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  1. Pakistan is ranked 51st out of 140 in terms of graduate skills with Switzerland being the best performer in this regard. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF)’s Global Competitiveness Report (GCR), Switzerland is the best country when it comes to the skill set of graduates. It ranked Pakistan at 51 with a score of 54.8 and a value of 4.3, just above average. The competitiveness report calculated the value of graduate skills in the range of 1-7, 7 being the highest. It took into account the availability of graduate skills required by the businesses in the present era. Pakistani Passport’s Ranking Gets Even Worse in 2018 Report Here are the best performers of 2018 regarding graduate skills, Switzerland, rank: 1 US, rank: 2 Netherlands, rank: 3 Finland, rank: 4 Singapore, rank: 5 Malaysia, rank: 6 Germany, rank: 7 Iceland, rank: 8 Israel, rank: 9 Sweden, rank: 10 Denmark, rank: 11 Ireland, rank: 12 Austria, rank: 13 Hong Kong SAR, rank: 14 Belgium, rank: 15 PIEAS Tops Pakistani Universities in QS Rankings 2019 Ranking of other countries is as follows: Qatar, rank: 16 Luxemburg, rank: 19 Canada, rank: 20 Norway, rank: 22 Lebanon, rank: 25 UK, rank: 28 Portugal, rank: 29 Bahrain, rank: 31 Indonesia, rank: 33 France, rank 35 India, rank: 36 China, rank: 37 Japan, rank: 40 S Korea, rank: 85 Kuwait, rank: 43 Sri Lanka, rank: 44 Saudi Arabia, rank: 50 Pakistan, rank: 51 Italy, rank: 60 Spain, rank: 47 Russia, rank: 72 South Africa, rank: 85 Turkey, rank: 94
  2. The Ministry of Commerce has informed National Assembly that Pakistan has exported human hair worth $1.6 million in the past five years. During the Question Hour, the officials of the ministry told the lower house that since 2013, Pakistan had exported 1,05,461 kilograms of human hair worth the US $1,32,000 to China. According to the secretary of commerce, besides China, Pakistan also exported human hair to the United States and the United Arab Emirates during this time, but the neighboring country remained the biggest importer throughout. Malaysia Wants to Import Halal Food from Pakistan This was the first time ever that the parliament was informed about the country’s share in the lucrative business. Human hair is used for preparing wigs. This is quite an old industry, dating hundreds of years, but Pakistan entered this field quite late. Among Asian countries, Myanmar remains one of the biggest traders of human hair. Since 2010, it has exponentially increased the volume of hair it ships each year to become the world’s fourth largest exporter, the United Nations reports.
  3. The National Highway Authority (NHA) is planning to employ an Intelligent Transport System (ITS) on the Abdul Hakeem-Lahore Motorway to make it a state of the art project. A press release has revealed this while explaining the briefing session presided over by the NHA Chairman Jawwad Rafique Malik. The briefing was given by the project consultants Abdul Basit and Chief Executive of China Railway 20 Co. Pakistan Private Limited Li Jieyong. They informed the session that the speedy completion of the said motorway is underway. Moreover, they divulged that they are employing the latest digital system for the project. The system involves handling emergencies, lane marking, controlling traffic accidents, placement of LED screens, weigh station system, electronic toll collection, and optic fiber installation. Lahore On Track to Become Pakistan’s First Smart City. They told that the project will entail maximum civic and traveling facilities at the service areas. Moreover, there will be cameras to monitor the high-speed vehicles. This digital system will be installed all along other motorways. Lahore is already on its way to becoming the first smart city of Pakistan. This step is a big leap towards this goal, as an Intelligent Transport System is deemed as a sine qua non of the smart cities. Along with controlling the traffic congestion and information, ITS is also used for road safety and efficient infrastructure usage.
  4. Only two days ago, China managed to grow a plant on the moon. However, it seems that we celebrated too early. The cottonseed plant, taken to the moon in an enclosed, self-sustained biosphere, sprouted. While there was recognition of the challenge of keeping the plant alive throughout the severe temperature variations on the moon, there was hope the Chinese would be successful in keeping it alive. But the plant could not survive the extreme temperature of the moon. It died a few hours after the news started circulating of its germination. China Grows First-ever Plant on the Moon. Apart from the cottonseeds, potato seeds, yeast, and fruit fly eggs were also kept in the container and taken to the moon by Chinese Chang’e-4 mission. After the plant’s death, the Chinese media announced that the experiment had ended. The seeds were provided sustenance in terms of water, natural sunlight, and even a temperature regulator. But the frigid temperatures of the Moon proved to be more powerful. What happened was that the mission powered down the lander on ‘sleep mode’ (on Sunday) to get ready for the Moon’s lunar night, which lasts 14 days. “Life in the canister would not survive the lunar night. We had no such experience before. And we could not simulate the lunar environment, such as microgravity and cosmic radiation, on Earth,” said Xie Gengxin, the Chief Designer of the experiment.
