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Meanwhile... in Mongolia, there is excitement about young opera singers

And in San Rafael, Colombia, workers are searching out and defusing land mines in an effort to make good on the government’s promise to demine the country by 2021, while in Ethiopia’s Harenna Forest, about 600 families practice a tradition of beekeeping dating back at least to the 4th century. 

Opera House in Ordos, Mongolia
David Gray/Reuters/File
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  • Staff

In Mongolia, there is excitement about young opera singers. In 2017, Mongolian baritone Ariunbaatar Ganbaatar won the prestigious BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition. Two years earlier, Mongolian baritone Amartuvshin Enkhbat was a finalist in the same competition, while Mongolian tenor Batjargal Bayarsaikhan won the Grand Prix at the K. Bazarsadaev Fifth International Vocalist Contest in 2015.

What lies behind the country’s prowess in opera? Guardian reporter Kate Molleson traveled to Mongolia to find out. Her conclusion: The Soviets brought it with them when Mongolia became the first satellite state of the Soviet Union in 1921.

But Mongolians had something to contribute, notes Ms. Molleson. Mongolians have a centuries-old tradition of throat singing, a challenging form of overtone singing that requires great vocal stamina and – perhaps – has inspired young opera singers. 

In San Rafael, Colombia, workers are searching out and defusing land mines in an effort to make good on the government’s promise to demine the country by 2021.

During the country’s three decades of civil strife, an estimated 52 million square meters of land were laced with land mines. Since 2014, The HALO Trust, a British demining charity, has employed hundreds to find and defuse Colombia’s mines, including 56 former combatants. Employing the often unemployed or underemployed former fighters serves an additional purpose, Chris Ince, HALO’s program manager in Colombia, told NBC. “[Demining] is a very effective way of reintegrating people into the local communities from where they originally came,” said Mr. Ince. 

In Ethiopia’s Harenna Forest, about 600 families practice a tradition of beekeeping dating back at least to the 4th century. 

These beekeepers carve beehives out of wood, smoke them over beeswax and moss for two days to make them appealing to bees, and then place them high in tree canopies where the bees can live safely, away from creatures that might disturb them. 

Harvesting the honey at such great heights is dangerous, but most of the families have been doing it for generations, reports the BBC.

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