loan interest rates don’t necessarily have to increase if FX inflow, risks forming in the economy, increases. Events in the first half of the year have the most influence.
Exactly how much currency reserve does Mongolbank have?
At the end of 2014, the currency reserve of Mongolia was 1.6 billionUSD, which is equivalent to 4.9 months of Mongolia’s import needs. According to the Currency Exchange Fund standards, the economy will not face potential risks as long as it has sufficient currency reserves for 2.8 months, approximately 12 weeks. We believe that the macro economy of Mongolia will not face any risks in the near future. If FX inflow continues to increase, it will contribute considerably to the economic growth of Mongolia.
Will the price stabilization program and housing loans with eight percent interest rate continue?
Parliament has directed specific guidelines to gradually reduce price stabilization programs, issued mortgage loans with eight percent interest rate in the economy, and loans supporting the construction sector. The program was initially specified to be active for three years and it’s being executed accordingly.
The main difficulty is linked it to the fact that nine out of 10 USD coming into Mongolia is being spent on mining. Four out of these nine USD have disappeared. If we don’t change our structure that is dependent on one sector, the cycle will repeat. Even if we overcome this period, everything will repeat four to five years later. What we need to do is to make internal structural reforms. The government and Mongolbank have concluded that it’s better to focus on loans aimed at savings, and plan the state budgets properly without a high deficit.
Will the interest rate of mortgage loans change?
Currently, 1.1 trillion MNT was issued for eight percent interest loans. Before the New Year, demand for the eight percent interest loan decreased by three folds. Since the demand has declined, capital sources aren’t being repaid and instead, given to banks. Mongolbank discussed the issue to reduce interest rates to seven or nine at the previous monetary policy committee meeting. We concluded that the interest rate doesn’t need to be changed as the eight percent loan was the most suitable action to boost savings. Increasing it to nine or 8.5 percent interest will overpressure the people by 20 to 30 billion MNT. Mongolbank will continue issuing eight percent interest loans. 

Pedestrians, drivers, and passengers at risk on Mongolia’s roads
By M. Zoljargal
January 18 (UB Post) Since January 1, 2015, six people have died and 155 more were injured in traffic accidents. Four of the fatalities were adults and two were young children. A collision over the weekend resulted in two deaths and many more injured. Drivers and transportation companies are being held accountable and warned of the risk of unsafe driving.
Collision in Nalaikh leaves two dead and more injured
A vehicle collision was reported early on Saturday near Uliastai, where two people were killed and about ten more were injured. The victims of the accident are currently hospitalized at the National Trauma and Orthopedic Research Center.
A microbus filled with passengers and a ZIL-130 truck reportedly collided while one vehicle was trying to overtake the other at an excessive speed at around 9:00 a.m., although final results of the Traffic Police investigation are not complete.
The road was temporarily closed for investigation following the incident and reopened a few hours later at 2:00 p.m.
Officials of the Traffic Police Department, National Institute of Forensic Science, and Ulaanbaatar Emergency Management Agency worked at the scene to determine the exact cause of the collision.
Bus driver sentenced to nine years in prison for deadly crash
A bus driver who was responsible for a crash resulting in the deaths of six passengers last summer was sentenced to nine years in a maximum security prison last week.
District Primary Criminal Court No.2 issued the sentence based on Mongolian Criminal Code’s Clause No.215, which states that citizens who cause the deaths of two or more people due to violations of traffic regulations shall be sentenced to five to ten years in prison and a five-year ban from driving.
The long-distance bus the driver was driving from Baruun-Urt to Ulaanbaatar skidded off the road and flipped over four to five times, leaving six people dead and 43 injured on June 22. The crash occurred three kilometers from Tsonjin Boldog in Erdene soum of Tuv Province.
The bus belonged to Daichin Sukh LLC and the crash caused 36.4 million MNT in damages to the company.
Pedestrian safety a serious concern
The Traffic Police Department (TPD) has received a total of 3,155 traffic accident reports so far this year. Before the Nalaikh accident, one pedestrian was hit by a car while jaywalking in Yarmag. The victim died on impact.
In 2014, 20 people died while crossing roads in Yarmag and Nisekh, where more traffic accidents are reported compared to other areas of the city. The roads in these areas are rarely congested, so it is common for drivers to exceed speed limits and run red lights, which results in many accidents, reported TPD Major L.Amarjargal.
“Pedestrians get involved in traffic accidents and injure themselves by running across roads while cars are approaching, or just simply jaywalk very often. We advise all residents taking part in road traffic to follow traffic regulations and respect each other to stay out of accidents,” added L.Amarjargal.

