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Anand Tumurtogoo

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
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About Anand
Anand Tumurtogoo is a seasoned journalist with a passion for visual journalism. With a keen eye for detail and a dedication to uncovering the truth, Anand has contributed to numerous media outlets. He has worked with AFP, Reuters, FP, ProPublica. His work is driven by a commitment to informing and empowering readers through impactful storytelling.
English Mongolian
Video Package (Web / Broadcast) Interview (Video / Broadcast) Vox Pop
Business Politics Current Affairs

Title: Hundreds flee homes after flooding in Mongolia capital Hundreds of people in Mongolia's capital have fled their homes as heavy flooding inundated basement apartments, with authorities placing the city on high alert on July 5 2023.

Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia, battles with some of the worst air quality in the world - millions of citizens rely upon burning raw coal to endure some of the harshest winters on earth. I worked as the field producer and the second DP.

Mongolia making achingly slow progress in rare earth elements insiders say

30 May 2023  |  www.intellinews.com
Mongolia's potential in rare earth element (REE) mining is hindered by several obstacles, including inadequate policy and legislation. Despite possessing significant REE deposits, progress beyond exploration is limited. Interest from countries like Germany and South Korea is seen as mere gestures against China's monopoly. Mongolia's mining sector has a poor track record, with issues in coal sales and the Oyu Tolgoi project. The government faces challenges in mining and refining REEs, environmental concerns, and public backlash. Only four REE ventures are seeking investment, with no active production. Technological expertise and substantial investment are required for progress. China, controlling most global REE processing, shows little interest in Mongolian REEs. However, advancements in lithium mining, particularly by ION Energy, offer some hope for the sector.

Melting Ice in Mongolia Reveals Ancient Artefacts and Threatens Reindeer Herding Nomadic Lifestyle

01 Apr 2023  |  South China Morning Post
The article discusses the impact of climate change on the Dukha people, a group of reindeer herders in northern Mongolia, and how the melting ice is revealing artefacts that provide insights into their history. Researchers Julia Clark and William Taylor conducted archaeological research in the summer of 2018 and discovered artefacts such as parts of an antique fishing rod. The rapid melting of ice patches, which used to remain year-round, is threatening the Dukha's way of life and the survival of the reindeer population. The article also touches on the broader effects of climate change in Mongolia, including increased temperatures, degraded grazing land, and the challenges faced by nomadic herders. Artefacts found by the researchers have been stored at the National Museum of Mongolia for future study, with hopes of creating a museum exhibit to raise awareness about the urgency of melting ice patches.

Mongolian government accused of rushing through veiled law that dismantles freedom of speech

24 Jan 2023  |  www.intellinews.com
The Mongolian government is under fire for passing a law titled 'Protection of Human Rights on Social Media' without public debate or parliamentary procedures, which critics argue undermines freedom of speech. The law, which includes broad clauses that could restrict online expression, was passed with overwhelming support from the ruling Mongolian People's Party, with only two lawmakers opposing it. Civil rights organizations and legal experts are concerned about the potential for state regulation of social media and the impact on fact-checking organizations. The law's passage bypassed democratic processes and may violate existing laws, with the only remaining legal challenges being a presidential veto or a constitutional court ruling. Critics fear the law will be used to stifle dissent, especially with the next parliamentary election approaching in June 2024.

Mongolian Visuals – Capturing the City in Rapid Changes

01 Jan 2023  |  blogs.ubc.ca
Mend-Amar Baigalmaa discusses the rapid urban changes in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, and the loss of cultural heritage, such as the demolition of the Natural History Museum. He and his wife created Mongolian Visuals, a social media page, to share photographs and memories of the city, particularly for the younger generation. Ulaanbaatar has a rich history, but recent urban planning has led to increased smog and traffic congestion. Baigalmaa, born in Germany and moved to Ulaanbaatar at two, witnessed the city's transition from communism to capitalism. He observed changes in transportation, fashion, and music. The preservation of visual records from the communist era contrasts with the loss of images from the early democratic period. Mongolian Visuals, now an NGO, aims to raise awareness of intellectual property and promote urban culture. Baigalmaa, a graphic designer and multimedia specialist, also co-hosts a podcast and plans to pursue a master's degree in urban culture and photography.