  5. Millions of people, celebrities and even corporations took on the #10yearchallenge during the past few days. While we all had fun with the memes – some actually posted thoughtful stuff. For example, Jazz showed us how to win at the #10yearchallenge even though this wasn’t even a competition. The telecom company posted a picture for the challenge. Jazz was Pakistan’s largest network a decade ago… and 10 years later, nothing has changed and the telecom service provider is still Pakistan’s largest network. So what changed for the company? Well, in order to maintain their numbers, the company obviously had to upgrade services and keep up with the times (Jazz did get The Speedtest® award from Ookla®, an independent organization that tests internet speeds globally). Jazz’s idea for the #10yearchallenge was so neat that a certain someone even borrowed it (without asking). Soon after Jazz posted its #10yearchallenge, Airtel followed suit. The similarity is uncanny (they look like twins). We’re just glad somehow that creativity seeped through borders. While Airtel doesn’t intend on changing even by 2029, Jazz has big things planned. Jazz has changed over the years. They’ve gotten bigger and better at what they do. That’s how they are still the largest network in Pakistan, they grew with us. Not just as a mobile network provider but also as a mobile Internet provider. They also have the largest mobile internet user base of over 20 million customers. Ideas can be replicated, success though cannot.
  6. Several Indian soldiers have been revealed to be honey trapped from fake social media accounts, allegedly being run from Pakistan. According to a CNN report, an Indian soldier Sombir Singh stationed near Pak-India border was arrested on Friday for similar charges. Sombir reportedly ‘fell in love’ with an Indian medical officer after meeting her online. The Facebook account is alleged to be of a Pakistani. Throughout the year, the soldier revealed sensitive information including troop and tank movements to her. “The bonding between the two was intense. The pair shared erotic messages and explicit photographs,” said the additional director general of Rajasthan police, Umesh Misra. He further revealed that the soldier was trapped from a fake Facebook profile created under the name of ‘Anika Chopra.’ The profile picture shows an Indian girl in a green Sari. The profile is still active. Rajesh Meena, the superintendent of police, State Special Branch, Rajasthan Police, told CNN that the arrested soldier received money via his brother’s account from his online lover. “She started getting confidential information about the army in return of which he received money,” Mishra said. Sombir Singh, if proven guilty, may face three years of jail under the country’s Official Secrets Act.
  7. Mind-reading is an art little appreciated in Pakistan. Recently, a mind-reader, Shaheer Khan took the internet (read Pakistan) by storm thanks to his skills. He can actually read your mind, believe it or not. What happened when Shaheer Khan met the renowned religious scholar Maulana Tariq Jameel is surely going to give you goosebumps. A video has been circulating over the social media where Khan can be seen reading the mind of the cleric. While the video is old it has started going viral on social media. Maulana’s reaction at the end is priceless and it is definitely worth watching. Here’s how the famous mentalist astonished Tariq Jameel. Shaheer Khan asks Maulana to think of a word and then imagine an experience with that thing. He then tries to read Maulana’s mind, telling him that he is moving in his imagination, aiming at a target while standing. Tariq Jameel nods.Shaheer finally paints the picture of Maulana’s mind, telling him that he was playing basketball in his thoughts.The scholar breaks into laughter on hearing the exact same thing he had imagined seconds ago. He then lauds the young mentalist while jokingly asking to take him as an apprentice.
  8. The UAE, on Friday, officially announced to deposit $3 billion dollars in the central bank of Pakistan to support Pakistan in its bid to come out of its current financial crisis. The United Arab Emirates will deposit $3 billion (equivalent to Dh11 billion) in the State Bank of Pakistan to support the financial and monetary policy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. In a statement, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development said that it will deposit the said amount in the coming days to enhance liquidity and monetary reserves of foreign currency at the Bank. The ties between the two countries have been cordial historically and UAE has helped Pakistan on a number of occasions. The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development has financed eight development projects in Pakistan with a total value of Dh1.5 billion, including Dh931 million in grants. The fund covered projects from fields of energy, health, education and infrastructure. 1,477 people are talking about this The financial package was under discussion between the two countries for quite some time. Prime Minister Imran Khan had also visited UAE in recent days to bolster economic ties with the brotherly country. Immediately after the announcement of the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, Foreign Minister of Pakistan Shah Mahmood Qureshi took to Twitter to thank the Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Zayed. Qureshi tweeted: “We thank Crown Prince H.H @MohamedBinZayed for his generous financial support of US$ 3 Billion. This is a manifestation of the close fraternal ties between Pakistan & UAE which have always stood the test of time.”
