Saturday, February 7, 2015

Mongolia Brief January 30, 2015



Tsagaan attends Mega Project Development Forum
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, January 30 (MONTSAME) Chief of Staff of the President’s Office P.Tsagaan attended and delivered his remarks at the Mega Project Development Forum which took place at the Blue Sky Tower on January 29.

In his remarks, Chief of Staff P.Tsagaan noted: “Government of Mongolia appointed for the first time the Minister of Mongolia who is responsible for infrastructure and mega-projects. This testifies that the Government of Mongolia and the political parties that have seats in the Parliament understood the importance and need of focus on implementing mega-projects. I appreciate the Government for organizing the Mega Project Development Forum jointly with the SMBC Corporation.
I would like to appreciate you for organizing the first Mega Project Development Forum and wish success in your further work”.
Related:
Mega Project Development Forum heldUB Post, January 30

Minister of Environment meets US ambassador
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, January 30 (MONTSAME) Minister of Environment, Green Development and Tourism D.Oyunkhorol received Thursday the Ambassador of the USA to Mongolia Ms Piper Anne Campbell. The latter noted that Embassy is to focus on water issues in 2015 in frames of the Second Millennium Challenge Account project being implemented under the support of the US government.
The Minister Oyunkhorol said that the Government plans to take many actions in a short period of time. The Ministry faces with many issues that need to be settled, for example, reducing greenhouse gas, nurturing the planted trees, increase their numbers, reducing the air and soil pollution of Ulaanbaatar. She also noted that the Ministry should promote with policy the voluntary unions formed to preserve the environment, because the environment protection must be conducted with citizens’ involvement and state support. “The Ministry will, therefore, work for forming the most efficient system of environment protection” she said. The changes must help reduce the unemployment rate in the localities, and the remediation of the environment in after mining activities should be refined, she added.
Ms Oyunkhorol said that Mongolia will attend the ITB Berlin exhibition to be held in March with focus of the landmark-based tourism, and asked the ambassador to collaborate on this.
In response, Ms Campbell promised to study the cooperation opportunities in the proposed fields, and informed that the US embassy in Ulaanbaatar is implementing a project on protecting cultural and historic monuments that are encountered in the travel destinations.
The dignitaries agreed to hold a meeting once again to discuss the prior directions of cooperation.

Parliament approves establishing diplomatic relations with another eight countries
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, January 30 (MONTSAME) The majority of the parliament members attended the plenary meeting of Friday approved establishing diplomatic relations with UN member state, Uganda, Rwanda, Micronesia, Haiti, Kiribati, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, and Mauritius.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Purevsuren made the introduction of draft resolution on establishing diplomatic relations with the above countries. Conclusions by the Standing committee on Security and Foreign policy were presented by L.Bold MP.
The Government intends to establish diplomatic ties with another ten UN member states this year, in a scope of the objective to form diplomatic relations with all members of the United Nations.

Ethics council for journalists established
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 30 (MONTSAME) Prior to holding a session of founding the Press Council of Mongolia (PCM), a meeting has been held to establish the Ethics Council for Journalists NGO, and it approved the council’s charter.
At the meetings of the PCM’s branches of newspaper, radio and local media, members of the Council’s Board and Ethics Council were elected, and it was approved on Wednesday at the session of the PCM. Accordingly the Council’s Board has 15 members, and the Ethics Council has 30 members divided into two committees.
An executive director of the Mongol TV channel Ch.Nomin was selected as the PCM’s Board; a legal advisor to the Daily Newspaper Sh.Sukhbaatar--as a chair of the Ethics Committee of Printing and Online Media; and a teacher of the Mongolian State University of Education Dr J.Batbaatar--as a chair of the Ethics Committee of Broadcasting.
A general manager of the Government News S.Batbaatar underlined an importance of the PCM’s establishment, saying that it is an historical event.
“The PCM’s key importance is to ensure a formation of ethics at the journalism sector which provides the public with receive information, and it will help journalists prevent go to trial,” said U.Tamir, head of the Developmental Forum for Information and Communication Potential NGO. According to a survey, 297 civil cases and 16 criminal cases were resolved by the court against journalists between 1999 and 2011.
The PCM’s main objectives are to protect the media freedom, reputation of the media and the interests of journalists and to ensure the ethics of journalists and professional norms with an aim to form the responsible journalism in Mongolia. 

Mega Project Development Forum held
By B. Erdenechimeg
January 30 (gogo.mn) Mongolia is starting to promote its mega projects and yesterday Mega Project Development Forum was organized at Blue Sky Tower.
Minster of State M.Enkhsaikhan made speech with his presentation on Mega Projects in Mongolia: Challenges and Opportunities. He is leading the Government working group to negotiate with the Tavantolgoi investors. Before, he was leading Tavantolgoi Power Plant project as well.
Next presenter was the representative of Sumitomo Mitsui Bank speaking on Project Financing and Public and Private Partnership. D.Odkhuu, Director of Egiin River Hydro Power Plant Project unit made introductions on the project that needs USD 827.6 million investments.
The forum was co-organized by Mega Project Development Institute NGO and Government of Mongolia.

Gandan Monastery holds prayer sessions for babies and children
By D. Tuguldur
January 30 (gogo.mn) Ministry of Population Development and Social Welfare and Gandan Monastery are organizing prayer sessions for the babies and children of Mongolia in the view of welcoming of the 3 millionth citizen recently and her contemporaries.
The event was attended by Minister S.Erdene, State Secretary B.Otgonjargal and I.Narantuya, Director of Center for Children.
Khamba Lama D.Choijamts emphasized that the prayers session is being held in order to protect the newborns and children from bad and wishing good in their lives. (Mongolians are very careful and superstitious with announcing and introducing newborn babies to the relatives and Mongolians traditionally wait for over a month to visit newborn in respect of parents and newborn babies. It is believed that within month newborn is still vulnerable.)
Gandan Monastery monks are to hold prayer sessions for three days.

President is to gift 3 millionth citizens with bootikin bells
By E. Orgil
January 30 (gogo.mn) President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj is to gift 3 millionth citizens with bootikin bells in view of the pleasant news delivered recently and has ordered the bells to the masters. Bootikin bells are believed to distract the bad spirits and also have a practical use of hearing where the baby is and activities.
181 new citizens were born on the same day and 29 of them were announced as contemporaries to the 3 millionth citizen. State is to honor its 3 millionths citizen with an apartment worth of MNT 70 million.
Local governors also have identified its 3 millionth citizen contemporaries and the Government of Mongolia has approved the Aimag Governors to honor their 3 millionth citizen contemporaries with incentive up to MNT 70 million.
Parents of Kh.Mongoljin, honored 3 millionth citizen, have registered their baby with State Registration and received her birth certificate yesterday.