Domestic flour producers calls for wheat import
By Ch. Khaliun
January 18 (UB Post) On Friday, members of the Mongolian Association of Flour Producers made a statement to the press, announcing the necessity for wheat import from Russia, as domestically harvested wheat doesn’t meet flour standards.
Chairman of the Mongolian Association of Flour Producers Ch.Enkhbayar said that the harvest was sufficient this year, but the quality was poor. He said, “There are various types of flour, like white, brown, grained, or fine. If we mix other Russian-grade wheat with domestic wheat, we will be able to produce high-quality gluten flour. There is demand for flour with high gluten content, so we need to import 20,000 tons of wheat in the near future.”
Ch.Enkhbayar added that by importing wheat from Russia, the quality of flour will be advanced, meeting consumer demands.
The capacity of flour producers is three times greater than the demand, and the head of the association said that the export quota of flour and by-products should be open. Enkhbayar said, “Domestic and foreign needs should be correctly determined and supported through policy to keep the balance.”
Association member Z.Khurelbaatar said that flour producers have been fulfilling their duties according to the agreements of the price stabilization program. He said, “We don’t purchase wheat with cash, we use our collateral and take loans. This year, Mongol Bank and the Ministry of Agriculture implemented a new system with voucher loans, and the wheat became a loan itself, so farmers are receiving their pay immediately.”
Z.Khurelbaatar highlighted that flour producers are not using those monies, reducing foreign currency flow.
Association member Ts.Otgonbaatar said that domestic flour’s appearance has improved when compared to Russian flour, and that the technology of flour production in Mongolia meets global standards. Otgonbaatar added that the factories have the capacity to produce 2,000 tons of flour daily, but only 1,000 tons is being used domestically.
“We could import wheat from Russian and produce flour, and produce animal feed with the remaining material for export to China,” said Ts.Otgonbaatar.
Association member J.Chinzorig said that if the taxes will be increased, then the price of flour will increase as well. Currently, the price of wheat exported by Russia is 200 USD per ton of flour, and the price will reach 256 USD per ton by February 1.
Chinzorig said, “We will have a shortage of wheat this year. We need to import wheat from Russia, as it is now cheaper.”

Female parliamentarians visit maternity hospitals
By E. Oyundari
January 18 (UB Post) Female Members of Parliament L.Erdenechimeg, Z.Bayanselenge, and D.Sarangerel visited Maternity Hospitals No. 2 and No.3 last Friday, in regards to receiving the three millionth citizen of Mongolia.
Maternity Hospital No.3, located in Bayanzurkh District (with 300,000 residents), has 45 beds and employs 32 doctors and 118 staff. The hospital is operating over capacity, therefore, numerous risky conditions have been created, said the hospital’s director during the female parliamentarian’s visit. He added that in 2015, the budget for drugs and medical supplies and equipment was cut, which has caused problems.
Mongolia is expected to receive its three millionth citizen in ten days. The government has issued resolutions and decrees to celebrate that day. “Keeping up sufficient operations of the maternity hospital in such understaffed and unpleasant conditions is the great work of you, obstetricians, nurses, and other staff of the hospital. We will work on increasing the budget for medical supplies and equipment expenses,” pointed out MP L.Erdenechimeg.
Female MPs also stated that even though the government is implementing policies to increase the population and support the birth of the three millionth citizen, it is not making any investments in the maternity hospitals which will receive the newborns, therefore they will keep working on drawing the government’s attention to the issue.
Afterwards, female MPs were introduced to the operations of the Second Maternity Hospital. The hospital has a standard of one doctor serving 100 patients a year, however, as of 2014, one doctor served 627 patients, stressed hospital Director B.Oyunkhand.
Professional organizations have issued several warnings about the building’s longevity having expired and it being unequipped to meet current demands, said B.Oyunkhand, and asked the female parliamentarians to pay attention to this issue and find solutions as soon as possible.

Salary and pensions to be increased by 10 percent
By E. Oyundari
January 18 (UB Post) In 2014, the government dedicated 250 billion MNT for pension and salary increases for state employees. The decision was officially made on January 15 to increase salary and pensions by 10 percent, following the results of a three-party municipal labor concession agreement, the Agreement of Labor and Society, made between the Labor Ministry, Mongolian Trade Union, and Joint Union of Employers.
Accordingly, a total of 103 billion MNT will be additionally allotted for the increase in the 2015-2016 state budget. Ninety billion MNT will be spent on salary increases for civil servants and 13 billion MNT will be devoted to pension and allowance increases. A discussion regarding when to increase the salaries and pensions, as well as which departments will first see the increases, will be held after the approval of 2015 budget amendments.
The agreement also includes the decision to exempt the payment of personal income tax for those earning minimum wage to increase the real income of taxpayers. The minimum monthly wage in Mongolia is 192,500 MNT, which means that approximately 12,000 MNT will not be withdrawn from minimum wage salaries each month.
The three-party labor talks also resulted in the agreement that when private sector businesses are about to make a decision to liquidate, file for bankruptcy, or carry out job cuts, an employer should discuss the decision in advance with employee protection agencies and take measures to save jobs.
Critics question how the salary and pension increases will be funded when the state budget is in crisis. According to MP Ch.Khurelbaatar, the government estimates it will be able to finance the expenses by imposing a tax on imported oil products and increasing the excise tax amount. However, a decision on these tax changes has not been finalized yet.
Labor representatives say there is an urgent need to increase salaries and pensions, as salary increases are not catching up with inflation rate increases. According to a survey by Mongol Bank, 1.2 million people are working in the industrial sector and 35 percent of them took out salary loans of 1.2 trillion MNT. Some sixty-five percent of pensioners have taken out pension loans.


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