  9. Ali Murtaza Abbas, MOL Group Regional Vice President for the Middle East, Africa and Pakistan, recently called on the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, in Islamabad at his residence in Bani Gala. Mr. Abbas gave a short overview of the group’s operations worldwide and briefed about the operations carried out by MOL Pakistan Oil & Gas Company, since its inception in Pakistan in 1999. He informed the PM that MOL Pakistan is currently enjoying the status of the largest producer of LPG and the second largest producer of condensate/crude in Pakistan. The PM was also briefed in detail about the operations carried out in TAL Block of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which are contributing towards meeting the energy challenges in Pakistan. He added that the TAL Joint Venture Partners have invested over USD 2 billion and look forward to making healthy contributions towards the energy needs of the country. Sharing the success stories, Mr. Abbas informed the PM that MOL Pakistan has hit 9 consecutive discoveries in the operated blocks namely Manzalai, Makori, Mamikhel, Maramzai, Makori East, Tolanj, Mardankhel-1, Makori Deep-1 & Tolanj West and 4 discoveries in non-operated blocks namely Halini, Ghauri, Kalabagh & Halini Deep. Mr. Abbas gave a detailed briefing to the PM regarding the CSR initiatives carried by MOL Pakistan in liaison with local authorities in various regions of KP including Karak, Hangu and Kohat which are effectively helping local communities to enjoy a better life. Mr. Abbas expressed his gratitude that the government was providing maximum support to the oil & gas sector which has much more potential to grow in the coming years. He said that MOL Group is looking forward to strengthening Pakistan’s energy sector further and promoting public-private partnerships. Mr. Abbas further informed the PM that the MOL Group EVP Upstream, Dr. Berislav Gaso will be visiting Pakistan to meet the PM on building further business avenues in the country. Mr. Abbas showed deep interest in expanding group’s operations in Pakistan by acquiring additional blocks which will not only bring further investment but will also be beneficial for local economy and employment. PM’s special assistant Naeem ul Haq also attended the meeting.
  10. Pakistanis is at the top of the list in the number of pilgrims that visit Saudi Arabia each year, confirmed Saudi Kingdom’s Hajj and Umrah Ministry. According to the list, the Umrah visas issued this year amounted 2,785,790 and 2,346,429 of those pilgrims actually arrived in the Kingdom. Among these, 637,745 pilgrims belonged to Pakistan. As for others, 420,410 individuals were from Indonesia, 292,607 from India, 135,895 from Malaysia, 128,618 from Yemen, 73,179 from Egypt, 65,970 from Turkey, 59,855 from the United Arab Emirates, and 57,701 from Bangladesh. Moreover, 345,114 pilgrims are still in the country and 233,910 of those are in Makkah while 111,204 are in Medina. Majority of the pilgrims – 2,122,424 exactly – came by air while 213,121 pilgrims came to the Kingdom by land. A small number of pilgrims, i.e., 10,884 came by sea. It is pertinent to mention here that the Vision 2030 reform plan focuses on tourism along with attracting over 30 million Umrah pilgrims by providing them with excellent services. The Saudi Ministry had launched a weekly indicator to enable the authorities to track the number of pilgrims coming to the Kingdom.
  11. Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Mahmood Khan has insisted that they will meet the deadline for Peshawar’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project which was to be completed by March 23. He made these remarks during a brief media talk on Tuesday night in Peshawar. CM KP was there to attend an urgent meeting on BRT project. After the meeting, Mahmood Khan informed media that he has directed all the concerned departments to complete the project within the stipulated time limit. CM Khan told media personnel that he has directed DG Peshawar Development Authority (PDA) and Project Director of BRT to conduct a visit to the worksite and prepare a detailed report. The report on the progress of work is to be submitted to CM Secretariat by Friday. DG PDA has also been asked to keep media informed about the pace of work for public awareness. When asked if he was going to get a clean chit from Malamjabba case, the Chief Minister of KP excused himself from commenting on the matter. “I have full regard and respect for state institutions and will visit the NAB office whenever summoned”, the CM concluded. It is pertinent to mention here that as per the original plan, the project was scheduled to be completed by March 2018. However, the deadline was missed and since then the project is facing delays. The government changed the deadline for the project’s completion many times. Not only did the project get delayed, but its cost also escalated with the passage of time. The project’s cost has gone up from its initial cost of Rs. 49 billion to Rs. 69 billion.
  12. Rizwan Ata, a big name in the Islamic banking industry, has moved to Bank Islami to head its important commercial unit as the country head distribution. He quit Bank Alfalah as the group head of Islamic banking a few months ago, having served the bank for five and a half years. He was one of the key members of Atif Aslam’s team. Like other team members of Atif Aslam, the former CEO and President of Bank Alfalah, he also said goodbye to Bank Alfalah after working many months under the new leadership of Nauman Ansari, the new CEO and President of the same bank. Ata set up independent advisory services on Islamic banking for a few months before eventually joining Amir Ali, CEO and President Bank Islami, who he worked with previously at Meezan Bank. Rizwan Ata headed the Islamic banking group of Allied Bank before switching to Bank Alfalah. The alumnus of LUMS gained rich experience in Islamic banking at Meezan Bank, where he served for more than 10 years and left the bank as the group head retail banking, SME and commercial businesses. Ata is a seasoned banker who started his career in Islamic banking and served the industry in different professional capacities. He has a good command over the dynamics of Pakistan’s banking industry and the demand and designs of Sharia-based financing to various commercial sectors. The addition of Rizwan Ata in a leadership position at Bank Islami might provide impetus growth to the bank in different ways, which is all set to expand under the new CEO and his team.
