Saturday, February 7, 2015

Mongolia Brief January 6, 2015

Minister to "Surround" Otgontenger with Tourism
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, January 6 (MONTSAME) On the first weekend of 2015, the Minister of Environment, Green development and Tourism D.Oyunkhorol visited Zavkhan aimag, where she was born and was elected to parliament for three times.  The first leg of the visit was Otgon soum, located in front of the Otgontenger mountain.

It was apparent that the area around this state-worshiped mountain has degraded due to foreign and local tourists who want to reach the mountain's peak. At the same tome, no tourist-targeted activities are conducted and no fees are collected from the visitors, in order to preserve the landmark. Seeing this, D.Oyunkhorol promised to take decisive measures for developing a decent infrastructure around the mountain and for improving the conservation of the environment. She said she will realize it with a supports of international projects and programs which are aimed at conserving the pristine nature of Mongolia. and appealed to the locality to actively participate in these works.
The Otgontenger mountain--known as the “White Mountain” and elevated 4,021 meters above the sea level--has been worshiped by the nation since 1779, being idolized from the times of Mongolian introduction of Buddhism as the reincarnation of “Ochirvaani” god. Bogdkhaan held worshiping ceremony every year since 1911, while in 1992, the mountain became to be ceremonially worshiped every four years, in accordance with a state decree.

Darkhan Wet Concentrate Plant Commissioned
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, January 6 (MONTSAME) "Darkhan Metalurgy Plant" state-owned company has commissioned its wet-concentrate plant.
The largest-in-Mongolia plant is capable of processing one million tons of iron ore per year, with a use of wet magnetic separators. The commissioning of the plant has taken a place in a scope of the intention of the company to become a "metallurgical complex".
The general parameters of the plant, the iron contents are estimated to be above 64 percent, and metallurgic demand at 700 thousand tons of iron concentrate. The new plant provides 120 new workplaces. Processed wet-concentrate will act as raw material for instantly dried iron ore production. The preliminary feasibility study was developed on technologies of “Outotec” of Finland and “Kobe Steel” of Japan. The project has been executed by metallurgy giant “Hatch” Ltd. of Canada.
An advantage of the plant, built with a globally approved Geomembrane technology, is that it recycles water with more than 70 percent efficiency.

Former State Secretary, R.Bat-Erdene Appointed as President of the National University of Mongolia
January 6 ( The President of National University of Mongolia (NUM) Mr. A.Galtbayar delivered a request letter to end his job due to health reasons, which was effective from December 30, 2014.
Accordingly, Minister of Education and Science L.Gantumur issued his first Decree in the new year to appoint new President and Mr. Regsuren BAT-ERDENE takes his duty from January 05, 2015.
Before, newly appointed NUM President R.Bat-Erdene used to work at the Ministry of Education as Head of Division and Department as well as the State Secretary in 1996-2000.

Negotiations to Develop Mongolia’s Tavan Tolgoi Megaproject Starts as Scheduled
January 6 ( The first negotiation between the Government of Mongolia and the Consortium comprised of China’s Shenhua Energy Co., Ltd., Japan's Sumitomo Corporation, Mongolia’s Energy Resources LLC and America’s Peabody Energy Corporation that won the bid to develop Tavan Tolgoi coal deposit located in Umnugovi Aimag is started as scheduled on January 05, 2015.
The workshop meeting is chaired by the Working Group Chairman, Minister M.Enkhsaikhan with attendance of the Mining Minister R.Jigjid, and Minister of Roads and Transportation N.Tumurkhuu on behalf of Mongolian Government and the China-Japan-Mongolia Consortium is represented by Executive Director and CEO of Energy Resources LLC G.Battsengel, Deputy CEO of Energy Resources L.Oyunbat, Board Chairman of China Shenhua Overseas Development & Investment Co., Ltd. Shao Junjie, Vice President Zhou Tienjun and General Manager of Sumitomo Corporation’s Ulaanbaatar Office Hiroto Fujiwara and Advisor to General Manager of Mineral Resources Division No.2, Coal Department, Keiji Kiribuchi.
During the meeting, Executive Director of Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi JSC Ya.Batsuuri introduced about the “Tavan Tolgoi coal deposit’s current operations and its financial situation”, where Director of “Mongolian Railway” state-owned entity P.Batsaikhan has also presented the current progress of construction works between Tavan Tolgoi and Gashuun Sukhait and its contractors and financial issues.
As sides had agreed upon Mutual Benefit strategy and committed to transparent and negotiation in their operations, representing the Consortium, Energy Resources’ Deputy CEO L.Oyunbat introduced the affiliated information about the agreement contents and standards to follow international experiences.
Tavan Tolgoi negotiations, January 6

EBRD to Provide 10 Million EUR Loan for Construction of New Toyota Repair and Maintenance Centre in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
January 6 ( One of the largest foreign investors in the country, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has been implementing many projects since 2006 to support Mongolia in its transition to a full market economy and the latest project is providing an MNT (Tugrug) senior loan to Tavan Bogd Group that will be spent for construction of a new Toyota repair and maintenance centre in Ulaanbaatar.
The financing project of 23.4 billion MNT, which is equivalent to 10 million EUR, was approved by the EBRD Board on October 13, 2014 that aims to support expansion of Toyota car distribution and sales businesses in Mongolia.
The Tavan Bogd LLC is a part of Tavan Bogd Group and the EBRD loan of 23.4 billion MNT will help the company finance the construction of a state-of-the-art Toyota repair and maintenance centre, expand its new car distribution and sales business, and improve energy efficiency.
The project will also benefit from grant financing of 42,000 EUR for an energy efficiency audit provided by the Government of Japan. Further grant financing is available for energy efficiency improvements.
Following the announcement, General Director of Tavan Bogd Group, Ts.Baatarsaikhan said, “This is another example of the good cooperation between the EBRD and our Group. We can always rely on the EBRD to understand our business requirements and provide us with the support we need”.
EBRD Director for Central Asia, Masaru Honma added, “With this transaction, the EBRD continues to support Mongolia’s private sector. Demand for new cars keeps increasing and Tavan Bogd’s new repair and maintenance centre will serve the country’s growing middle class”.
To date, the EBRD has invested over one billion USD into the Mongolian economy. The EBRD is currently the largest foreign investor in Mongolia. Nearly all EBRD-financed projects support private sector companies and banks.