PM’s attempt to quell Mongolia’s ‘coal mafia’ protests drowned out by livid crowds

Mongolians attempt to storm Government Palace as protests over coal profits scandal swell

05 Dec 2022  |  intellinews.com
Mongolian youth protested in Ulaanbaatar against officials accused of embezzling state coal export profits, with some attempting to storm the Government Palace. The unrest prompted an emergency parliamentary session and the use of force to disperse protesters. The scandal involves over $12.8 billion in stolen coal shipment profits. Despite promises from Prime Minister Oyun-Erdene Luvsannamsrai to address inflation and living standards, the situation has not improved, leading to increased frustration and demands for accountability. Names of some individuals involved were released, but protesters seek broader accountability and action.

Mongolia protesters demand government name officials accused of thieving state coal export profits

05 Dec 2022  |  www.intellinews.com
Dozens of protesters in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, demanded the government reveal names of officials accused of embezzling MNT 44 trillion from state coal export profits. The protest saw Christmas trees burnt and Peace Avenue blocked. Rumors suggest the prime minister acknowledged the theft, which could aid Mongolia during economic hardships. The government held a press conference where Economic Development Minister Khurelbaatar Chimed confirmed investigations into coal theft involving powerful officials and identified five former directors of Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi as suspects. The CEO of Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi, Gankhuyag Battulga, was dismissed without explanation in October. The government faces increased pressure to tackle corruption amid rising inflation.

Mongolia protesters demand government name officials accused of thieving state coal export profits

04 Dec 2022  |  www.intellinews.com
Protesters in Ulaanbaatar demanded the government reveal officials accused of embezzling $12.8bn in state coal export profits. The demonstration, sparked by rumors of stolen coal profits, saw Christmas trees burnt and main roads blocked. The government, under pressure due to economic hardships and rising inflation, held a press conference addressing the allegations. Minister Khurelbaatar Chimed indicated involvement of powerful individuals and officials, with five former directors of Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi identified as suspects. The CEO of Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi, Gankhuyag Battulga, was dismissed in October without explanation.

Mongolian ministers under fire for failing to quickly explain appearance of Russian armed forces on city streets

01 Aug 2022  |  www.intellinews.com
Mongolia is hosting over 1,000 Russian military personnel for the Selenge-2022 joint field military exercise in Khovd province. The appearance of Russian military vehicles in Ulaanbaatar has sparked public concern, with some fearing a Russian takeover. Mongolia's Defence Ministry clarified that the vehicles are for the exercise, which is part of routine cooperation with various countries. Former Mongolian PM Bayar Sanj criticized the government for not being transparent about the exercise, urging the Mongolian People's Party to be more straightforward with the public.

Mongolian ministers under fire for failing to quickly explain appearance of Russian armed forces on city streets

28 Jul 2022  |  www.intellinews.com
Mongolia is set to host over 1,000 Russian military personnel for the Selenge-2022 joint field military exercise in Khovd province from August 1 to 15. The arrival of Russian troops and military vehicles in Ulaanbaatar has raised concerns among the public, exacerbated by Russia's war in Ukraine. Mongolian Foreign Minister Battsetseg Batmunkh clarified that such exercises are routine and part of Mongolia's defence cooperation with multiple nations. The exercise may be linked to Russia’s International Army Games, but clarity on this has not been provided. Former Mongolian PM Bayar Sanj criticized the Mongolian People's Party for a lack of transparency regarding the exercise.