  13. Samsung’s foldable phone has been in the news for well over a year now, and it’s about time the company actually launches the devices instead of just teasing it. The so-called foldable phone concept raised major hype in the market, as a number of companies started working on their own iterations, and have been on a race to be the first ones to launch such a phone. While we already know when the Galaxy S10 is getting launched, Samsung has remained silent about its foldable flagship. But it kind of has confirmed when the third flagship – which is not a Note 10 – is going to be launched. The news does not come from a shady leak source, but rather from Samsung itself. Samsung’s latest advertisement campaign spread billboards across Paris, that talk about the company’s big upcoming event where the S10 is getting launched. There’s a subtle hint within the words for those who are keeping a close eye. The billboards show an ad written using Korean characters, that translate to an intriguing message: “the future unfolds”, on the 20th of February. February 20, by the way, is when the upcoming “Samsung Unpacked 2019” will be held, where the Galaxy S10 lineup will get unveiled. But now we can say for sure that the event will show more than what we have hoped for – the foldable phone is finally getting an official unveiling. This is not the first time a foldable phone has been launched, with FlexPai’s Royole being the first official “foldable” phone. It wasn’t exactly up to par with issues in the OS and how the screen worked. This launch is big in its own right, mainly because Samsung’s iteration is expected to be more practical and more popular. It’s also the first time a company the size of Samsung is working on such a device, so it’s really intriguing what the South Korean giant is looking to bring to the table. Huawei is also working on a similar device. We are expected a “foldable future”, where we’ll get to see more of such devices from some of the most well-known smartphone makers in the world.
  14. In a bid to increase the registrations of high-end vehicles in the province, the government of Punjab has decided to abolish luxury tax on such vehicles. According to the report, to avoid paying extra taxes, owners of these high-end vehicles and trucks get their vehicles registered from other provinces i.e. Islamabad, where luxury tax is not implemented. While talking to the media, the issue was addressed by Provincial Excise and Taxation Minister, Hafiz Mumtaz. He said that the authority will initially slash the tax and will aim to completely eliminate it by May 2019. This is indeed a much-needed step from the government of Punjab as it was previously charging Rs. 3 to 5 lac from high-end vehicle owners in the form of luxury tax. Here is the breakdown of luxury tax on vehicles in Pakistan: Vehicles Previous Tax Rate Current Tax Rate 1300 to 1500cc Rs. 70,000 Rs. 15,000 1500 to 2000cc Rs. 100,000 Rs. 25,000 2000 to 2500cc Rs. 200,000 Rs. 100,000 Over 2500cc Rs. 300,000 Rs. 300,000 Hafiz further said that once the issue is resolved, it will ultimately see more vehicles being registered in Punjab and help increase the revenues. Additionally, it remains to be seen whether the Punjab government also abolishes or reduces the price of lifetime token fees or not, which was also increased under their 2018-19 budget for 1000cc cars and motorcycles. The 1000cc lifetime tokens were increased from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 15,000 whereas the motorcycle lifetime tokens were increased to Rs. 15,000 from Rs. 12,000.
  15. Chinese women cricket team has been bundled out for a miserly 14 in a regional cricket tournament in Bangkok against the United Arab Emirates. This score is the lowest ever, either in men or women’s cricket, while the losing margin is also massive – losing by a massive 189 runs. Via Cricinfo While the International Cricket Council (ICC) terms China as a strategic priority, the country’s women cricket team is not doing so well to achieve the goal of sustainable growth of cricket in world’s most populous country. Sunday proved to be a nightmare for cricket fans in China as the national side was made to toil, both with bat and ball. UAE put a huge total of 203/3 on the board. Getting over the line in a steep chase looked unlikely, what happened next was nothing short of a horror story for China cricket. A top score of 4 by Hin Lili led the team’s equal-to-zero resistance against UAE at the Thailand T20 Smash, which includes other teams like Myanmar, Indonesia and Malaysia as well. Chinese men’s team suffered a similar ordeal against Nepal in 2018, getting skittled out for just 26 runs, crushing their hopes of qualifying for the World T20 2020. While China may be a newcomer to the cricketing world, miserly performances like these are the real hindrances in spreading the game, inspiring the kids to take up bat and ball.
  16. Wireless charging has become popular in smartphones over the years, thanks in part to Apple after it started adding this feature to its flagship iPhones. It’s a cool feature that lets you forget about wires and cables, letting you charge your phone by just placing it on a dock. This tech has been worked on for quite some time and has improved over time. One of the many companies who has disagreed with wireless charging and its importance, Oppo – a distant cousin of OnePlus (Both companies are owned by BBK Electronics) – hasn’t added this feature to its smartphones. However, that is about to change now. The company hasn’t made anything official just yet, but it recently joined the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), an organization that sets wireless charging standards and develops Qi adapters for wireless charging. Most major OEMs are already a part of the organization, so we might get to see wireless charging in Oppo and OnePlus phones in the future. According to many smartphone OEMs, it’s still not the best way to charge your phone. Mainly because it unnecessarily pushes the cost upwards, pushing smartphone makers to use glass backs, while the wired charging option is much faster and safer. Even though the technology has been improved a lot, it’s still the slowest charging option as compared to other wired technologies. While OnePlus has remained more of a high-end but affordable series, it has excluded this feature from their phones. But over the years, we saw OnePlus becoming more of a flagship brand, rather than a flagship-killer, as OnePlus phones also started shipping at high prices. Even so, we can expect the cost go further upwards if the phones start shipping with Qi wireless charging support as well. The same applies to Oppo phones as well and we might see them getting a bit more expensive as well.