None of MPs came on time to Plenary Session
By U. Badamtsetseg
(gogo.mn) (Ulaanbaatar) Jan 30, Glass Account Law of Mongolia is now affecting the attendance of the MPs and the Parliament Office is informing the public on the attendance of MPs to the Plenary sessions.
Speaker Z.Enkhbold warned the MPs as he is to install cameras inside the Parliament Session hall emphasizing that from now on public will see which MP is attending the sessions and who is not, stating that this is the first step on transparency and responsibility of the State. He also warned MPs that he is to show each MPs seat one by one and assured if the MPs are supportive of the initiative of the President.
We are delivering the attendance of the MPs for January 30th.
Plenary session today started at 9AM. From the reports none of the 76 MPs arrived on time, while Speaker Z.Enkhbold registered his arrival at 9.05AM today.
Below is the lagging list of MPs as of 11 AM.
10 MPs with least lag:
J.Batsuuri 9:02 /MPP/
S.Byambatsogtт 09:03 /MPP/
Sh.Tuvdendorj 09:03 /DP/
D.Khayankhyarvaa 09:04 /MPP/
Z.Enkhbold 09:05 /DP/
Ts.Tsolmon 09:05 /Justice Coalition/
Ts.Bayarsaikhan 9:05 /DP/
Ts.Oyungerel 09:07 /DP/
D.Battsogt 9:07 /DP/
D.Erdenebat 09:07 /DP/
10 MPs with most lag:
D.Sumiyabazar 10:06 /MPP/
Ch.Khurelbaatar 10:06 /MPP/
J.Enkhbayar 10:08 /MPP/
D.Ganbat 10:20 /DP/
J.Batzandan 10:31 /DP/
Ts.Oyunbaatar 10:35 /Justice Coalition/
Kh.Battulga 10:42 /DP/
B.Choijilsuren 10:46 /MPP/
B.Bat-Erdene 10:51 /MPP/
D.Sarangerel 10:53 /MPP/
MPs on sick leave
G.Batkhuu
N.Battsereg
D.Terbishdagva
MPs who didn't show up for the session:
N.Batbayar /DP/
S.Batbold /MPP/
D.Bat-Erdene /DP/
G.Bayarsaikhan /DP/
B.Bolor /DP/
L.Gantumur /DP/
Ts.Davaasuren /Independent/
Ts.Dashdorj /MPP/
B.Narankhuu /DP/
D.Lundeejantsan /MPP/
D.Oyunkhorol /MPP/
Ch.Saikhanbileg /DP/
Ya.Sodbaatar /MPP/
M.Sonompil /Justice Coalition/
O.Sodbileg /MPP/
J.Erdenebat /MPP/
S.Erdene /DP/
L.Enkh-Amgalan /MPP/

Ulaanbaatar Winter Festival 2015 February 1st
January 30 (gogo.mn) Don’t hide at home this Sunday, come out and join us for the UB Winter Festival 2015! The UB Winter festival is to take place for the 2nd time, and everyone is invited. And the weather forecast says it’ll be warm & sunny with only -8’C!
The Mongols are privileged to enjoy four seasons in the year, and Mongolian winter is famous for being so wonderful. Ulaanbaatar city Tourism Department is rganizing the UB Winter Festival, with a vision of making the festival one of the biggest winter events in Asia. The festival features both traditional Mongolian & international sports as well as modern and traditional arts. About 200 archers will compete in the ice archery competition, and dog sledges, paragliding, ice skating will also be demonstrated. Spectators won’t only watch the games and performances, but also can take part in the tours and competitions. Everyone will have so much fun!
UB Winter Festival is to take place at the Tuul River (near Zaisan Memorial Hill) this Sunday 01 February, and starts at 13.00hrs in the afternoon. And their program is as follows:
13.00   Opening performance by ethnic music band “Jonon”
13.10   Mayor of Ulaanbaatar and honoured guests open the event
13.20   Parade of the UB Winter Festival participants (ice ankle bone shooters, ice archers, dog sledges, winter bikers, paragliding athletes, and ice skaters).
13.30   Music performance & fashion presentation
13.40   Ice skaters’ demonstration 
13.50   Dog sledging demonstration & dog sledging tour begins
14.00   Winter bikers demonstration & winter biking tour begins
14.30   Ice archery competition among spectators & foreign visitors
14.50   Ice ankle bone shooting competition
15.10   Ice ankle bone shooting competition among foreign visitors & spectators
15.30   Ice art show begins
15.40   Music performance
16.00   Awarding ceremony
16.10   The festival closing ceremony.
Hot food, hot beverages, souvenirs, winter & sports clothing trades will be available for spectators & participants during the festival.
All spectators can take part in the dog sledding, winter biking tours, horse riding, camel riding at certain charges, and ice skates & sledges will be available for rent.
More info can be obtained at Ulaanbaatar Tourism Department, their contact is: +976-7010-8687; 88116286
Prepared by Zola, Managing partner of Selena Travel for Mongolia.Gogo.mn. © All rights reserved 2015.
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Prime Minister of Mongolia Urges to Stabilize Country’s Economy by Establishing Economic Council
January 30 (infomongolia.com) The first meeting of freelance Economic Council established under Prime Minister's Decree with aims to develop recommendations on measures to stabilize the economy and advise on investment policy was held in the Government House on January 29, 2015.
In his remarks addressing the members of newly formed Economic Council, Premier Ch.Saikhanbileg stressed, “The Council’s priority duties are focused on stabilization the country’s macro economy, to create a friendly business environment and attract domestic and foreign investment as well as to give directions and advices on implementing mega and infrastructure projects and programs. In order to recover the economy, we should bring investors back and thereof, we should move forward large projects to be operational. Thus, we need your knowledge, skills and experience to overcome the economic difficulties facing today”.
The Economic Council is entrusted and responsible to carry out measures overcoming economic and financial difficulties, take actions against possible negative impacts on the economic environment, and resolve the reasons and mitigate the effects on negative banking and financial outlooks as well as develop a policy to implement and introduce to the Economic National Committee.
Moreover, the Council is obliged to promote Mongolia’s current socio-economic, investment and development tendencies to foreign countries and to issue recommendations on measures to attract domestic and foreign investment.
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Freedom in World 2015: Mongolia
January 30 (infomongolia.com) Freedom in the World 2015: Mongolia On January 28, 2015, the Freedom House, a U.S.-based NGO that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom and human rights, has released its annual report on the condition of political rights and civil liberties - Freedom in the World 2015.
Freedom in the World 2015 evaluates the state of freedom in 195 countries and 15 territories during 2014. Each country and territory is assigned two numerical ratings - from 1 to 7 - for political rights and civil liberties, with 1 representing the most free and 7 the least free. The two ratings are based on scores assigned to 25 more detailed indicators. The average of a country or territory’s political rights and civil liberties ratings determines whether it is Free, Partly Free, or Not Free.
For the ninth consecutive year, the Freedom in the World showed an overall decline. Indeed, acceptance of democracy as the world’s dominant form of government - and of an international system built on democratic ideals - is under greater threat than at any point in the last 25 years.
Nearly twice as many countries suffered declines as registered gains - 61 to 33 - and the number of countries with improvements hit its lowest point since the nine-year erosion began. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a rollback of democratic gains by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s intensified campaign against press freedom and civil society, and further centralization of authority in China were evidence of a growing disdain for democratic standards that was found in nearly all regions of the world.
Key Global Findings:
- Of the 195 countries assessed, 89 (46 percent) were rated Free, 55 (28 percent) Partly Free, and 51 (26 percent) Not Free.
- All but one region had more countries with declines than with gains. Asia-Pacific had an even split.
- A troubling number of large, economically powerful, or regionally influential countries moved backward: Azerbaijan, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Russia, Thailand, Turkey, and Venezuela.
- Continuing a recent trend, the worst reversals affected freedom of expression, civil society, and the rule of law.
- In a new and disquieting development, a number of countries lost ground due to state surveillance, restrictions on internet communications, and curbs on personal autonomy.
- Ratings for the Middle East and North Africa region were the worst in the world, followed by Eurasia. Syria, a dictatorship mired in civil war and ethnic division and facing uncontrolled terrorism, received the lowest Freedom in the World score of any country in over a decade.
- A notable exception to the negative trend was Tunisia, which became the first Arab country to hold the status of Free since Lebanon was gripped by civil war 40 years ago.
As of Mongolia, the country has been included in the Report since 1999’s edition and been evaluated as a Free status and in the 2015 report for Mongolia, shows with Freedom Rating scores of 1.5 (1-Best, 7-Worst), Civil Liberties of 2 and Political Rights of 1 point respectively.