About Rule of Selecting Third Millionth Mongolian
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 6 (MONTSAME) The third millionth citizen of Mongolia will be selected based on a statistical report on a ratio between the number of births and deaths.
A rule of selecting the third millionth Mongolian was introduced at online meeting co-organized Monday between the Ministry of Health and Sport, the National Statistical Committee (NSC) and authorities of all aimags.
Accordingly, a baby born through the cesarean surgery or a baby born abroad will not be included as the third millionth, the officials said. The citizenship of the parents of newborns will be considered on the information from the General Authority of Registration and on a list of the babies within the citizenship of Mongolia, and its sequence will be made according to Ulaanbaatar time.
The Minister of Health and Sport G.Shiilegdamba ordered the NSC and health departments and sections to quickly deliver the rule to the public, to make clear all statistics about births and about all women who are about to give birth.
The one millionth citizen of Mongolia was born in February of 1962, the second millionth--in 1988.

PM Becomes Honorary Member of Climbers’ Club
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 6 (MONTSAME) On January 1, the Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg climbed the Tsetsee Gun peak, the highest spot of Bogd Khaan Mountain, together with 60 people of the "Orgil ood" mountain climbers’ club.
Together with the members of the club, which has 150 members and eight thous.supporters, Mr Saikhanbileg welcomed the very first sun rising of this year. Having reached the top, the club’s leader gave the PM a card of honorary membership.
Former Premier N.Altankhuyag also became a honorary member of this club, last year.
Founded one year ago, the club has also S.Byambatsogt MP, an artist B.Amarsaikhan and other many celebrities.

Facilities’ Layouts Adopted of City
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, January 6 (MONTSAME) The Deputy Mayor responsible for Finance and Economics N.Bataa issued Tuesday a direction on organizing a development of detailed designs of the city’s new buildings and roads.
The direction confirms adopting of the detailed designs of building and roads to be completed in the course of 2013-2015 on the funding of Ulaanbaatar budget, also a development of the partial layouts of Nalaikh district technological park to be financed from the fund for feasibility studies, and general layouts, detailed designs of three, 2.8 and 2.5-kilometer roads to be run in Bayanzurkh district, and detailed designs of the sewage canals around the "UB Town" and "Wizard Town" of Khan-Uul district. The finance and state fund division was obligated to provide the investments, the Ulaanbaatar Department of Investments--to run Principal’s assessments over the general implementation of engineering and sewage works, The Ulaanbaatar Department for General Planning--to monitor the implementation of the partial layouts, the Road Department--to monitor the implementation of road constructions, and the Ulaanbaatar Department for Properties--to register the properties established by the investments and to run Principal’s assessments over the ownership and use of those properties.

Standing Committee on State Structure Meets
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 6 (MONTSAME) The parliamentary Standing committee on state structure ran Tuesday its this year's first meeting to discuss matters on sub-committees compositions' changes and other issues.
The committee had received from factions proposals concerning these changes in three out of four sub-committees. By the law, a number of the sub-committees’ members must not exceed a two third of the related Standing committee, and all sub-committees, except on ethics and on the immunity for MPs, can accept members only from the relevant Standing committees.
A majority of the Standing committee backed to remove J.Batzandan, R.Burmaa and B.Narankhuu from the sub-committees on the list of voters and on registration monitoring, and to enroll N.Batbayar, S.Bayartsogt, S.Batbold, O.Sodbileg and N.Enkhbold into these sub-committees.
The committee decided to free J.Batzandan, D.Bayartsogt and D.Bat-Erdene from the sub-committees on local governance, and to enroll in it S.Batbold, O.Sodbileg and N.Enkhbold. R.Burmaa and D.Erdenebat will be freed from the sub-committee on ethics, and S.Batbold, N.Enkhbold and D.Sarangerel MPs will replace them.
The same day, the Standing committee decided to set up a working group responsible for controlling the implementation of a law on Public Radio and Television and of a recommendation given by the Standing committee, and for drawing up amendment to the law on Public Radio and Television.

President Will Address Parliamentary Session
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 6 (MONTSAME) The leader of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj will address a plenary meeting of the parliamentary session this week, said the head of the Presidential Office P.Tsagaan Tuesday.
A provision 3 of Article 33 of the Constitution stipulates that the President may attend the sessions of parliament at his own discretion and submit proposals concerning vital issues of domestic and foreign policies. In accordance with the Presidential full powers, Mr Elbegdorj will deliver a message to the MPs, P.Tsagaan said.

Yo.Otgonbayar Becomes Head of Sub-Committee on Human Rights
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 6 (MONTSAME) At its meeting on Tuesday, the parliamentary Standing committee on justice discussed a matter on selecting a head of the sub-committee on human rights.
For this post, Yo.Otgonbayar MP was nominated from the Mongolian People’s Party’s (MPP) faction, and Ts.Oyunbaatar MP--from the “Justice” coalition’s faction. Profiles of these nominees were introduced by S.Byambatsogt and N.Battsereg. It was followed by speeches given by Ts.Oyunbaatar, B.Bat-Erdene and O.Enkhtuvshin.
By a poll of the Standing committee’s members, Mr Otgonbayar was elected the head of the parliamentary sub-committee on human rights, with 70% votes.
Then the committee ran a final discussion of a draft new wording of the law on state registration of legal subjects.  

Number of Livestock in UB Rises
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 6 (MONTSAME) The number of livestock in the capital city reached 385 thousand 364 heads in 2014, increasing 17.1% against 2013.
This was became clear thanks to the livestock and pets census. The number of sheep reached 158 thousand 853, cattle--76 thousand 570, horse--33 thousand 864, goat--115 thousand 923, and camel--154.
Baganuur district counted the largest number of livestock, whereas Bayangol district--the smallest number.  