  17. The Bahria University of Islamabad has established a proper dressing code and announced hefty fines on noncompliance. A notification is making rounds on social media which is being attributed to the director of the varsity. The notification informs all the female students that from now on, jeans, trousers, tights and short shirts are ‘strictly prohibited in university and that they can only enter the university wearing Shalwar, long shirt with dupatta.’ ‘Dear Bahrian, It is to inform all the girls that a strict dress code will be followed from Monday 14th January, 20119. Jeans, tights, trousers, short shirts are prohibited. Any girl seen in will be fined Rs. 5000,” the notification warned. The notification says the decision to enforce a proper dress code was taken due to “several unethical observations” and with the consent of parents and faculty members. “Certain rules need to be followed as they are otherwise you may face the consequences because it is from the higher authority.” It is better to be “safe than sorry”, the notification notes, for all the students are “supposed to show a bit of compliance with the law or follow a proper channel against it”. The university has also banned students’ entry with cigarettes, tobacco or any other drugs. All the boys will be checked on the entrance, and those found with alcohol or such stuff will face fine of Rs. 5000. The new rule will come into effect from Monday, January 14, the notification says. It is not surprising that the decision has irked the Twitterati: 496 people are talking about this Twitter Ads info and privacy View image on Twitter See تحریم's other Tweets Twitter Ads info and privacy See Laraib Mehtab's other Tweets See phupo ka beta's other Tweets Twitter Ads info and privacy The decision has also attracted a protest from the students of the varsity. See Arslan Mehmood's other Tweets
  18. India has allowed Pakistani team to visit its controversial water sites on Chenab River. The Federal Minister for Water Resources, Faisal Vawda, announced the news on Friday. Vawda, who has been quite active ever since taking oath as a minister, wrote on his official Twitter account: “Pakistan and India have been into Indus Water Treaty dispute for ages. Due to our continued efforts, there is a breakthrough that India has finally agreed to our request for inspection of Indian projects on Chenab basin.” The minister has also ordered a three-member team to pack bags for a visit to India for inspection of the controversial water projects. The visit is scheduled from January 27 to February 1. The commissioner for Indus Waters Syed Meher Ali Shah, who is also a Joint Secretary in Water Resources Ministry, will lead the delegation. Vawda welcomed the gesture from India and hoped that the cooperation between the two countries continues to resolve other issues as well. “We welcome this gesture from India, and we expect the same spirit for resolution of other outstanding issues,” the minister said. What Is The Dispute? After nine years of continuous deliberation, India and Pakistan had signed a water-distribution contract in 1960 called the Indus Water Treaty, with the help of the World Bank. The treaty has seen several conflicts and tensions but has, somehow, survived all of it. In the last couple of decades, Pakistan’s complaints against India have rapidly increased that the neighbouring country has been violating the Indus Water Treaty 1960 after starting building dams on Chenab and Jhelum. Islamabad has also demanded the World Bank, one of the three signatories, to jump in and set up a ‘court of arbitration’ to settle the water disputes. Initially, the bank had not responded positively to Pakistan’s demands as Indian lobby was strong and its people were sitting at the higher posts in the bank. But due to the rapidly changing geopolitical situation in the region, Islamabad now has the backing of Asian giants like China, Russia and Turkey. This will push world bank to set up a court of arbitration for a logical settlement of the dispute between the neighbouring countries.
  19. The University of Science and Technology (UST), Bannu, has introduced a new rule for students. According to this rule, students will not be awarded their degrees until they plant one tree. The university administration has given instructions to the director academics in this regard. Under the new rule, the clearance form for the degree will bear an additional column pertaining to tree plantation. The director academics has also issued a notification, underlining the importance of ‘Green Pakistan’ and encouraging the students to participate actively in tree plantation. It is pertinent to mention here that the government had launched a countrywide campaign called ‘Clean and Green Pakistan’ a few months ago. Prime Minister Imran Khan urged people from all sections to make this campaign a success with their participation. “This campaign is for our future. Everyone has to partake in it,” said the premier. He also resented that not much has been done regarding the beautification of the country. “Pakistan is a gift but unfortunately we haven’t paid attention to its beautification,” he said. President Dr. Arif Alvi also appealed the public to cooperate in making the campaign successful. He called for all the political parties and chief ministers of all provinces to play their part in the drive launched by the PM to ensure a healthy and hygienic environment for people.