140 Household Health Care Centers of Ulaanbaatar to Be Provided with Portable Urine Test Apparatus by Ruisansa Corporation
January 30 (infomongolia.com) On January 30, 2015, Governor of the Capital City and Mayor of Ulaanbaatar E.Bat-Uul received a delegation from South Korea's Ruisansa Corporation led by the President Kin Jung-bun.
During the meeting, the delegates introduced the portable urine test apparatus to be presented each to 140 household health care centers in Ulaanbaatar, which was agreed by signing a MoU between the UB City Health Authority and Ruisansa Corporation in November 2014.
These devices are conferred as a non-refundable aid to those health care centers, which is able to proceed 700 urine samples per hour. Moreover, the test results will be sent via owner’s cell phone number or e-mail address, and chronically ill and bedridden patients as well as underage children can receive such service from home.
Such apparatuses are in high demand, particularly, before the start of a new academic year, because all kindergarten children are required to take urine tests and in UB only couple centers do the tests.
The affiliated officials noted that these 140 devices worth of 3 billion MNT (Tugrug) contribute greatly in the health sector by bringing close the service to customers. Following the presentation, Mayor E.Bat-Uul expressed words of appreciation and awarded the Ruisansa Corporation President Kin Jung-bun, Ruisansa Corporation Director General Ho U-bun and Chairwoman of “New Village” NGO B.Jargal with a Capital City’s 375th Anniversary Medal.

Obligations given to authorities of Ministries and agencies
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 30 (MONTSAME) Head of the Cabinet Secretariat for Government S.Bayartsogt participated in the “Responsibility, monitoring and implementation” monthly online meeting held Friday with authorities of the Ministries and agencies.
In conjunction with an approval of the 2015 budget clarification, S.Bayartsogt gave obligations to the heads of the Ministries and agencies to re-approve and implement new rules and structures of the rearranged bodies as well as plans for procurement of products, works and services.
Some duplications of duties have been eliminated after transferring duties of the special funds at the National Council, Committee and Government to general managers of budget, thus orders were given to the State Secretaries of Ministries to take relevant regulatory measures within approved budgets.   

Presidential decree on industrialization granted
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 30 (MONTSAME) Head of the Presidential Office P.Tsagaan Friday granted to the Minister of Industry D.Erdenebat a decree of the President on giving a direction for intensifying industrialization in Mongolia.
By his decree, the President gives directions to the cabinet to take certain measures to support partnership between the government and private sector, to boost exports and enhance domestic value-added productions, competitive, environment friendly, processed goods, in order to replace the import products.
The President urged citizens and mass media organizations to actively participate in the promotion and consumption of the domestic products.
By the document, the Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg is entrusted to budget necessary expenses for the implementation of the Decree and work out quarterly reports to the President.

Project stakeholders give status report
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, January 30 (MONTSAME) “Community-led Local Governments Capacity Building” and “Promoting Participatory Legislature” projects are being realized in Mongolia by the Office of the State Great Khural, the UNDP, and the Swiss Agency for Development (SDC). On Friday, the stakeholders met to share information on the states of projects.
According to the representatives, various trainings were held in frames of the projects for 7000 people on a national level to give knowledge about legal environment, decision-making processes, civic involvement, budget estimation and adoption, financial management, ethics, green development, human rights and gender equality. The projects also facilitated citizens with ability to study online, and created website that is joined by 361 organizations and groups so far.
Reportedly, the website is accessed 600 times a day, and refreshed everyday by over 80 news, said the stakeholders.
Present at the meeting were, the Secretary General of the office of the Parliament and the national coordinator B.Boldbaatar, and the permanent representative of the UN to Mongolia Sezin Sinanoglu.

Exequatur presented to Honorary Consul of Mongolia
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 30 (MONTSAME) The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to France Mr M.Batsaikhan Wednesday presented the exequatur to Mr Laurent Hincker, the Honorary Consul of Mongolia to France’s Alsace Region.
The Ambassador mentioned that Mr Hincker became a new Honorary Consul of Mongolia in the year coincided with the 50th anniversary of the bilateral relations, and hoped that he will significantly contribute to widening the bilateral relations and cooperation in all spheres, protecting interests of Mongolians in France and helping them within his duty.
Mr Laurent Hincker has been majored in human rights, freedom and international law. He has worked as an instructor for the training on laws, and published several books. 

Minister Burmaa receives ADB reps
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, January 30 (MONTSAME) Minister of Food and Agriculture R.Burmaa received on January 30 the Water Resources Specialist of the Asian Development Bank Mr Zhang Qingfeng.
The Minister expressed her heartfelt gratitude to the ADB for issuing credits and non-refundable aids for Mongolia’s agricultural re-construction, which sector is the country’s main economic sphere, and for its support in times of dzud.
The sides also discussed renewing of the medium-term program implemented by the ADB, forwarding the development of action plans for 2014-2016, and increasing the number of ADB projects and technical assistance to Mongolia’s agricultural sector, and forwarding the second phase document on “Agricultural Development Project” worth USD 50 million.
ADB Specialist Mr Zhang informed that the Bank intends to issue additional credit sources for Mongolia for the coming years. The Minister appreciated the news and promised that the Ministry will study the means of efficient use of the ADB assistance.

Foreign Minister meets Russian delegation
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 30 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Foreign Affairs and head of the Mongolia-Russia intergovernmental commission for the Mongolian side Mr L.Purevsuren Friday received a delegation headed by Mr G.V.Berezkin, chairman of the Russian ESN Group.
The sides exchanged views on the bilateral economic and trade relations and on a chance of Russian businessmen to make investments to Mongolia.
In a scope of the visit here, the Prime Minister and some members of parliament will meet the Russian delegation.
Mr G.V.Berezkin founded the “Euroseverneft” company in 1991, and has expanded this company, making it the ESN Group that works for raising capitals for big projects mostly on energy and mining sectors. Moreover, companies at the ESN Group provide Russian largest companies such as the Gazprom, Rosneft and the Russian railway with electricity.

Agreement signed on Power Station at Nariinsukhait
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, January 30 (MONTSAME) At the Mongolian Embassy in Beijing, an agreement was signed last Tuesday by MAK Energy LLC and Harbin Electric International Company Ltd. The agreement was about commissioning a power plant basing on Nariinsukhait coal mine located in Omnogovi aimag.
Present at the agreement signing ceremony were the leaders of the two companies, and Ambassador of Mongolia to China Ts.Sukhbaatar, along with his advisor on trade and economy B.Khurelbaatar.
Through commissioning the power station, a reliable provision of electricity of Omnogovi aimag will be facilitated and the capacity of the coal mines will be improved. This is also of high importance in reducing the costs by using high-tech electric equipment, and increasing exports.
The power station will serve as additional power source for large mines such as Oyu Tolgoi, Tsagaansuvarga, and Tavantolgoi.
The bilateral agreement on this matter was already signed during the visit of the Chinese president Xi Jinping to Mongolia.

