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PAKISTAN NEWS:
Govt cuts taxes on affordable phones by upto 85%:

The Government of Pakistan, through a presidential ordinance, has reduced the rate of withholding income tax and sales tax on the import of mobile phones. The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) issued a list of salient features to explain the amendments to Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 through Tax Laws (Second Amendment) Ordinance, 2001. The amendments will apply to income tax, sales tax and customs duty.

VIVO launches the S1 Pro in Pakistan:

Vivo, the global smartphone brand, has unveiled its new S1 Pro in Pakistan at special media launch event held in Lahore. Media, technology and fashion enthusiasts witnessed the launch of this new smartphone featuring a unique diamond design with 48MP AI Quad Camera, 32MP front camera, in-display fingerprint scanner, 4500mAh battery with Vivo’s Dual-Engine fast charging. Commenting on the launch ZohairChohan, Vivo’sBrand Manager in Pakistan.

Tecno 2020: bringing a new vision with the new year:

Tecno, a leading mobile manufacturing company wishes everyone a very Happy New Year. Tecno is grateful to its consumers for providing them an opportunity to serve them, having faith in their services and make it a big hit in such a short span of time. Tecno bagged many achievements in the year 2019 and believes its customers to be its biggest assets. On the beginning of this New Year, Tecno has promised its users to make their experience a more satisfying and enriching in the coming year.After winning hearts in other continents, Tecno received an overwhelming response in Pakistan. The way Tecno penetrated swiftly and created a stir in the competitive market are a series of success stories.

Uber completes acquisition of careem:

Uber confirmed the official close of the previously announced acquisition of Careem for $3.1 billion. Careem Networks FZ-LLC has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Uber, preserving its brand. Careem co-founder and CEO Mudassir Sheikha will continue to lead the Careem business, which will report to a board made up of three representatives from Uber and two representatives from Careem. Careem and Uber will operate their respective regional services and independent brands. With the closing of the deal, Uber has acquired Careem’s mobility, delivery, and payments businesses across the greater Middle East region, with major markets including Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The regulatory approval process in Pakistan, Qatar, and Morocco is ongoing and the transaction will not close in these territories until approvals from the legal authorities responsible are obtained.

Telenor Pakistan launches bizmine:

Taking another major leap in its technologically advanced business offerings, Telenor Pakistan has launched Bizmine, an analytical framework that enables business leaders to de-clutter crucial information and get essential data insights to make smart decisions.

The launch event was held at Telenor Pakistan’s Campus, 345, which was attended by the company management and various businesses.At the event, Stephen Brobst, CTO of Teradata, shared the significance of next-generation consumer intelligence for businesses during his keynote speech. Since it is crucial for companies to understand consumer behavior and get insights into potential markets, data analytics gives them solid proof points to make the right decisions that could be a turning point for any business.

Infinixjeeto 2020 brings lots of prizes & giveaways:

Infinix, a leading smartphone manufacturer, is all set to start the new year with a splendid deal for online & offline customers alike. InfinixJeeto 2020 starts from 1st January till 7th January 2020 giving customers a chance to avail discounts & win many gifts like motorbikes, microwaves, smart bands and much more! Jeeto 2020 will be a game-changer for everyone. Now that Infinix Hot 8 Lite is available online on Daraz and Xpark with a FREE gift of Infinix Sports Bluetooth earphones. Every customer will get free earphones (first The first 100 orders) along with participation in the lucky draw that includes a lot of gift hampers and a grand prize of a motorbike through lucky draw.

HEC planning to conduct random drug tests in universities:

Senate Standing Committee on Science and Technology has expressed strong displeasure over the increasing deficit of universities across the country and difficulty in running day to day affairs.The Committee observed that Higher Education is being gravely neglected and it will have serious consequences for the country. The Committee recommended that Rs. 21 billion, in addition to the allocated Rs. 59 billion for Higher Education Commission, be released before June 2020 as a one-time payment or in piecemeal.The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan at the Parliament House on Thursday and was attended among others by Senators NuzhatSadiq, SassuiPalijo, Gianchand, Syed Sabir Shah, Secretary Science and Technology and officials from HEC.

New JF-17 fighter jet prototype features a futuristic pilot display & radar:

These are exciting times for defense geeks in Pakistan as the advanced JF-17 Block III prototype has completed its test flight. Although it was only a prototype with quite a few features still missing, Pakistan is hoping to get its first two fighter jets – out of a total of 50 – by the end of 2020.

The new version sports advanced features from a number of other Chinese jets. For instance, it will be fitted with an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar like that of China’s J-20, Japan’s J-2, and United States’ F-22, F-35, as well as the F-16V “Viper”.According to the Global Times, the use of off-the-shelf Chinese technologies will boost the combat and flight efficiency of the jet.

UAE allocates $200m for small and medium businesses in Pakistan:

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, has instructed the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development to allocate $200 million to support small and medium economic projects in Pakistan.

The Crown Prince was in Islamabad where he met Prime Minister Imran Khan, and the two discussed regional and international issues of mutual interest as well as ways to enhance bilateral ties.The prime minister’s adviser on finance and revenue, Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, confirmed the news in a series of tweets, thanking the crown prince for his support following a short visit to Pakistan earlier in the day.

 

INTERNATIONAL NEWS:
Ex-Google executive Ross LaJeunesse savages firm on human rights:

A former Google executive has raised concerns about the tech giant’s human rights policies as it eyes expansion in China and elsewhere. Ross LaJeunesse, the firm’s former head of global international relations, said he was “sidelined” after he pushed the company to take a stronger stance.Google defended its record in a statement, saying it has an “unwavering commitment” to human rights. Mr LaJeunesse is now campaigning for a seat in the US senate.