  20. Samsung is bringing several changes to its latest Notebook 9 Pro, with more than just a new design as compared to its predecessor. Design-Focus According to a spokesperson, the company took things to the next level this time and conducted a special survey in the US to find out the most desirable and modern design for the latest Notebook 9 Pro. The survey helped Samsung figure out corner radii, profile taper, and an ideal bezel size for the laptop’s body. It is 14mm thick with a weight of 1.28 KG. It looks premium and well-rounded, its aluminum body has been diamond-cut to have clean edges and super-trimmed bezels so that you get to look at more screen and smaller bezels whether you use it as a laptop or as a tablet computer. S-Pen By the way, Samsung is also including a full-size pen this time, instead of an S Pen as seen in the previous version. If you prefer the latter, you can get a Notebook 9 Pen, instead of a Notebook 9 Pro which according to the company, has design elements much similar to the Galaxy Note 9. And much like before, the S Pen will come tucked inside the laptop’s body. Specifications and Price The unit showed off at the CES 2019 had a 13.3-inch display, with super-thin bezels (6.7 mm). It has a resolution of 1080p (FHD). Other specs include the latest Whiskey Lake Intel Core i7-8565U processor (1.8 GHz base, 4.6 GHz boost clock) with UHD 630 graphics (no Nvidia GPU option). It will come with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB NVMe SSD storage. More storage and RAM options will be available later on. As for the ports, Notebook 9 Pro has 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports, a USB-C and a microSD card slot. Lastly, Samsung included a 55Wh battery in the laptop, which will manage a battery life of 14 hours on average, according to Samsung. Being Samsung’s flagship laptop line, it is likely to be priced upwards of at least $1,000.
  21. The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) has issued a Policy Note to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to address competition concerns and create a level playing field for all players in the establishment of flight kitchen at the New Islamabad International Airport. In this regard, the CCP has issued a policy note for the amendment in the CAA’s order on flight catering services at CAA airports. In April 2016, the CAA floated a Tender Notice for the establishment of Flight kitchen on joint venture basis at the New Islamabad International Airport. In response to certain concerns received from consumers, the CCP held an open hearing on 22 September 2016 and after hearing all the stakeholders, issued an Opinion on 14 December 2016 urging the CAA to address the competition concerns in the award of the contract. Accepting the CCP’s recommendations, the CAA on 16 January 2017 re-advertised the tender and invited the Airlines, Flight Caterers and Hotels to participate in an open tender for the award of land space to establish non-exclusive flight kitchen facility at the New Airport. Although the Joint Venture Model was not incorporated in the tender document, an obligation of royalty per meal was imposed on the successful bidder i.e. US$ 1.39 per meal on international routes and PKR 50 per meal on domestic routes. Meal royalty is essentially a tax levied by PCAA which is passed on, by the airlines/private catering company, to the final consumer. M/s Kitchen Cuisine (Pvt.) Limited (the ‘KCL’) was awarded flight kitchen 01 after a due tender process. The CCP said that subsequent to the award of tender, CAA vides its Order dated 20 March 2018 implemented a new policy i.e. CAA Order introducing two types of flight catering services, i.e. (i) outside CAA premises and (ii) inside CAA premises. The inside CAA premises has been further divided into two sub-categories i.e. (i) Airline/JV and (ii) Private Caterers. The CAA Order shuns the requirement of the competitive bidding process for the Airlines/JVs and they will be allotted space on the CAA premises on open space charges as an incentive. Whereas, the Private Caterers would have to acquire the space inside CAA premises after competing through an open bidding process. The CCP found that discriminatory treatment is meted out to the New Airport Kitchen licensee no.1, i.e. Kitchen Cuisine, with reference to the meal royalty on domestic routes as well as international routes. While Kitchen Cuisine is required to pay the royalty on international routes, including the local/Pakistani carriers’ international routes, the Airline/JV are required to make the payment of royalty to the meals supplied to foreign carriers only. This essentially means that the local carriers including the Airline/JV operating the flight kitchen inside CAA premises are not obliged to pay a royalty on meals supplied to its own airline or any other local/Pakistani airline operating on the international route. Further, any private caterer operating from outside CAA premises is also exempt from the meal royalties on the meals supplied to Pakistani/local airlines operating on international routes. This discriminatory application of per meal royalties puts private caterers operating inside CAA premises, such as the Kitchen Cuisine at a competitive disadvantage and prima facie distorts the level playing field in the relevant market of flight catering services. The private caterers operating from inside CAA premises have to apply this royalty on the provision of meals for all international routes (whether by local/ Pakistani or foreign airlines) whereas the Airlines/JVs will apply this royalty only for meals to foreign airlines. For example, if a private caterer (located within CAA premises) provides meals to an international route operated by a local/Pakistani airline it would charge US$1.39 per meal. However, if the same local/Pakistani airline operated its own kitchen and supplied to the same route no royalties would apply. Similarly, if this local/Pakistani airline supplied meals to an international route operated by another local/Pakistani airline no royalties would be applicable. The royalty would only be applicable if this airline supplied meals to a foreign airline for their international routes. It is noted that airline operated flight kitchens and private caterers whether (located inside or outside CAA premises) compete with each other in the market for inflight catering services. This selective application of meal royalties renders private caterers (operating inside CAA premises) at a competitive disadvantage, since, it would be feasible for airlines to either (a) operate their own kitchens or (b) contract from companies located outside CAA premises as no royalties would be applicable to meal uplift from these sources. The inherent advantage given to