Khan Bank was named as the Best Corporate Social Responsibility Entrepreneur of 2014
January 6 ( On December 27, 2014, Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI) organized the 18th Award Ceremony for Top Entrepreneur of the Year to bestow leading entities and businessmen who have made an enormous contribution to the social and economic developments of the country.
Within the framework of “Enterpreneur-2014”, Khan Bank was awarded Best Entrepreneur – Best Corporate Social Responsibility Implementer for the sixth time. 
Embracing principles of corporate social responsibility in its business and activities, Khan Bank established Khan Bank Foundation for the first time in banking sector to make considerable contributions to the economic and social development of Mongolia. Khan Bank Foundation administers funding support to programs aimed at educational and cultural advancement, assisting disadvantaged groups of society, community development and environmental protection. Since its establishment, Khan Bank Foundation invested MNT 2.5 billion for over 250 projects.
Projects including “National Campaign for Anti-Cancer”, “Khan Bank Scholarship program” and “Khan Bank Forest” which are organized by Khan Bank Foundation are known widely and highly expected by the society.
Khan Bank welcomed New Year with more inspiration to foster positive and meaningful changes to people’s lives. The Bank named as the “Best Bank in Mongolia” by Euromoney for the 7th time, proving itself as the leading bank in Mongolia not only with strong financial performance, but also with its Corporate Social Responsibility.
Khan Bank would like to thank all partner organizations for their cooperation and dedication of implementing CSR and is looking forward to 2015 with more anticipation and optimism for brighter future.

"My Country Like A Mosaic" Becomes Bestseller
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, January 6 (MONTSAME) This book of photographs, compiled and authored by the former Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag, has become one of the highest-grossing books, shortly after it was released in the bookstores a week ago.
This book is considered as the first step of many frameworks to be conducted for advertizing Mongolia to the West, having included scenic photographs of pristine landscapes, wild animals, birds, livelihoods, special features of Mongolians, and of snow-clad mountains.
Mr Altankhuyag also marketed his book “Towards the Summit” in 2013 to the Western countries. The book was published by Von Goethe Holding Co.Ltd. of Germany, one of the “Top 5” publishing companies in Europe.

”Sharyn Gol” to Commission Coal-Washing Plant
Ulaanbaatar, January 6 (MONTSAME) “Sharyn Gol” JSC intends to commission a 600 thousand TPA (tons per year) coal-washing plant within the first quarter of 2015, the “Today” newspaper reported Tuesday.
This plant has been built on the funding of six billion USD loan provided by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the equipment procurement has been executed by Parnaby Cyclones International Co.Ltd., of the UK.
The plant creates 24 workplaces. “Sharyn Gol” JSC exploits coal for domestic power use, and is commissioning the coal-washing plant with intent to commercialize its products into international market. According to the director in charge of the company’s business development and investment B.Otgonzul, the company is to export its products when it starts to operate on regular basis and global prices of coal are stabilized. "Initially, the plant will supply coal to the domestic cement producing plants that consume higher-quality coal. So far, Japan, S.Korea, Turkey and Russia submitted their interests to purchase coal. The exports are likely to commence in 2016-2017,” she said.

Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi will double coal export in 2015
January 6 ( In 2015, Erdenes Tavantolgoi plans to exploit 11 million tons of coal, twice as much as it exported in 2014.
Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi exported 5.7 million tons of coal in 2014, 2.9 times more than it did in 2013.
It also expects its coal export volume to increase. The company exported 2.3 million tons of coal in 2012, 1.6 million tons in 2013, and 5.7 million tons in 2014.
Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi led national coal export companies with its export volume in 2014. It supplied 10 percent of China's coal imports in 2014.

Ulaanbaatar Mayor struggles to keep his deputies
January 6 ( Following the 2015 budget law passed by parliament, four out of six deputies mayors of Ulaanbaatar will be dismissed.
But Ulaanbaatar City Administration held a meeting and decided it stands in opposition to dismissing its deputy mayors and advisors. Opposing the call for cutting positions, the Ulaanbaatar City Mayor is to file suit in court.
Just before the new year, Ulaanbaatar's Deputy Mayor in Charge of Financial and Economic Affairs N.Bataa announced that a suit would be filed with the Constitutional Court against the decision to cut positions in city government.
In the framework of the 2015 budget law, 345 positions will be eliminated from state, capital, and provincial government in order to save 2,960.4 million MNT. The 2015 budget law outlines that governors of provinces, sums, and districts should have only one deputy and no advisor. But it allows Ulaanbaatar City Administration to have two deputies.
Ulaanbaatar Mayor E.Bat-Uul submitted a resolution that city deputy mayors will be paid through projects and programs and not through the state budget.

Buyant Ukhaa-2 housing now available to the public
January 6 ( The Apartment Financing Corporation has announced that is now allowing the private sector to purchase apartments from the Buyant Ukhaa-2 housing project, which will be operational this year.
Opening the reasonably priced apartments to the public is taking place as it may be a source of funding to build the state's next affordable housing project.
Although the price of the apartments in Buyant Ukhaa-2 will be lower than current real estate market rates, they will be a bit higher than the price per square meter for apartments in the Buyant Ukhaa-1 housing project. The per square meter price of apartments in Buyant Ukhaa-1 housing project was 1,280 million MNT.
Potential buyers of apartments in Buyant Ukhaa-1 failed to meet mortgage loan requirements, which caused trouble in funding future projects, thus impacting the Apartment Financing Corporation's recent decision.