Stock Exchange news for January 30
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 30 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades on Friday, a total of 23 thousand and 564 units of 25 JSCs were traded costing MNT 12 million 816 thousand and 518.00.
"Khokh gan” /15 thousand and 807 units/, “Genco tour bureau” /4,902 units/, “Khasu-mandal” /570 units/, “Sharyn gol” /441 units/ and "Binse HK” /390 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value were "Sharyn gol” (MNT two million 549 thousand and 800), "Khasu-mandal” (MNT two million and 337 thousand), “Darkhan nekhii” (MNT one million 636 thousand and 800), “Khokh gan” (MNT one million 533 thousand and 279) and "APU” (MNT one million 299 thousand and 100).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 378 billion 363 million 060 thousand and 774. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 14,290.63, increasing 7.60 units or 0.05% against the previous day.

Stock exchange weekly review
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 30 (MONTSAME) Five stock trades were held at Mongolia's Stock Exchange January 26-30 of 2015. In overall, 317 thousand and 268 units of 46 JSCs were traded costing MNT 19 billion 731 million 037 thousand and 945.
"State Department Store” /47 thousand and 255 units/, “Binse HK” /20 thousand units/, “Khokh gan” /15 thousand and 837 units/, “Moninjbar” /11 thousand and 197 units/ and "APU” /5,985 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value were "State Department Store” (MNT 25 million 990 thousand and 250), "APU” (MNT 21 million 534 thousand and 400), “Binse HK” (MNT 15 million and 780 thousand), “Gutal” (MNT 13 million and 012 thousand) and "Makh impex” (MNT four million 343 thousand and 350).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 378 billion 363 million 060 thousand and 774. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 14,290.63, decreasing 130.10 units or 0.90% against the previous week.

Session of Confederation of Mongolian Journalists starts
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 30 (MONTSAME) The 16th session of the Confederation of Mongolian Journalists (CMJ) kicked off Friday in the City’s Civil Hall.
The CMJ president B.Galaarid delivered a report about works done in last four years within his duty at the session which brought together some 240 journalists of Ulaanbaatar city and aimags.
At its session, the CMJ will select a new president and a composition of authorities. Apart from the confederation’s incumbent president B.Galaarid, five people such as M.Naranbaatar,a former head of the Mongolian National Public Radio and Television; E.Dagiimaa, the editor-in-chief of the TV5 channel; and D.Boldkhuyag, a former manager of the “Zuuny Medee” newspaper have been nominated for the CMJ’s presidency.

Save the Date: Urbanization Documentary Film Screening at American Corner
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 30 (MONTSAME) The U.S. Embassy in Ulaanbaatar will host a screening of Gary Hustwit’s documentary film Urbanized at the American Cultural and Information Center, co-jointly with Smart Growth Mongolia and Think Urban on Wednesday February 4, 2015.
Urbanized discusses the issues and strategies behind urban design, and features some of the world's leading architects, planners, policy makers, and thinkers.
After the screening, there will be a discussion related to urban planning with young professionals active with Smart Growth Mongolia.  The discussion will focus on the rapid urbanization of Ulaanbaatar and how urban planning, and Mongolia's citizens, can help address important long-term economic, social, and environmental problems.

Deel prices raised by 150,000 MNT at Misheel Expo
By B. Nyamdari
January 30 (UB Post) Tsagaan Sar begins on Feb 18, the first day of the Lunar New Year. Mongolians are busy with preparations for serving fat-tailed lamb, steamed dumplings, and food and dairy products for Tsagaan Sar.
Every year, primary producers organize an exhibition to showcase domestically made products and sell them. Producers and retailers earn high profits during these national expos. Many advertisements for domestic products include the slogan “Let’s buy goods made in Mongolia” and appear in newspaper pages and on television for public appeal. Consumers are interested in modern clothes and accessories in harmony with tradition offered at low costs during national holidays. But producers put their profit before their customer’s interest. It leads to a large burden for the consumer.
Domestic product exhibitions for Tsagaan Sar have opened in a number of locations this week. One of those is Misheel Expo. People were selling different kinds of dairy products at the open air market of Misheel Expo when we arrived. Inside, the center was crowded. Multicolored deel (national costume), food, various leather apparel, and wool and cashmere textiles were laid on slabs from outdoors. All these domestic producers were congregated to promote their brands. Some bad, fragile and unappealing products were presented under the name of “national brands”.
Customers are unsatisfied about some brands’ poor quality and overpricing. For instance, the price for a deel is 150 to 350 thousand MNT at Dunjingarav and Narantuul market. But at Misheel Expo, the price was raised to 250 to 500 thousand MNT. Deel for children were being sold for 150 to 300 thousand MNT, reflecting an increase of 100 to 150 thousand MNT. Cotton deel for children were sold for 45 to 60 thousand MNT. I suspect that these producers covered up original sticker prices under new prices for this “Super Sale”. Blissfully, food product prices were stable, among them meat, compared to clothes. The prices of fried breads for ceremonial food were 2,300 to 2,600 MNT, an affordable price compared to previous years.
Source: Uls Turiin Toim
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General Police Authority comments on the mummy
By Kh. Kugershin
January 30 (gogo.mn) It has been covered widely on media domestically and internationally about 200 year old monk mummy found in the perimeter of Ulaanbaatar city.
On January 27th Organized Crime Department of General Police Authority has started investigations on the claims that mummy is kept at the private hands in Songinokhairkhan district and found the mummy at the private premises of resident E.
Today Organized Crime Department of General Police Authority made official announcement regarding the finding.
Colonel B.Baatarkhuu, Head of the PR department at General Police Authority said that media publicizes this event prior any expert analysis have been conducted and giving misleading information on the age of the mummy and who it belongs to. Also he added that no official statements were done by any experts and specialists yet and it will take some time to conduct all the necessary tests and forensic analysis.
Professional team of experts will be assembled, which is to conduct studies on the found mummy.

Government Supports Megaproject Development Forum to Successfully Implement Megaprojects in Mongolia
January 30 (infomongolia.com) On January 29, 2015, the Megaproject Development Forum was successfully organized at the Blue Sky Tower in Ulaanbaatar that aims to focus on implementing megaprojects to be carried in Mongolia.
The Forum was opened by Chief of Staff of the President’s Office P.Tsagaan and in his remarks he noted, “In its 100 years of history, Government for the first time appointed the Minister of Mongolia, who is responsible for infrastructure and megaprojects. This decision would positively impact and focus attention on current implementing big projects despite of political parties having seats in the Parliament. Today, we are launching the first Megaproject Development Forum with support of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and organized by Megaproject Development Institute.
Nowadays, we are living in the globalized world when a megaproject determines the development of a country in the region and globally. Similarly, the future development of Mongolia’s megaproject depends on a successful implementation”.
At the Forum, Minister of Mongolia M.Enkhsaikhan delivered a speech themed “Megaprojects in Mongolia: Challenges and Opportunities” and a SMBC’s representative on “Project Financing and Public-Private Partnership”, who further introduced on how the investment will be conducted in energy and educational sectors during a seminar held in the second part of the Forum.