Uproar in Mongolia as development bank reveals scale of risky loans and NPLs

14 Feb 2022  |  intellinews.com
Mongolians are outraged after learning that about half of the Development Bank of Mongolia's loan portfolio consists of risky or non-performing loans, with many borrowers being prominent business leaders with government ties. The bank, which was established to support Mongolia's growth through exports and import replacement projects, has a total loan portfolio of MNT 3.1 trillion, with significant portions under court action or investigation. The government has pledged to support the bank and take measures against irresponsible borrowers, as the country faces the challenge of repaying an $800 million samurai bond by the end of the next year.

Mongolia's environment minister fired for failing to solve Ulaanbaatar's air pollution dilemma

18 Jan 2022  |  www.intellinews.com
Mongolia's Prime Minister Oyun-Erdene Luvsannamsrai dismissed Environment Minister Urtnasan Nyamjav due to her inadequate efforts to address Ulaanbaatar's severe air pollution. Urtnasan, perceived as underqualified, was replaced by Mendsaikhan Zagdjav, with Mayor Sumiyabazar Dolgorsuren tasked to tackle the smog issue. Ulaanbaatar's pollution, exacerbated by coal heating and geographical factors, has led to health concerns and reduced fertility rates. Despite a government ban on raw coal and introduction of refined coal briquettes, pollution worsened, and Urtnasan's last effort was collaborating with the EU on the Switch Off Air Pollution initiative.

EBRD celebrates 15 years in Mongolia

20 Oct 2021  |  www.intellinews.com
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) marks 15 years of operations in Mongolia, having invested $2.1bn in various sectors, including micro and small firms. The EBRD aims to further invest in infrastructure and green economy projects. Key initiatives include loans to local banks and companies, support for non-extractive industries, and the development of Ulaanbaatar under the Green Cities programme. Future plans involve green affordable housing and electric public transport projects, ensuring continued engagement in Mongolia's development.

Only tough options for Afghans looking to escape north or west

27 Aug 2021  |  intellinews.com
The UNHCR anticipates up to half a million Afghan refugees by year-end, urging neighboring countries to keep borders open. Despite this, Central Asian countries, Iran, and Turkey show reluctance to accept Afghan refugees. Iran's official policy welcomes refugees, but reports indicate otherwise, with an underground smuggling operation emerging. Turkey, hosting the most refugees globally, faces domestic opposition and nationalist violence against migrants, complicating potential EU deals for hosting Afghan refugees. Uzbekistan offers transit facilities but resists settlement of refugees, fearing infiltration by extremists. Tajikistan has taken limited refugees but is under Russian pressure to minimize numbers. Turkmenistan cooperates with the Taliban, focusing on economic interests. Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan deny intentions to host significant numbers of refugees, while Mongolia faces internal opposition to accepting Hazara refugees.

Seeking to unseat Australia, Mongolia's giant coal mine plans $700 million bond

21 Apr 2021  |  financialpost.com
Mongolia's Tavan Tolgoi coal mine, managed by state-owned Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi JSC and led by CEO Gankhuyag Battulga, plans to issue a $700 million bond to fund infrastructure for increasing coal exports to China amidst tensions between Beijing and Canberra. The mine, close to the Chinese border and one of the world's largest coal deposits, faces challenges with delivery capacity and financing. The first bond tranche raised $200 million, and further investment is needed for a coal washing facility, water pipelines, and a power plant to supply Rio Tinto's Oyu Tolgoi copper project. The shift to clean energy is seen as an opportunity by the company, which aims to sell gas and electricity in the future.

Mongolia beat the coronavirus with zero deaths — but its economy is in free fall and thousands of citizens remain stranded abroad

02 Oct 2020  |  Business Insider
Mongolia has successfully contained the coronavirus with zero deaths and over 300 cases, attributed to early border closures and strict measures. Despite this, the economy has suffered significantly, with a nearly 10% GDP contraction in the first half of the year, impacting industries like cashmere and coal. Over 11,000 Mongolians remain stranded abroad due to the pandemic. The government has borrowed heavily for COVID relief, raising concerns about financial transparency. As Mongolia eases lockdowns, challenges persist, particularly for vulnerable populations.