Highest Number of Newborns in Mongolia Registered in 2014
January 6 ( The people of Mongolia are expecting its third millionth citizen in January of 2015 and the National Statistical Office of Mongolia revealed the total population census as of December 31, 2014.
According to statistics, the total population reached 2,995,949 people as of December 31, 2014 and this number increased by 2.2% or 65,672 babies newly born compare to same period of previous year.
Moreover, a total of 82,839 babies were born in 2014, of which 1,124 babies were born overseas, that shows highest number in Mongolia’s statistical record. The highest numbers were registered in 1988 with 75,832 newborns and in 2013 with 79,780 newborn babies respectively.
It is estimated only 4,051 newborn babies to reach the total population of Mongolia with its three million people since December 31, 2014.

Day of Constitution to be celebrated
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 6 (MONTSAME) The 23rd anniversary of the current Constitution of Mongolia will be celebrated on January 13, and a programme has been already adopted to mark it. 
By the programme, a national championship for amateur chess players will take place on January 10 in the State House. On January 12, a ceremony will run to place the original copy of the Constitution in the Museum of Mongolian Statehood, then an opening of E-trip to the State House is expected.
Prize named after B.Chimid will be granted in the State House. Then wreaths will be laid to the Monument of Chingis Khaan, and a tournament of national wrestling will run.

Stock Exchange news for January 6
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 6 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades on Tuesday, a total of 24 thousand and 009 units of 27 JSCs were traded costing MNT 42 million 123 thousand and 154.
"Merex” /10 thousand and 360 units/, “Hermes center” /9,600 units/, “State Department Store” /747 units/, “Material impex” /566 units/ and "Mongol savkhi” /392 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value were "Suu” (MNT 14 million and 100 thousand), "Material impex” (MNT eight million 434 thousand and 060), “Darkhan nekhii” (MNT five million 897 thousand and 500), “Bayangol hotel” (MNT four million and 290 thousand) and "UB-BUK” (MNT two million and 142 thousand).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 411 billion 215 million 315 thousand and 671. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 14,616.43, decreasing 149.62 units or 1.01% against the previous day.

N.Togstsogt enters professional boxing
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 6 (MONTSAME) A State Honored Sportsman, silver medalist of Olympic Games and World Championships N.Togstsogt has started his career of the professional boxing.
The boxer reported his decision on his facebook page, posting a professional boxing card on it. Togstsogt has said that he wants to compete at the professional boxing arena.
According to some sources, Togstsogt has been invited by a team of a famous promoter Bob Arum, the president of the “Top Rank” company of professional fighting. He has not officially declared to the Mongolia's Olympic Boxing Federation his entering into the professional boxing yet.
Born in 1992, Togstsogt Nyambayar won a silver medal in the 2009 World Amateur Boxing Championships held in Milan, Italy and also captured a silver medal in the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games in the men’s flyweight category.

Pensions and wages won’t be increased in 2015
By Ch. Khaliun
January 7 (UB Post) Minister of Finance J.Erdenebat spoke to, and said that it is impossible to increase pensions and wages in 2015. The previous cabinet reported that the 500 billion MNT for increasing wages and pensions was cut due to budget-saving amendments.
The Minister said, “The economy has expanded, we don’t have the ability to increase the budget. We can’t finance additional expenses, so it’s impossible to increase wages and pensions until the economy has recovered.”
J.Erdenebat also said that the budget’s revenue and expenses are both being reduced by 905 billion MNT following amendments to the 2015 budget. The Mongolian People’s Party (MPP) and the Democratic Party (DP) agreed to not increase national debt when they established a coalition government, and now the law on budget sustainability is being amended, which means that the nation’s debt will reach 70 percent of GDP.
The Finance Minister explained, “When the two parties were establishing a coalition government, the total amount of national debt was 49 percent of GDP. When I became finance minister, it was 53 percent of GDP, and currently the debt is 55.2 percent of GDP.”
J.Erdenebat said that the Cabinet decided to increase the debt ceiling to 70 percent of GDP, because short term commercial loans make up the largest percentage of debt structure, and added that it will be difficult to finance big projects through short term loans.
“The Cabinet decided to issue a loan guarantee to entrepreneurs under the Parliament’s control, to support economic expansion policy and business, if the debt ceiling was increased. But the final decision will be made after a discussion with the parties and coalitions in the Parliament,” said the Finance Minister.
“The debt ceiling and budget deficit have already exceeded their limits in accordance with the law. Currently, the deficit is at 3.4 percent, but if we add bonds out of the budget and the financial investments of the price stabilizing program, the budget deficit will reach nine percent,” said the Minister.
The Minister added that the foreign financial organizations and countries have suggested taking long term concessional loans with up to two percent interest over 20 years.
“If we want to expand the economy, we have to use long term concessional loans, because it might take a long time until the projects financed by short term, high interest loans will benefit the economy. This year we planned to provide project financing of 400 billion MNT from the state budget, but the debt service payments have reached 700 billion MNT, so we need to change debt structure and change the short term commercial loans into long term concessional loans, but the parties will decide this issue,” said Erdenebat.
In order to amend the law on budget sustainability, two-thirds of MPs have to vote in support of the change, but according to some sources, the majority does not support amending the law.
The Finance Minister said, “The law on sustainability has to be amended, we will just have to decide if it should be amended as it is now – namely, having a debt ceiling of 55 percent and budget deficit of five percent, or to increase the debt ceiling. But we have no other choice than amending the law. If we don’t amend the law, all submitted projects will violate the law.”

MTU starts tripartite negotiations
By Ch. Khaliun
January 7 (UB Post) Yesterday, officials from the Mongolian Trade Union (MTU) reported that the tripartite negotiations on labor and society between the MTU, the government, and the Mongolian Employer’s Federation (MEF) for 2015 to 2016 will be held.
President of the MTU Kh.Amgalanbaatar stated that there are four major issues that should be decided through the negotiations.
Kh.Amgalanbaatar said, “We asked the Cabinet six times to start negotiations and finally, today, we are starting negotiation. The agenda is specific, because it is being made when the nation is facing an economic crisis. The MTU believes that the Cabinet’s policy is not right. People’s interests and the nation’s interests should be equal. People’s lives are difficult and their purchasing power has decreased. We have to properly choose measures to survive the crisis. We will solve four issues during this negotiation.”
Items on the agenda include:
1. approving the law on indexing wages and pensions, and the law on pricing,
2. increasing wages, pensions and allowances (the MTU suggests increases at a minimum of 60 percent),
3. ensuring employment guarantees,
4. supporting the MTU’s contributions to measures against the economic crisis and creating a joint working group.
The tripartite negotiations were held yesterday at 3:00 p.m. at the Ministry of Labor, and the MTU’s President expressed his hope that the issues up for discussion will be resolved in favor of the MTU.
The UB Post will provide more about this story as it progresses.