Third National Horizontal Learning Workshop - Experience Sharing on Public Participation
January 30 (infomongolia.com) On January 30, 2015, The Asia Foundation shared with InfoMongolia.com with the following press release, the NGO that marked 20 years in Mongolia in 2013.
Third National Horizontal Learning Workshop - Experience Sharing on Public Participation
Office of the President of Mongolia and The Asia Foundation have successfully cohosted the Third National Workshop of the Fostering Civic Engagement at the Subnational Level (FOCE) Project funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation at the President’s Citizens’ Hall in the Government House on January 29-30, 2015.
The workshop brought together approximately 60 citizens from the FOCE pilot sites in 14 Sums of six Aimags across the country and 3 Khoroos of Ulaanbaatar. The two-day discussion was focused on sharing experiences among citizens on methods and lessons learned to increase citizen participation at the local level.
The goal of the FOCE project was to increase the transparency and accountability of local governments and contribute to more responsive local government policy-making and service provision for citizens. This is in support of the President’s agenda for direct democracy and fiscal decentralization. Local governments are being supported to increase civic participation in decisionmaking through small grants and technical assistance. This has helped to establish fully-equipped Citizens’ Halls in all sites and has supported a regular agenda of public consultations.
The national workshop brought together citizen activists from all pilot sites to share experiences and learn on participatory practices in the Mongolian context. While previous horizontal learning workshops have been combined to host both local government officials and citizens, this is the first workshop that only included citizens.
Some of the points that were discussed at the conference include:
1) Citizens to discuss their impressions of having a Citizens’ Hall, or dedicated space for public-private discussions. Citizens will describe how they are using the Citizen’s Halls in their communities. The concept of Citizen’s Halls was initiated by President Ts.Elbegdorj in 2009 to create an independent meeting space for citizens to gather and discuss their issues and priorities. At the local level many Sums and Khoroos have now opened their own citizens’ halls allowing for citizens to have discussions and develop proposals to present to their local government. This fills an important gap since many Sums did not previously have many public meeting spaces and it was often not suitable or feasible to meet at people’s homes. Before local Citizens’ Halls established (most in the last year), people submitted requests or complaints to the local government on an individual basis and this was not very effective. Proposals submitted by groups of people are more likely to receive attention from the authorities.
2) Citizens have also shared their experience participating in public discussions with professionally-trained facilitators and whether this practice is effective. The FOCE project enabled local citizens to be trained as professional facilitators in a number of the pilot sites. These citizens are now organizing discussions among citizens of their Bags and Khesegs. Project monitoring is hearing positive feedback about this new method of conducting meetings, whereby participants have concrete time to develop ideas and speak, rather than the top-down method traditionally used to conduct meetings in Mongolia.
3) Citizens from the pilot sites have shared their experiences on social accountability and citizens score cards, which have been supported by FOCE in each of the pilot sites. One of the aims of the citizens score card methodology was to encourage better cooperation between citizens and government service providers. For example, the citizens in Undur-Ulaan Sum, Arkhangai Aimag, discovered during the score card exercise that in fact their local health center provides more services then they were aware of. The score card helped the health center management understand the importance of better sharing information with the public, so that the citizens were able to request services and were more satisfied.
These are just a few of the anticipated best practices on citizens’ participation were discussed over this two day workshop.

Mongolian population officially reaches three million
By M. Zoljargal
January 30 (UB Post) Mongolia embraced its three millionth citizen on January 24, born in Umnugovi Province, 27 years after registering the nation’s two millionth citizen.
The baby who claims the update to the official population of Mongolia is a girl, and her parents are permanent residents of Umnugovi Province’s Dalanzadgad soum. The baby’s father is E.Khatanbold and the mother is G.Azzaya, and are both 22 years old. The girl is their first child.
The President of Mongolia, Ts.Elbegdorj, received the report about the birth of the three millionth citizen shortly after he landed in Ulaanbaatar upon his return from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and called the parents to congratulate them on the phone. The President bestowed the baby girl with the name Mongoljin, at the request of her parents.
Grants for the first three millionth citizens
The three millionth citizen will be granted 70 million MNT (the estimated value of a two-room apartment), while 181 more Mongolian children who were born on the same day as Mongoljin will receive a one-time cash allowance, according to a government ordinance. Three of the 181 babies registered were born abroad.
The President will shortly hand over his personal gifts – bells for baby boots – to Mongoljin and the 181 babies. The bells have depictions of Gua Maral (Fallow Doe) and Burte Chono (Blue-grey Wolf) on the sides. Images from a painting by State Merit Cultural Laureate P.Tsegmid, which includes designs used during the era of the Huns, were used for the bells.
How was the three millionth citizen selected?
The population of Mongolia reached 2,995,949 on January 5, 2015, and each birth registered nationwide between January 19 and 26 was reported to the Statistical Office, according to the time of birth.
The nationwide mortality rate was also closely followed in order to concisely determine the three millionth citizen. The registration showed that one person dies every 32 minutes and 12 seconds in Mongolia, said S.Mendsaikhan, Chief of the National Statistical Office.
A working group on determining the identity of the three millionth citizen determined that the baby would be born on January 24, and registrations collected from abroad and from 21 provinces showed that the 73rd birth of the day would be that of the three millionth citizen.
Population growth projections
A gap of 26 to 27 years between the registration of another million citizens shows that our population growth is quite slow, said S.Mendsaikhan.
An all-time high number of births in Mongolia was registered in 1988, with 73,000 babies born. The children born then are now of reproductive age. However, researchers say that the birth rate decreased between 1990 and 2000 due to the transition to a free market, which means the number of women giving birth from now on will also decrease. Our nation’s population could reach four million faster if the government pays special attention to implementing policy supporting population growth.

Law on alcoholic beverage control to be strengthened
By E. Oyundari
January 30 (UB Post) The Standing Committee on Social Policy, Education, Culture and Sciences held a meeting on Wednesday and discussed the draft bill on Controls on Alcoholic Beverages. However, the committee took a break of five days after discussions calling for stricter controls and legal parameters.
The draft was developed and submitted by MP L.Erdenechimeg on November 25, 2014, and reviewed by the government on January 20, 2015.
The draft bill from the government includes principles to implement control on alcoholic beverages based on factual research, to increase alcohol tax, and to prevent the influence of parties with conflicting interests in determining policy on alcoholic beverage control.
The government also wants permits to produce and import alcoholic beverages to be granted through the selection of the best projects and based on the assessments and suggestions of qualified inspectors who would also oversee the extension and validation of permits.
The bill developed by MP L.Erdenechimeg mostly focused on reducing alcohol consumption and production, and managing production permits that have been granted widely.
As of today, a total of 93 entities with permits, including seven alcoholic spirit manufacturers, 57 vodka manufacturers, 19 breweries, and 10 wine producers are in operation. Lawmakers believe that alcoholic beverage supply in the market is the root of increased alcohol consumption by the population, and that the alcohol being consumed does not meet quality standards.
According to statistical data, one third of all crimes in Mongolia are serious offenses and two thirds are categorized as criminal offenses. Some 57.7 percent of all crimes in Ulaanbaatar are committed by people under the influence of alcohol. This shows that crime and offenses are directly connected to excessive alcohol consumption, say the bills’ developers.
During the discussion of the draft bills, parliamentarians said that alcoholism has been reduced and expressed that the illegal trade of alcoholic beverages will fall into order when limits on alcohol are in force. There is a demand to reduce alcohol consumption by showing the public the extent and impact of alcoholism in Mongolia, say some Members of Parliament. They take the position that it is better to take heavy legal measures to prevent breaches of the law, instead of fighting this negative social trend with strict regulations.
MP A.Bakei expressed his position on the draft bill, stating, “These two draft bills both have the intention of strengthening control on alcoholic beverage at all levels, including alcohol trade, production, retail trade, services, and consumption. I doubt that all Members of Parliament will support these draft bills. Prohibiting the use and trade of alcohol won’t be beneficial. It is better to reduce alcohol consumption through economic leverage.”