Mongolia's air pollution reached critical levels that some people have looked for alternative methods to curve the air pollution in their lives.

Air pollution in Mongolia has forced parents to send their children outside of the city so that they can breathe cleaner air.

Mongolian government forcefully introduced new compressed coal to the public to reduce air pollution, but the new coal was deadly enough to kill people.

800 Chinese cybercriminals were arrested in a mass raid.

Mongolia's air pollution reached critical levels that some people have looked for alternative methods to curve the air pollution in their lives.

Mongolian 'deel' wins over dedicated followers of fashion

10 Dec 2019  |  Nikkei Asia
The traditional Mongolian deel is experiencing a resurgence in popularity as a symbol of national pride and modern fashion. The deel, a long tunic made from thick cotton with specific features suited to the nomadic lifestyle, had been seen as an artifact of Mongolia's rural history. However, it is now being embraced by fashion enthusiasts who appreciate its cultural significance and adaptability to urban life. The garment is designed to provide warmth and practicality for activities such as horse riding and herding, which are essential on the Mongolian steppes.

Mongolian court ruled Former Prime minister broke the law by signing the 2015 Underground Development Mining plan with Rio Tinto giving uncertainty to investors.

Mongolia amends its constitution second time in its democratic history hoping these reforms will stabilize the government and limit the president's power.

How McKinsey Got Into the Business of Corruption

10 Dec 2019  |  ProPublica
The article investigates McKinsey & Co.'s involvement in a railroad project in Mongolia, highlighting potential issues of corruption and conflict of interest. Amidst Mongolia's economic boom, fueled by its vast coal and copper deposits, McKinsey entered into a consulting agreement with Mongolia's government to work on a railroad expansion project. Despite warnings from the U.S. State Department about rising corruption in Mongolia, McKinsey partnered with a government adviser's private company, Liberty Partners, without conducting formal due diligence. The project faced numerous setbacks, including allegations of embezzlement and fraud, leading to an investigation that implicated McKinsey. Although McKinsey was not charged, the case raised questions about their compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The article also discusses McKinsey's global expansion and the challenges of adapting to different political and economic environments, as well as the firm's efforts to improve its risk management and governance policies.

Mongolian Democracy Succumbs to the President’s Wrestler’s Grip

29 Mar 2019  |  Foreign Policy
Mongolian President Khaltmaa Battulga, formerly a wrestler, has leveraged a vote in parliament to amend the prosecutorial system and pass an Anti-Corruption Law, effectively allowing him to control the judiciary. Despite the majority of parliament members being from the opposition Mongolian People’s Party, 82.1 percent voted for these changes. This move endangers Mongolia's democracy, which has been significant since its democratic revolution in 1990. The new laws permit the recusal of judges from cases, with decisions going through the National Security Council and the Judicial General Council, both influenced by the president. Battulga has already dismissed the general prosecutor and the general commissioner of the Independent Authority Against Corruption. Critics describe this as a soft coup, fearing the establishment of an authoritarian regime. Battulga's rise to power is compared to populist and authoritarian leaders, and he has capitalized on public discontent with corruption and economic issues to consolidate power.

Mongolia grounds Turkish plane after suspected kidnap attempt

27 Jul 2018  |  Politurco.com
Mongolian authorities grounded a Turkish air force jet suspected of attempting to abduct Veysel Akcay, a Turkish national linked to the Gulen movement, which Ankara accuses of terrorism. Akcay, who has lived in Mongolia for over 24 years and is a director of a school allegedly connected to Gulen, was kidnapped but later returned home after a standoff at the airport. Mongolian officials, including Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Battsetseg Batmunkh, warned Turkey against violating Mongolia's sovereignty. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu denied the abduction claims. Advocates of Silenced Turkey, a New York-based human rights organization, urged the Mongolian government to remain vigilant against illegal actions by the Turkish regime and to ensure the safety of Gulen sympathizers.

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