Dead girl’s attacker sentenced to three years in prison
By M. Zoljargal
January 7 (UB Post) Citizen G.Altankhuu who was accused of murdering his girlfriend was acquitted, but received a three year sentence for intentionally causing major injuries on Monday.
The District Criminal Primary Court No.2 announced the sentence after many murder and injury trials. The trial was previously rescheduled several times but was postponed until Monday at G.Altankhuu’s lawyer’s request.
The court announced the sentence for the injuries he caused as the Forensic Hospital’s autopsy proved that the injury which G.Altankhuu inflicted to the victim was not the cause of the victim’s death.
The lawyer and family members of the victim did not agree with the decision and said they believe the Forensic Hospital submitted fake results.
“The Independent Authority Against Corruption investigated the doctors through our request, but annulled the inspection as they didn’t find enough evidence that proved that the doctors submitted fake results. We faced many problems before the trial. For instance, organizations didn’t accept our request. When we requested to have a look at the patient history file, the National Trauma and Orthopedic Research Center refused to show it to us. Therefore, the trial ended up sentencing G.Altankhuu for only health damages,” M.Arvintaria, the lawyer of the victim, told
Suspect G.Altankhuu apologized to the victim’s family. “I apologize for drinking together and fighting with the victim. But I didn’t cause her death,” he said.
The victim’s mother’s health has significantly deteriorated since the death of her daughter. The victim’s parents live in the countryside and couldn’t attend the trial.
The Prosecutor’s Office transferred the case to the court as G.Altankhuu swas charged with murder and for intentionally inflicting injuries the victim, which are cited in the Criminal Code’s Clauses No.91 and 98.
The criminal case was initiated as the suspect was being accused of allegedly causing the death of the victim by repeatedly beating the victim on multiple occasions which caused malfunctioning of her gall bladder. Reportedly the injury further deteriorated several of the victim’s organs and caused her death, according to preliminary investigations.
However, forensic doctors reported that G.Altankhuu caused minor injuries, while alcohol poisoning resulted in liver disorder which caused the death, according to four forensic analysis.
M.Arvintaria reported that the case will be put forth to the Appeal Court.

‘2014 was a productive year for Arkhangai Province’
January 7 (UB Post) Zuunii Medee spoke with the Head of Arkhangai Province Council Ch.Munkhbat about last year’s achievements.
The Province Council is responsible for supervising activities of the heads. What proposals and ideas were initiated in 2014?
We made decisions and put controls on the activities that were directed to the public. 2014 was full of improvements. We paid more attention on citizens’ living and working environment. We are satisfied with what we have done for our citizens last year.
It is clear that your province has done many development projects. Among them, I would like to highlight the Street Project. When did you start this project?
Our province center was connected to Ulaanbaatar through a hard-paved road. There are paved roads throughout eight soums and we don’t have any shortage of electricity. So it was not a big trouble for us to launch Street Project.  Within the frame of the project, a 8.6 km road was built. We were encouraged just by seeing these enhancements.
Former Minister of Economic Development N.Batbayar was responsible for the implementation of this project. He was elected from your province. The public views these improvements as his election promise. What is your thought on this?
The public sees this issue from different perspectives. The most important thing is that we executed the plan for the project. There weren’t any priorities the minister gave us specifically. Our land and plans were ready at the time.
Road signs and markings in Arkhnagai Province look much better. How much time did you spend on this?
We executed 14 complex works within this project, including a highway, pavements, a bicycle road, crossing for disabled people, green areas, lightings, water drainage systems and camera monitoring. I think that we could establish a very concrete foundation for development.
What will be the biggest development works of this year?
We have a necessity to build a thermal power plant that can enhance the capacity of the waste water treatment plant. As our province expands, more problems require solutions.
New apartments have been built recently in your province. Do you have a lot of demand for the thermal power plant?
Nine steam boilers are used in the center of the province. We set a goal to open a thermal power plant by 2016. We have been spending a lot on supplying coal since we don’t have a coal mine. One effective way to solve this issue is to use underground hot springs for heating. We are able to save a specific amount from the cost if we can use hot springs to heat 30 percent of the apartments.
Apartments for 36 and 48 households were ready to use last year. In recent years, apartments for 744 households were built. Our work is progressing without trouble since the planning and infrastructure have been very well made. Soon we will receive a sports hall with 320 seats and a drama theater with 600 seats.
Your province has set a goal to enroll all children in kindergartens. How are you going to manage this?
Over 64 percent of the children in our province attend kindergartens. We want to increase this number to 100 percent. We are eliminating the old system where people expand the ground floors of apartments into small shops, pubs and restaurants. We are going to settle kindergartens in the ground floors of all apartments. Building kindergartens for 150 children require over a billion MNT, but utilizing ground floors of apartments will cut costs substantially.
Have you started this work yet?
Currently, ground floors of three apartments are being furnished as kindergartens.
Livestock census is being held all over the country and your province leads the country through livestock count. Have you received any preliminary results?
In the preliminary results, we led the census. But it is critical to use livestock benefit in the market or find efficient pasture managements. We began making pasture management in seven soums. Households who have more than 1,000 livestock are advised to move to lands which are not overgrazed.
It seems that you are able to foster your economy just on your livestock products. What are you doing to develop this sector?
We adhere to only one policy to foster our economy. It is not to use mineral resources. We have uranium, gold, silver and precious metal deposits. It is important to produce livestock originated products. Also our natural formation gives us an opportunity to develop the tourism sector. 
Source: Zuunii Medee