Local journalists to self-regulate Mongolian media
By M. Zoljargal
January 30 (UB Post) The Press Council of Mongolia has been recently formed with the aim to self-regulate the local media without dependence to any political or business parties.
Its 45 official members held their first meeting with the public on Wednesday and introduced the aim and function of the council, which are to ensure press freedom, defend journalists’ rights, develop ethical journalism, as well as to protect the public’s right to be informed with accurate and complete information.
The council will operate as an NGO. It comprises of Managing Board, Ethics Commission for Newspapers, Magazines and Websites, and Ethics Commission for Television Channels and radio Stations.
Board and commissions’ members were appointed from the 45 members through official conferences of the council in Ulaanbaatar and in provinces between January 23 and 27.
Media representatives selected the members from among their fellow journalists working in the local media sector.
The council will receive complaints from the public about news broadcasts, articles on newspapers, magazines and websites, television and radio programs, as well as photographs and review them to check whether they meet journalism ethics.
If the council finds violations of ethics, it will demand the news outlets to release retractions.
The council expects to regulate media-related complaints and issues within the sector without pushing the public to take the issues to court and spend an extended period of time on having them processed on trials.
The council hopes to reduce the load of the courts, self regulate allegations made about journalism ethics without reaching out to the Criminal Code of Mongolia through court, regain trust of the public, and improve the reputation of Mongolian journalism.

Mongolia’s dark days of Stalinist repression on display
By Allyson Seaborn
January 30 (UB Post) The murder of tens of thousands of Mongolians by communist leaders from the 1930’s to the mid 1950’s was chronicled by a Mongolian woman named Tserendulam, who opened the humble Victims of Political Persecution Memorial Museum in Ulaanbaatar in 1992. She did this partially in remembrance of her father, former Prime Minister P.Genden, who was executed by the KGB in 1937 for resisting directives from Stalin.
The museum is dwarfed by UB’s sea of building construction sites and unfortunately, the wooden building is in a state of disrepair with cracked windows and creaking floorboards. It is eerie and melancholy – suiting the tone of the displays which detail the bloody communist purges aimed at eliminating counter revolutionaries. The small, dimly lit rooms are filled with photos, posters, letters and other personal items of those terrible first years of the Soviet repression, the slaughter of thousands of Buddhist monks and anyone who opposed Moscow.
During this campaign, intellectuals were arrested and put on trial, sent to Siberian prisons or shot. Mongolia lost nearly all of its top writers, scientists and thinkers. The Soviets and their Mongolian subordinates killed anyone who might stand in their way. Thousands more were killed by firing squads in the countryside who were desperate to fill quotas. It’s been said that herders were grabbed randomly and shot point blank in order to fill such quotas.
I’ve never in my life been to a museum like this before – not a soul is there, except for the caretaker who lets shiny, new SUVs and government cars park in the convenient grounds for a small fee. It’s in a prime location and parking around here is scarce.
Downstairs is a dank room, slightly larger than a closet, with an old TV and a bed where the caretaker rests. Narrow corridors are lined with locked doors, which I try unsuccessfully to jiggle open to have a peek. I wonder if the security cameras are working? Nobody is coming to scold me and show me the way out. The only thing watching me are the haunting eyes of the people in black and white photographs. I gaze at a photo of a young Mongolian man who looks no older than 20 – he reminds me of so many Mongolians I love and admire today. Who is this? What was his crime against the state?
Prime Minister Genden was, of course, an outspoken and leading communist at the time, but not hardcore enough for the Soviets, who banned religion and private property altogether. Genden, on the other hand, allowed.
Buddhists keep their temples and nomads their livestock.
Tserendulam was only nine years old when Genden was dismissed as PM in 1936, after rejecting Stalin’s demands to disband the Buddhist clergy and give Moscow more control. Genden’s family was exiled to the Soviet Union, where they were held for over a year near the Black Sea. Tserendulam last saw her father one day in 1937, when police whisked him away after lunch and later executed him. But it wasn’t until 54 years later that she actually received confirmation of his execution via a letter from Mikhail Gorbachev in 1992.
I’ve been in Mongolia for over three years and am embarrassed I hadn’t visited the Victims of Political Persecution Memorial Museum before. Better late than never. The entry fee is 2,500 MNT, and well worth it. On the ground floor of the museum is a replica of Genden’s office, with his desk and other personal effects. The museum is almost always empty and quiet, but it’s worth a visit as the pictures tell so many stories.

Ulaanbaatar hospitals end up as office buildings
January 30 (UB Post) There are two buildings in the city center that are fully able to serve for more than 100,000 people and over 30,000 specialized state workers. Sadly, these buildings haven’t run its main activities since its construction five years ago.
Originally, the building was planned to be a polyclinic hospital dedicated for specialized state workers, but it is currently being used as an office building.
The final use and purpose of the building was to be finalized by the government in 2014, yet no particular meetings and announcements were made last year.
If the new polyclinic hospital started its activity, it would have brought numerous benefit, since lack of schools, kindergartens and hospitals in the city is a pressing issue. At least, a hospital with a capacity of 100,000 people will help ease overcrowded state hospitals and would have been more accessible to city residents.
The construction of the hospital was previously halted for five years due to various political reasons and insufficient funds. According to the government decree of December 3 of 2012, the construction work of the building was at 80 percent completion and was equipped with special medical facilities. Unfortunately, the purpose of the building was changed to be used as an office building for legal organization and police departments.
Hospital employees were against this decision and held a strike last year. They claimed that a 3.5 MNT MRI scanner, which has been placed inside the building, has been damaged because it was moved from the building designated for hospital use. Hospital experts said that over 100 million MNT will be needed to repair the equipment. The construction of B block of the building was completed last June, at the cost of 600,000 million MNT. The construction of A block has been delayed for two years due to financial issues.
Minister of Justice D.Dorligjav recently formed a team to study whether it is possible to use the building for hospital purposes.
There many people who still want the building to be used as a hospital. Since 600,000 million MNT was spend on the construction of an office building, at least the same amount of money will be needed for building a hospital. Moreover 100 million MNT is needed to repair the broken MRI scanner.
The working team that was organized by Minister of Justice D.Dorligjav started their activity in December 20, 2014. They were to report their finding within five days of the research but so far no announcement or resolution were made about the use of the building.
Is it possible to use the building as a state hospital, Minister?
Source: Zuunii Medee