Airlines/JVs arises not because of efficiency on their part but is rather due to the discriminatory application of meal royalty by CAA. Moreover, the CAA Order provides incentives to Airlines/JVs for establishing a kitchen inside CAA premises which are not provided to private caterers. Based on various clauses of the CAA Order the difference in incentives offered to Airlines/JV versus private caterers ensures that private caterers have to participate in a tender process as opposed to airlines/JV which can be granted space upon request (Clause D2.4.1). Private caterers have to pay a license fee over and above prescribed open/covered/paved space rental charges whereas, airlines/JV will be provided space on prescribed open space charges, the cost of construction is adjusted for airlines/JV and not for private catering companies inside PCAA premises. It is noted that through the aforementioned incentives, airlines/JV are given an advantage over private caterers in terms of the cost of establishment and operation of flight kitchen. Since all the players operate in the same market any incentives must be given equally so as to provide a level playing field to all. In order to create level playing field vis-à-vis the application of royalty, the CCP recommended that CAA Order may be suitably amended and the Royalty of USD 1.39 per meal be charged from Airline/JVs on the meals provided to local/Pakistani airlines for international routes; or the Royalty of USD 1.39/- per meal charged from private caterers located inside CAA premises, for the meal supplied to local/Pakistani airlines operating on international routes may also be waived. Similarly, meal royalties of Rs. 50/- per meal for domestic routes may be applied uniformly on all operators whether airlines/JV or private caterer; or IIAP Kitchen No.1 licensee i.e. KCL may also be exempted from the same. Moreover, the CAA may amend Clause 2.4.1 of the Order to make provision for tender for allotment of space in case of airline/JV in a similar manner to that applied on private caterers. Further, incentives with respect to adjustment of construction cost as provided to airlines/JV in Clause 2.4.3 of the CAA Order should also be provided to private caterers located in CAA premises, in order to create a level playing field, CCP policy note recommended.
  22. Digital economy in Pakistan can tap the abundant potential of the country’s land, its system and human resources to boost the GDP’s value up to an ambitious level of $50 billion per annum, this was claimed by a study of Overseas Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) which suggested recommendations and action plans to the government and all relevant stakeholders. Pakistan’s digital participation metrics are currently lagging behind regional economies; but the potential to improve is immense as we are amongst the fastest growing mobile market globally, with over 150 million mobile phone subscribers accounting for 73% teledensity and around 156 million people still without internet. Keeping in perspective the current developments in ICT and the fact that we still have to take meaningful steps in that direction, the following recommendations need to be prioritized and acted upon with a sense of urgency. Implement telemedicine in public sector health units: Deploying technology in the provision of healthcare, Pakistan has the potential of rapidly increasing the quality and extent of services in far-flung areas while financially providing the incentive of achieving breakeven in terms of savings within months. Introduce distance learning (e-education) to public sector educational institutes: This initiative can harmonize curricula while providing world-class learning opportunities to students in every corner of the country. Impart digital skills to the workforce: We have a unique opportunity to bridge the digitally skilled manpower deficit currently being observed in many countries. With a special focus on China, we can potentially add an additional USD 500-700 million annually to our foreign remittances. Improve financial inclusion for people at the bottom of the pyramid: A more financially inclusive economy can result in a GDP increase of USD 36 billion-per-year and creation of 4 million additional jobs by 2025. Digitalize agriculture sector: Provision of timely information, shared economy platforms and digital payments will significantly uplift the efficiency in the agriculture value chain. Enable digital entrepreneurship: Creating special economic zones for IT can create employment opportunities for an additional 100,000-300,000 knowledge workers in the country. Extend the reach of broadband services: Broadband is the oxygen of the digital world and quickly addressing the supply-side of it can result in increasing our GDP by USD 10-15 billion per year. Transform public services through “digital government”: This is a proven way of improving the delivery of public services while at the same time, increasing transparency of the government. Deploy public cloud and introduce open data: Cloud adoption will dramatically increase the speed of ICT deployment while reducing cost and making data more secure. Adopt Artificial Intelligence (AI) for sustainable development: This can result in an additional USD 250 million per year by capturing 3-5% of the services component of the global AI market. Implement a comprehensive national cybersecurity policy by adopting a risk-based approach: It is imperative to have a comprehensive yet efficient security policy for the protection of critical data for the digital ecosystem to flourish. Establish a national center for the development of blockchain technologies: This new technology is already improving transparency, reducing inefficiencies and curbing pilferage in tax collection. National Digital Program By executing this National Digital Program, the federal and provincial governments can develop and implement a comprehensive set of initiatives that can deliver significant growth in GDP, exports, contribution to the exchequer and broadening of the tax base. In addition, the National Digital Program will yield several societal benefits in critical sectors, such as health and education that will contribute to the overall uplift in the wellbeing of Pakistanis. The report mentioned that countries, that have embraced the digital revolution, have taken action to integrate innovative technologies at all levels of society and the economy. Their digital journeys reveal that they have followed similar goals while their national priorities and political structures have resulted in different trajectories and timelines. Each of these countries has sought to compete with other regional economies, while at the same time learning from the experiences of others. The underlying