D.Altankhuyag: Over 400 people worked on ‘The Nutcracker’
January 7 (UB Post) Ulaanbaatar residents were able to enjoy “The Nutcracker” ballet at the end of 2014, which was very well-received. State Honored Artist and Second Soloist of Boston Ballet D.Altankhuyag, revised the production of the ballet himself and danced as the Nutcracker.
The ballet was first staged in Mongolia in 1982 at the State Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet. This time the performance was unique as world class costumes, stage decorations, and crafts specifically made by the production and wardrobe staff of Boston Ballet were brought to the Mongolian stage.
The following is an interview with D.Altankhuyag, the man who put together “The Nutcracker”, whose staging in Mongolia saw sold out seats for seven days, about the ballet and his work.  
The audience could see how actively involved you were in developing ballet in Mongolia, even though your professional work is based in a foreign country. Can you talk more about it?
I am one of the first professional ballet dancers trained in Mongolia. I studied at the Music and Dance College from 1993 to 2000, and graduated as a ballet dancer. Although my group had 24 students initially, only 15 graduated. Now five to six of them are actively dancing. Ballet is a costly art and I am very glad that the state is paying special attention to developing classical arts and ballet in Mongolia. Not many countries are supporting classical arts like our home country at this time and this is why I believe it is a perfect time to widen the range of classical arts audiences, as well as train and guide young dancers.
“The Nutcracker” showed that Mongolian audiences are getting more interested in ballet. Do you agree?
Definitely. The theater was full of audience. “The Nutcracker” is one of the three ballet scores composed by Tchaikovsky and the ballet is performed throughout all continents, especially before the New Year.
However, half a decade has passed since classical arts were introduced to Mongolia and it is doubtful whether all children in Mongolia know about “The Nutcracker”. Only a few out of about 200 children who danced in the ballet knew about “The Nutcracker”. Knowledge about ballet and the world classics help children obtain high artistic and aesthetic senses. Thankfully, more children are picking up the habit of watching “The Nutcracker” before New Year celebrations.
I am sure all the stage decorations and ballet costumes for “The Nutcracker” cost a fortune to bring them to Mongolia. Can you tell us about them?
We have brought them from Boston Ballet in five shipping containers with 40-tons of capacity each. Twelve ballet dancers from Japan performed in “The Nutcracker” through my invitation, while the Mongolian team consisted of over 400 staff, including ballet dancers, musicians, stage lighting technicians and back-stage organizers of the State Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet.
Competition in the Mongolian classical arts industry needs to be heightened. We have tried our best to stage a world class performance for Mongolian audiences. The arts industry must be always a step ahead of the society and art stages must be the best of all. That is why fashion designers should be challenging themselves in producing classical arts costumes, same as painters who can also work on painting stages. It is not easy of course, but this is how they can develop themselves and the industry more. I wish many local arts organizations see this necessity.
The Mongolian Ballet Development Foundation was responsible for organizing the revision works of the production. I also appreciate support of the Ulaanbaatar City Mayor’s Office and Ministry of Education and Science. It would have been impossible to stage the ballet without our collaboration. We rehearsed non-stop before all seven performance to show the best possible performance.
How much did “The Nutcracker” make in revenue?
We didn’t plan to earn profit from the performances from the start. A total of 150,000 USD was spent for the ballet’s costumes and stage decorations, while shippings cost 40,000 USD, plus we paid 41 million MNT to the Mongolian Customs Service to receive the shippings. It is impossible to meet this high expense with the income from only seven performances. Ticket sales couldn’t obviously repay the expense, but it was helpful of course. The ticket prices ranged from 20,000 to 100,000 MNT.
There were many people who couldn’t afford the tickets even if they wanted to watch “The Nutcracker”. But the value of the ballet should be set high in order to stage the best possible performances. Therefore, we conducted a program which enabled children from low-income families to watch “The Nutcracker” free of charge. Yokozuna D.Dagvadorj bought tickets for the children and we are sure that the ballet left very fond memories for the young audience to remember in the future. We hope that they will look forward to watching “The Nutcracker” before every New Year, wearing the best outfit they have.
Just as classical arts influence children in a very positive way, we are sure that it will impact the society and the development of Mongolia. Classical arts should be accessible to more people in the society.
You said over 200 children danced in “The Nutcracker”. How many of them do you believe will choose to become professional ballet dancers?
They were students from schools located in both the city center and in the outskirts of the city. They were all very interested and enthusiastic about having a part in “The Nutcracker”. Only few of them will enter the world of professional ballet. But people shouldn’t limit their career within only one major, but challenge themselves in two to three fields.
Ballet seems like an art that requires only the perfect. What is your opinion?
Each performance can reach the audience to the fullest only when complete with excellent skills of dancers, costumes, stage decorations, sounding, music and lighting. Ballet doesn’t leave same impression when you watch it on TV. Ballet is an art that attracts you more as you watch it live. As for requiring the perfect, an idea of perfection is a relative issue.
How did ballet influence you?
As an artist, I am an emotional person. I work in a very joyful environment where I see and feel only the bright and beautiful things. Perhaps that means I might not be witnessing too much of the darker sides and hardships of life. Ballet forms a beautiful environment, but it embodies very simple and free air too. It is simple, yet an elegant art.
I heard people saying that you were listed as one of the best eight ballet dancers in the world. Can you tell us about this?
One of the founding fathers of modern ballet and a celebrated choreographer, Roland Petit, toured the world and performed his finest ballet performances. I was lucky to be named as one of the eight dancers he chose for his ballet as guest artists in several of his projects as part of the tour.  I travelled to many places through the tour with him. The talk that calls me as one of the eight best ballet dancers comes from this tour.
Performing arts, especially the ballet industry, is believed to be very disciplined and difficult. What do you think about it?
It is described as such not because it is very difficult, but because it requires a very strict discipline. Dancers have to master an excellent technique in order to avoid injuries, as well as be skilled to clearly convey the choreographer’s idea to the audience.
When do ballet dancers normally retire? 
Opera singers’ voice gets stronger as time goes by, while ballet gets harder as you age. All muscles of the body actively work when ballet dancing and your muscles weaken over time. We are the same as athletes. Until 40, dancers can perform without a problem and injuries heal quickly. Many still dance after turning 40, but the average age for retirement for ballet dancers is 40. They follow their other passions and careers from then on.
You invite world famous dancers to Mongolia and dance together with them for local audiences. But there must be things that they are not content with when they visit Mongolia. How do you feel about it?
Though the state is supporting ballet, several things remain in critical condition. The stage of the State Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet is so small that a good ballet dancer might go to the other end of the stage in one big leap. Foreign dancers comment on the stage’s size when they visit. We dancers don’t have any other choice but to cope with it. But we have to change this fact soon. If we want to properly develop ballet in Mongolia, a big stage is what we need first. There is no stage big enough for a rehearsal of 180 children at the same time. The children had to rehearse on the stage with different schedules and it was hard for us. I apologized to their parents. But I believe this problem will soon be addressed.
How long are you planning to stay at Boston Ballet?
I’ m not sure. I came here in mid-November. It was very hard to acquire the permission of leave from the company. But I managed to get it as “The Nutcracker” was a project we have been talking about for two years and we purchased the ballet’s costumes from Boston Ballet. Otherwise, I couldn’t have been excused from work that easily. Boston Ballet staged over 40 ballet performances in total during my stay in Mongolia, while I performed only seven concerts here. But I think the rehearsal and preparation for the seven performances almost equaled to that of 70 concerts.
You have two daughters. Do they go to ballet school?
My daughters study at Boston Ballet dance programs. It is important for them to be in an artistic environment more than becoming professional ballet dancers. The programs offer aesthetically and intellectually educational classes which are suitable for children. I have a very positive view about the classes.
You always perform on the stage. But how does it feel when you watch concerts sitting among the audience?
I watched the last performance of “The Nutcracker” on an audience seat. I go to many different concerts in other countries. Sitting among the audience seems very nice to me. I can be carefree and calm there.
I heard that you danced in “The Nutcracker” about 250 times before. Is that true?
It is more than 250 times. This number was counted on average since I joined Boston Ballet in 2008. The number would be even higher if I include the times I danced in “The Nutcracker” in Mongolia, Europe and Japan since 2000. 