Kh.Purevdagva: The country that works and contributes most will get a better share of Antarctica’s resources
January 30 (UB Post) Countries all around the world are increasing research work in Antarctica ito gain more influence on the icy continent and in search for a new permanent place to live in the future. Mongolia is also taking part in this competition and striving towards making significant contributions.
The seventh Mongolian to visit Antarctica, Kh.Purevdagva, recently returned from the 23rd International Expedition of the Bulgarian Antarctic Institute. He travelled to Antarctica to raise Mongolia’s involvement in Antarctic studies, begin study of the continent’s water, snow and air, and complete preparation work for setting up a Mongolian base in Antarctica.
Below is an interview with hydrologist engineer Kh.Purevdagva of the Mongolian Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology.
You’ve become the seventh Mongolian to experience Antarctica. Can you share your impression from when you first stepped onto the icy continent?
I’m the seventh Mongolian but the sixth Mongolian researcher to go to Antarctica. G.Gankhuu, a member of the Ulaanbaatar City Council, was one of the representatives. He reached the summit of Mount Tyree, the second highest mountain of Antarctica (4,892 m), and put up Mongolia’s flag.
When you land on a land covered in snow, you start to lose spatial orientation. It’s hard to determine how far something is because everything is white.
How different was Antarctica from your expectations?
I had a vague idea about how it would be since I’ve researched glacial frost on mountains and met people who’d visited Antarctica. But the immense amount of moisture and strong wind was unimaginable. In a place where you can’t differentiate day and night and with constant snow storms, psychological change is very much possible for people like us who grew up looking up at the blue sky and vast landscapes.
Did you experience any psychological changes?
I felt uncomfortable for the first few days. As I started getting busy with research and base-related works, I quickly adapted and stopped having problems.
You’ve travelled approximately 60,000 km to go and return from Antarctica. Can you share some stories from your journey?
I reached my destination after four plane trips, one bus trip and five boat trips. The voyage on a ship was the most difficult ride. I got seasick during a three-day journey though Drake Passage. Heavy waves, generated from the meeting of hot and cold water from Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, forces ships to oscillate. Ship oscillation makes people nauseous and gives them head ache so people lie down without eating or drinking anything. I could only get up after half a day of rest on my way to Antarctica, and a full day of rest on my way back.
How were you welcomed at the Bulgarian base?
I went on the second shift of the 23rd expedition. Five people from the first shift had been there for a week and came to welcome us. The Bulgarian base is located half a km from the shore. The front was completely covered in snow so they were melting it for drinking water. As soon as we arrived, we started creating living conditions for ourselves. First and second shifters are required to create suitable living conditions and maintaining them. While helping their work, I did my research work. I had to rest less and work more.
How was the weather?
It was summer. During our stay, the temperature stayed between minus 15 to two degrees Celsius. There was always a snow storm. Everything, including our clothes, bed, pillows, and shoes, would get wet since humidity levels are constantly at 97 percent.
It must’ve been difficult.
First few days were difficult. We had to clean the snow covering the base, dig up a hole, and draw up water form it with a machine for water supply. This improved living conditions by providing water to the bathroom and boiler. It isn’t easy to make a base covered in snow during winter livable. This year, Bulgaria hasn’t planned any research work. Rather than study for water and plant, Bulgaria has been focusing more on human habitation study for many years, particularly to find out whether it’s possible to live in Antarctica. I became one of the subjects for the study.
Is it possible to live in Antarctica?
It’s possible during summer, provided that you have suitable clothing and food to endure the humidity and snow storms.
Is it possible to join expeditions of other countries and partake in their research?
Mongolia started paying attention to Antarctica from 1970 to early 1980s. J.Tserendeleg got to work for a year at Russia’s Vostok research station in Antarctica in 1972, and D.Chuluunbat in 1982. At the time, Mongolia held a policy to send people to Antarctica, but the policy wasn’t implemented for 30 years afterwards. In 2007, the president of Antarctica Research Association of Mongolia, professor L.Dugerjav, collaborated with the Bulgarian Antarctica Institute and sent four Mongolian researchers to the icy continent.
Currently, there are over 60 bases and stations of some 40 countries in Antarctica. Mongolia can contact any of them and join. But who, when and how they contact them is important. Not anyone can go to Antarctica. For instance, four Turkish researchers requested to join the expedition I went on and even offered 200,000 USD, but were rejected. This shows that the relation between the two countries is more important than money. It’s time for the Mongolian government to pay attention to this matter.
What is the significance of going to Antarctica?
As said by L.Dungerjav, asking why Mongolians need to work in Antarctica is the same as asking why it’s necessary for Mongolians to go to space. Antarctica is the only place which isn’t under ownership of somebody. Its land is ten times bigger than Mongolia’s. It has tremendous amount of natural resources. Scientists estimate that the total weight of all the Antarctic krill is more than the total weight of all humans on Earth. Approximately 80 percent of the earth’s clean water is frozen in Antarctica. Countries across the world are spending substantial money to establish their position in Antarctica. It’s certain that people will live there and get a share of its natural resources. The country that works most and contributes most will get a better share.
How high is Mongolia’s influence? When will Mongolia establish a base?
This issue is connected to Mongolia’s foreign policy. It would be an honor if Mongolia becomes one of the 40 countries with bases in Antarctica. Mongolia got a hold of land for a base between Spain and Bulgaria’s bases in Livingston Island. I returned after cleaning and making preparations there. If Mongolia sets up a base, we can start an Antarctica study program and send our own team. Firstly, Mongolia needs to join the international Antarctica Treaty. The Council of Managers of the National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP) will hold an international conference in June in Sofia, Bulgaria so Mongolia should submit a request for membership then.
How much does it cost to set up a base?
Japan and the USA established bases with a billion USD near the South Pole. Spain is setting up a new base with 1.2 million USD in Livingston, 3,000 km away from the South Pole. Mongolia can establish a base with a million USD.
Is it true that you did the first study on snow at the Bulgarian base?
Yes. This type of study hadn’t been done before at the Bulgarian base. I set up eight poles for measuring snow level and collected data every day. I wanted to compare the shape, resource, and precipitation level of snow of Mongolia and Antarctica. I will report results after developing my data. It was fascinating to find out that snow in Antarctica all have the same density and temperature. I observed a generation of snow accumulation. In Mongolia, snow doesn’t accumulate and melts quickly. I tried to do as much research on snow shapes, weight, and structure as possible during my stay there. I taught my study work to a Bulgarian researcher before heading back. He will continue my research work and send me his report after he returns to Bulgaria in March.
Did you bring anything from Antarctica?
I brought a liter of clean, spring water from a lake near the area where a Mongolian base will be set up. I gave it for analysis. I brought a sample of a flower that was growing on smooth rock, but it was confiscated at the customs. Although Bulgaria has approval samples from Antarctica through borders of Argentina, our team forgot to bring the permit.
How is global warming affecting Mongolia?
In the last 70 years, the average temperature of the world rose by 2.1 degrees Celsius. The main indication of climate change is the melting of ice. Ice on top of snow-capped mountains such as Tsambagarav, Khakhiraa, and Turgen Mountains are melting considerably. Four meters of thick ice melted from Tavanbogd Mountain. The melting has decreased in the past two years because the summers aren’t as scorching as before. Glacial mass balance in Mongolia has sustained negative balance, meaning that global warming is affecting Mongolia.
Source: mongolnews.mn/1ged

B.Munkhzaya qualifies for Rio 2016 Summer Olympics Games
By B. Tungalag
January 30 (UB Post) The 15th Asian Marathon Championship was held in Hong Kong on January 25.
Mongolian runner J.Olonbayar came in third, completing more than 42 km men’s marathon in a time of 2:22:49.
J.Olonbayar raced against runners from 11 other countries.
Athlete of Aldar Sports Committee, International Sports Master B.Munkhzaya won fourth place in the women’s marathon.
She broke Mongolia’s national record by completing the race in a time of 2:38:43, which qualified her for the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
Female runners qualify for the Olympics if they finish a marathon within a time of 2:40:00.