objectives of their digital transformation can largely be aggregated into the following three categories: a) Reducing socioeconomic inequalities amongst the citizenry. b) Accelerating economic growth. c) Smart and efficient governance Emerging Economy of Pakistan Pakistan is considered to be amongst the major emerging global economies. On digital participation metrics, however, we are lagging behind regional economies; but the potential to improve is immense as we are amongst the fastest growing mobile markets globally. This makes our country one of the top-5 growth markets for the connectivity industry The report “Recommendations on National Program for Digital Transformation” is an effort by the members, who are leading foreign investors belonging to 35 countries including 50 Fortune 500 companies, to share their experience and expertise in helping the country move to a respectable level of digital participation by all segments of the society. The advancements in digital technology are inspiring innovation. Being amongst the fastest growing mobile markets in the world, Pakistan has immense potential to become a global leader in digital innovation. Presently, many businesses and individuals are creating applications and solutions that are helping accelerate economic growth. This is being done through innovations in all sectors of the economy; however, there is still immense growth potential. If an enabling environment is created through the implementation of the policy recommendations provided in this report, we believe the economic and social impact will be unparalleled, the report stated. Need of Ecosystem for Uplifting Socio-Economic Areas In order to empower and enable digital entrepreneurship, an ecosystem needs to be established and the youth of Pakistan needs to be equipped with a digital skillset. Focusing on digital literacy, E-education and digital entrepreneurship will not only reduce inequalities, create jobs and boost the economy but will also give Pakistan a fair chance to compete with other regional economies. Globally, digitalization is a key factor in reshaping the world of medicine and healthcare. In Pakistan, there is a dire need to revolutionize this sector and digital technologies provide numerous opportunities to do so. Digital transformation also has a major impact on smart and efficient governance. Through adopting and accepting digital technologies such as cloud computing and artificial intelligence, the government can change the way it does things and make life smarter and simpler for its citizens. The government should be dedicated to constantly implementing innovative ways to make processes seamless and efficient not only for its employees but for the country as a whole. OICCI in its report, sought feedback of its Digital Plan recommendations which aims to gradually transform the digital landscape of Pakistan by reducing socioeconomic inequalities, creating an ecosystem for use of technology in all segments of the economy including agriculture and more importantly, how to move towards a smart government by benefiting from the Cloud as an enabler to Digital Government. The report also makes certain policy recommendations for ensuring a sound infrastructure through Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain.
  23. World’s leading search engine, Google, has released its 10-year transparency report which suggests that it received 292 removal requests from Pakistan since 2009. In the first two years, (from January 2009 to December 2010), the search engine did not receive any complaints from Pakistan. It reveals that from January 2011 to May 2018, it received 292 requests from Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to take down 3,478 items from various Google-owned platforms, most of them YouTube videos. The search engine began to receive complaints from the mid of 2016, which surged to almost four folds in two years, it reveals. According to the report, Google got a total of 34 requests for the removal of YouTube videos and a request for the removal of a blog in June 2016. The search engine received another 38 complaints against YouTube videos and one against a blog and a link in the following year. The report reveals that a large number of removal requests came under religious offense category. The percentage was 52 (14 out of total 26) in the second half of 2017 which increased to 61 (119 out of 196 total) this year. The number surged to 187 videos, 5 links, 2 web searches and as many blogs by May 2018. Not Every Removal Request Entertained Google also maintains that it only entertained the removal request which matched the standard criteria. “Some requests may not be specific enough for us to know what the government wanted us to remove (for example, no URL is listed in the request), and others involve allegations of defamation through informal letters from government agencies, rather than court orders,” the report added. For more details view the Google Transparency Report.
  24. An investigation board formed to probe the reasons of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) PK-661’s crash has blamed the airlines’ maintenance department for the deadly accident. Investigation board’s report surfaced on media on Friday morning where the reasons of the plane crash are mentioned. In December 2016, the ill-fated PK-661, en route to Islamabad from Chitral, crashed near Havelian due to a technical fault. All 47 people onboard, including renowned religious scholar Junaid Jamshed and Deputy Commissioner (DC) Chitral Usama Warraich, died in the accident. The report explains that the plane lost its power turbine blade during the flight due to which one of the two engines stopped working. It stated that PIA’s maintenance department was due to change the blades as they had completed 10,000 hours of usage. The negligence of the maintenance department caused the accident, the report said. The report also suggested that the national flag-carrier should hold an audit of the airlines.The investigation report also urged PIA to strictly follow the rules regarding aircrafts’ maintenance and be very careful in the future to avoid such mishaps.
  25. World Index’a report titled “ASIA: Willing to fight for the country” ranks Pakistan and Vietnam on first and second spot with 89% of people expressing patriotism towards their homeland. The report is based on the data collected by the Gallup survey in Asian countries. While Afghanistan, remained in the fourth position with 76%, India was ranked fifth in the index with only 75% of the people agreeing to fight for the country in time of needs. The list goes on to rank Philippine, Thailand, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan respectively.
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