‘A Thought’
By B. Narantuya
January 7 (UB Post) The artist B.Erdenebat is presenting a solo exhibition at Blue Moon Art Gallery. Over 10 sculptures and 40 paintings are being presented through January 14.
Besides creating sculptures and paintings, B.Erdenebat also researches Mongolian history and linguistics.
The following is an interesting interview with the artist. He hopes for Mongolians to learn from their ancestors and to never forget the great history behind their nation.
Could you please tell our readers about your exhibition?
It is all about Mongolian philosophy and wisdom. I tried to express, through my artwork, the Mongolian heritage that was handed down from our ancestors. Since we have a nomadic lifestyle, we differ from settlements. Nowadays, the connection to our ancestors’ spirits is expanding rapidly. The spirits tell us about things we never knew and teach us a lot.
The horse is a sacred animal for Mongolians, and we always have great pride and tenderness for it. Most of my paintings include the images of horses. Through my artistic creatures, I wanted to express and show Mongolian philosophy.
The exhibition that I am presenting today includes a lot of work, research, and thoughts over many years. That’s why I named it “A Thought”. As for the colors, I used sharp and colorful shades.
It has been 100 years since Suprematism (a movement in abstract art) originated. It was founded by Kazimir Malevich in Russia. Through his painting “Black Square”, which is his most famous piece, he started a big revolution in humanity. My painting called “The White Horse of Thoughts” includes Mongolian Orientalism, following the rules of Kazimir Malevich.
In some of my paintings, I included a nationalistic vision, for example, “Mongolian Stamp”. I wanted to show how powerful and mysterious Mongols are. There are four horse hoof prints in the four corners. I took the idea from the times of Uguudei Khaan, when Mongolians used to stamp a horse hoof or shape of a bird to seal letters. In my painting, horse hooves are locking the circle. It means that Mongolians lead the intellect of the universe.
The aim of Chinggis Khan was to unite all nations under one empire. He thought that human beings could live peaceful if they were all united. In the times of Chinggis Khan, war was the only way to solve problems. He developed the best tactics in military intelligence and organization, 90 percent of which is used worldwide by armies today. Chinggis Khan used to value and respect the different cultures and religions of nations.
In your opinion, what is a nationalist vision?
Honestly, I’ve had times when I didn’t know the exact meaning of it. I think I knew, a little. But as time went by, and after I read and explored a lot, I understood it. The meaning of nationalism isn’t about jingoism, but it is all about respecting, valuing, and developing our great heritage, which is knowledge passed down from our ancestors, as well as contributing to the nation.
How can people obtain that nationalist thought or vision?
Tradition and cultural heritage are the most important. One of the greatest things in Mongolia is home schooling. When children hear stories, folktales, and traditions from their grandparents, they learn how to love their homeland. I was raised in that way too.
What books would you recommend to young people?
It is hard to force a person; their interests will dominate. Reading books is the best way to obtain knowledge. I would recommend that youth learn Mongolian script and read books written in native Mongolian script.