Artist N.Erdenebayar takes Grand Prix at International Manga Awards
By B. Baatar
January 30 (UB Post) Head of the Nuudliin Zurga Uguulemj Foundation, and writer and painter of children’s comic books N.Erdenebayar claimed the Grand Prix from the International Manga Award competition with his comic book titled “Bumbardai Went For Dry Dung”.
The Japanese Foreign Minister will present the prize to N.Erdenebayar in Tokyo, Japan, on February 12. “Bumbardai Went For Dry Dung” will be added to the collection of the Manga Museum in Kyoto on the same day.
Around 300 artists from 60 countries participated for this year’s International Manga Award. N.Erdenebayar has been creating comic books for 10 years.
The International Manga Award is an annual award established in 2007 to encourage non-Japanese manga artists. This award was created by Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso, who proposed this award in a policy speech he gave in Tokyo’s Akihabara district in 2006. The award is often considered the most prestigious prize for non-Japanese manga artists.

A nostalgic reunion
By B. Narantuya
January 30 (UB Post) Graduates of the Vasily Surikov Moscow State Academic Art Institute are presenting a joint exhibition called “We are Surikovs”. The exhibition is on view at the Union of Mongolian Artists through February 7. About 80 paintings by 20 artists are presented in the exhibition.
The opening ceremony was held on January 29, attended by a large crowd happily celebrating the evening. “It is a great night. When we were students, it was our dream to release our own exhibitions. Today, in other words, our dream is coming true now. We also don’t have the chance to meet that often. The exhibition is reuniting us,” said one of the artists.
The Vasily Surikov Moscow State Academic Art Institute is one of the two largest art institutions in Russia, and is famous around the world. It was established in 1936. The Surikov Art Institute has many world famous teachers who generate outstanding students.
In 1939, the very first students from Mongolia to study at the Academy were U.Yadamsuren and D.Choidog. Today, more than 40 Mongolian artists have graduated from the academy.
The exhibition includes paintings with a wide range of themes, including nature, Mongolia, and portraiture. For me, the wall with the portraits of Russian women painted during the artists’ studies in at the art institute was the most captivating.
I was raised very close to the Russian people. Russian teachers taught me a lot of things, besides general subjects at school. I think they are a great people in the ways of teaching ethics and behavior to children. So, many things that relate to Russia are very compelling to me.
Even though the artists are Mongolian people, they have gained something valuable from their studies in Russia. Overall, the exhibition left me with a very warm feeling of nostalgia, thinking back on my own childhood and life in a Russian school.

Has the government ignored the meat sector?
January 30 (UB Post) Many Mongolians were shocked to see headlines reading “Atar Urgoo Bakery to sell half loaves of bread” and “Number of people staving off hunger with dog meat increases”. Another surprise is awaiting meat-loving Mongolians, as meat companies have begun preparing to sell smaller sized packages of meat at 200 to 250 grams.
“People’s income has drastically declined, causing the purchase index to decrease. Fewer buyers are purchasing large quantities of meat. Hence, we’ve completed preparation for packaging meat at more rational amounts, sufficient for one or two meals,” explained meat producers.
Last year, four meat producers sold 2.5 to 5 kg of bone-in meat in packages. Meat without bones was sold in 500 g packages. This year, six meat producers from rural areas were selected for tenders as reserve meat managers. They received licenses to process and reserve meat in October 2014, and were ordered to begin preparing meat from rural areas last November, and finish by the end of the first week of January 2015. Four of the meat managers reserved a total of 12,000 tons of meat for the capital, and the remaining two companies have reserved 2,000 tons of meat for Darkhan-Uul and Orkhon provinces. However, operating expenses for the selected six tenders haven’t been included in the Program to Stabilize Prices of Key Commodities and Products, which was approved last week. The Executive Director of the Mongolian Meat Association, M.Jadambaa, commented on this.
He said, “[Not including operating expenses for tendered meat managers] is a clear example of the inconsistency in government work. The price of reserve meat was approved under an agreement with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, yet operating expenses provided to meat producers were annulled during the plenary session. Last year, 4.5 billion MNT was promised to us but the government still hasn’t provided it. Under these conditions, how can the operations of domestic industries progress efficiently? We will take the next step if there’s conflict over whether operating expenses will be provided or not. The government is mistaken if they believe that the program implemented for four years has given off results. During this period, when an economic crisis is faced everywhere and people’s wallets have become lighter, the government should be supporting the private sector with policy.”
Has the government ignored the meat sector and will it cause meat prices to become unstable? Presently, beef costs 6,500 to 8,000 MNT per kg; mutton costs 5,000 to 6,500 MNT per kg; chevon (goat meat) costs 5,000 to 6,000 MNT per kg; and horse meat costs 4,500 to 6,500 MNT per kg. Most economists link the price stability of meat to the outcome of the Program to Stabilize Prices of Key Commodities and Products. As a matter of fact, the average price of meat has been well over 7,000 MNT in recent years. Now, the average price of meat ranges between 5,000 to 6,000 MNT. Regarding whether the government has renounced the meat sector, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture denies this.
President M.Jamdambaa asked about a solution for selling the meat reserved for spring supply without burdening businesses or hindering the livelihood of locals. “The public is eager to find out when the reserved meat will be sold, indicating the urgent need and demand for meat. Resolution No.A-166/A-24 for the Program to Stabilize Prices of Key Commodities and Products was established by the President of Mongol Bank and Minister of Food and Agriculture. According to the resolution, reserved meat has to be put up for sale based on a management agreement for reserved meat. Yet, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and other relevant agencies haven’t determined when, and at what price, to sell reserved meat. Meat reserve managers are reluctantly paying rent for stockrooms, electricity bills, and providing salaries for employees, without knowing what to do. We will talk to these agencies and make a final decision,” he said.
Baatruud Tenger LLC, Makh Impex LLC, Makh Market LLC, and ANDM LLC, who received licences to supply reserved meat for Ulaanbaatar, have reserved 3,000 tons of meat. Darkhan Meat Foods LLC and Erdmiit LLC have reserved 1,000 tons of meat for Darkhan-Uul and Orkhon Provinces. These companies signed an agreement with the President of Mongol Bank and the Minister of Food and Agriculture, agreeing to sell beef for 5,950 MNT, mutton for 5,750 MNT, and chevon for 4,900 MNT per kg.
Directors of the six tenders stressed the need to reconsider negotiated prices. They said if the agreement isn’t renegotiated, there’s a possibility that the companies would absorb operating costs and charge an extra 1,000 MNT per kg. They were deeply troubled by the fact that markets wouldn’t allow such high prices, knowing that people would hesitate to buy such expensive meat.
Source: Uls Turiin Toim

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