Probing the state’s account
January 7 (UB Post) The Glass Account Law, initiated by President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj, has been active since the beginning of the new year. All ministries and agencies have to report their glass account information through their own official websites, in accordance with the law.
Most ministries are now ready to begin publicly reporting their financial decisions and stances on the disbursement and spending of fiscal funds. The Ministry of Environment and Tourism, the Ministry of Mining, the Ministry of Construction and Urban Development, the Ministry of Labor, the Ministry of Human Development and Social Welfare, Ministry of Roads and Transportation, and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism have all updated their websites with a “Transparency” section, while the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science have launched “Glass Account” sections. The newly founded Ministry of Industry hasn’t launched a ministry website yet and will have to hasten this work to avoid being in violation of the law.
The new sections will provide updates on decisions related to human resources, procurement, and fiscal funds, immediately after they have been made. It’s also possible to see some project plans for 2015. For example, you will find a list of events, construction plans, and investment plans that will be financed in 2015 by Development Bank, under repayment terms from the budget, and ministerial budget executions made in 2014.
The Ministry of Energy disclosed and publicized their most detailed recurring expenditure report among all ministries. Their 2014 report states that the ministry spent 675,000 MNT on publishing invitations for an energy sector forum, 2,372,000 MNT on government funded competitions, 5 million MNT on purchasing a one-year license for Kaspersky Antivirus software, 49,000 MNT on purchasing computer mice for their Monitoring, Evaluation and Internal Auditing Department, and 1,200,000 MNT on getting a credential produced, along with other expenses. Anyone who visits the website of the Ministry of Energy will also get to see which organization’s accounts these recurring expenditures were transferred to.
With these new transparent glass account systems, anyone interested can now monitor how much money ministries and agencies are spending on disbursement, which company has made the most from supplying agencies with their products and services, and find out if those products and services could have been provided at a more affordable price. They can even broach the topic of why a large sum of money has been spent on a single employee’s tuition fees.
Enforcing the Glass Account Law has presented media organizations with new topics for inquiry and leads. State agencies have also started reporting their 2014 expenses on their transparency and glass account pages. For instance, the Authority for Fair Competition and Consumer Protection has disclosed that it spent 5,882,940 MNT on domestic business travel, 33,842,203 MNT on international business travel, and 4,423,384 MNT on receiving foreign guests and representatives. The Procurement Agency published that it spent 147 million MNT on buying cars, 97 million MNT on computer equipment and parts, and 156 million MNT on furniture.
The transparency reports of most state-owned and parastatal organizations, as well as state-owned industries, have become available too. MIAT Mongolian Airlines, randomly chosen as an example, has revealed its 2014 expenditures. The company reports that it spent 94 million MNT on sheep carcasses and beef rounds, 31 million MNT on bottled water, 818 million MNT on wine, and 106 million MNT on paper cups. It also reported spending 28 million MNT on paper, and provided detailed information about contacting three companies for procurement; one of them didn’t offer prices, and another company was disqualified because of its poor paper quality.
A new website,, has been launched to provide information about the glass accounts of all government organizations. Overall, fiscal investment has reached 1.9 billion MNT and integrated recurrent expenditure has reached 5.5 billion MNT. On this website, sections have been created to share information about the income and expenditure transactions of government organizations valued at more than five to ten million MNT, large transactions made by state-owned legal entities, tender evaluation processes, the government’s domestic and foreign debt, and how donations and aid were spent. Inputting data is all that’s left for this website.
This wonderful website will expose all the financial decisions and other crucial information about ministries to the public and be updated regularly. Everyone can start monitoring and probing government spending once the ministries and agencies update their data.

Researchers oppose integration with universities
January 7 (UB Post) Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg announced that he would disband some scientific institutions and transfer others to operate under universities, in relation to state budget cuts. In particular, state budget funding for this sector tends to be low, and scholars and researchers at the Mongolian Academy of Sciences protested the PM’s decision on December 30, at Chinggis Square.
The protestors held posters saying: “The government doesn’t have the right to ruin science,” “Stop denying scholars,” “How will these parliamentarians be accountable to the world’s scholars, when they are hurting Mongolian science?,” “Solve this issue from a scientists’ perspective,” “Stop playing with science – the key to Mongolian development,” “Prime Minister, don’t repeat your mistakes,” “Scientists are not the reason for the economic crisis,” “Children are the pride of families and scholars are the pride of a nation,” “Science is the foundation of an independent country,” “Demolish the Government for Solutions,” and “A very small amount of money is budgeted to science, but its creativity is limitless.”
During their demonstration, representatives of the protesters delivered a statement to the PM. In this statement they mentioned that the state’s attempts to confuse the public are out of control. They accused some people of having conflicting interests and making very superficial evaluations of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences.
They also noted, “Minister of Education and Science L.Gantumur is going to cut the budget that was dedicated only to the science sector. Mongolian science is not developing very effectively. Under the name of joining science institutions and universities, Mongolian science academies and institutions will be closed soon. This change will be a setback for future generations of Mongolians and their intellectual capacity – for decades and decades. We all see that poorly educated officials are influencing some ministers to make money from using the buildings and lands of research institutions.”
There are 20 institutions under the Mongolian Academy of Sciences and two laboratories, four institutions under the Mongolian State University of Agriculture, five institutions at the Mongolian University of Science and Technology, and two institutions at the Ministry of Health and Sports. There were 70 research institutes in 1997 and the institutes were combined following government regulations.
The head of the Confederation of Trade Unions at the Mongolian Academy of Sciences, P.Bayar, is opposed to combining institutions or dissolving them. Before, the Institute of Economics and Mathematics, Institute of Law, and the Institute of Market Study were integrated with universities, but experts there are not able to conduct surveys now.
The Confederation of Trade Unions at the Mongolian Academy of Sciences is an organization authorized to protect the welfare of its employees, as well as their rights and interest. The confederation receives 26 billion MNT, equivalent to 0.17 percent of GDP. According to a 1998 clause in the law, science academy workers must receive funds equal to 1.5 percent of GDP. Since 1998, at most they have received funds equal to 0.3 percent of GDP. Experts and researches say they have been tolerating this inequality and continuing their work.
P.Bayar explained, “The state might issue funding for us in 2015, but if we integrate with universities, the state will not pass a budget for us in 2016. It is impossible for the education sector, which receives its funding from student tuition fees to finance our sector. Moreover, 1,000 staff from the Academy of Sciences face losing their jobs. We hope that this issue will be resolved in our favor.”
Source: Daily news

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