Travelex site taken offline after cyberattack:

Travelex has been forced to take down its website after a cyber attack. The foreign-currency seller has been working on the issue since the software virus attack on New Year’s Eve.”We regret having to suspend some of our services in order to contain the virus and protect data,” Travelex boss Tony D’Souza said.The company has resorted to carrying out transactions manually, providing foreign-exchange services over the counter in its branches.”We apologise to all our customers for any inconvenience caused as a result,” Mr D’Souza said in a statement.

Barcelona’s car-free smart city experiment:

In the centre of bustling and busy Barcelona there is unusual quiet: just the babble of children playing in a small playground and the sound of the birds.There is virtually no traffic and the space where cars would have parked is given over to play areas, trees and even a running track.Superblocks is a radical plan to reclaim the streets from the noise and pollution of traffic, one that could save hundreds of lives that might otherwise be lost because of heavily polluted air. It also hopes to act as a blueprint for other cities.

Amazon ‘threatens to fire’ climate change activists:

A group of Amazon employees has said the company has threatened to fire some of them for speaking out on environmental issues. Amazon Employees for Climate Justice said the workers were told they were in violation of company policies.It comes after employees joined calls for the e-commerce giant to do more to tackle climate change. The company said its policy on employees making public comments is not new and covers all of its workers.

The airborne commute — a flight of fancy?:

There is something about the idea of a flying car that sparks the imagination – maybe it is the association with futuristic sci-fi movies or just the idea of finally finding a way to beat the traffic that appeals.And there are hundreds of firms competing to come up with the perfect airborne vehicle, with around 175 new designs currently vying to get made.But can a sky-high commute ever be achieved and, if it can, will it be affordable for the average harassed commuter?The Media met two German firms working to make electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft a reality, at a recent tech summit in Lisbon.

Ransomware attack takes US maritime base offline:

A computer virus forced a US maritime base offline for more than 30 hours, the country’s coast guard has revealed.Ransomware interrupted cameras, door-access control systems and critical monitoring systems at the site.

The agency did not reveal the name or the location of the facility targeted by the attack.Officials said they believed the ransomware was sent in a malicious email link, clicked by an employee.

Imagination announces new Apple license deal:

Apple has revived a licensing relationship with UK-based chipmaker Imagination Technologies. Imagination said it will allow Apple to access “a wider range of Imagination’s intellectual property” in exchange for fees under a new, “multi-year” deal.It comes about three years after the iPhone maker’s decision to break ties disrupted Imagination’s business.Shares plunged and the firm was eventually sold to a Chinese-backed investment firm.

AI ‘outperforms’ doctors diagnosing breast cancer:

Artificial intelligence is more accurate than doctors in diagnosing breast cancer from mammograms, a study in the journal Nature suggests.An international team, including researchers from Google Health and Imperial College London, designed and trained a computer model on X-ray images from nearly 29,000 women. The algorithm outperformed six radiologists in reading mammograms.AI was still as good as two doctors working together.

Pokemon go: documents show Canadian military’s struggle with game:

The arrival of Pokemon Go left a baffled Canadian military struggling to understand a surge in trespassing, newly released documents show. When the game was launched in 2016, civilians started walking and driving on to operational bases at all hours.”Plse advise the Commissionaires that apparently Fort Frontenac is both a PokeGym and a PokeStop,” one email from a major read. “I will be completely honest in that I have no idea what that is.”

The documents were released to national broadcaster CBC in response to an information request. The news organisation had spotted a criminal advisory in July 2016 — eight days after the game’s release, warning police that many defence locations were ‘game landmarks’.

Apple accused of crackdown on jailbreaking:

Apple is pushing ahead with a lawsuit against Corellium, in what is being labelled as a move to end jailbreaking.The tech giant began its legal battle in August, claiming the firm profits from “perfect replicas” of iOS.Apple has now amended its lawsuit, alleging copyright infringement.

Corellium’s chief executive Amanda Gorton responded in an open letter, in which she said developers and jailbreakers should be “concerned” by the move.Jailbreaking is a process by which Apple’s operating systems are modified to remove restrictions and give greater control to the user.

Facebook removes misleading hiv drug ads:

Facebook has removed adverts about HIV prevention medicines, following intense lobbying from lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer advocacy groups. They argued in an open letter sent to Facebook in December, that the ads went beyond misinformation to “put people’s lives in imminent danger”.

Medical studies suggest drugs such as Truvada are safe. But the ads, from law firms attempting to convince gay and bisexual men to join lawsuits, suggested otherwise.They focused on harmful side effects, such as kidney issues.Facebook agreed that this was misleading: “After a review, our independent fact-checking partners have determined some of these ads in question mislead people about the effects of Truvada.

Chinese start-up mobike loses more than 200,000 bikes:

Chinese start-up Mobike has announced that it lost more than 200,000 bikes in 2019. The company said in a blog that 205,600 “dockless” bikes were lost to theft and vandalism.

In 2018, it pulled out of Manchester after a series of incidents. Shared dockless bikes, which are hired via an app, have become commonplace in cities worldwide over the last few years. Companies like Uber, Lime and Ofo have all put shared bikes on city streets, as have some local councils. In China, thousands of shared bikes have ended up in huge scrapheaps, leading to questions about whether there is demand for them.

AMD has already taken over 40% of the processor market share from Intel:

AMD and Intel have been battling it out in the semiconductor market for years now. Intel always had the advantage of being a much larger company with a significantly bigger customer base, but AMD has been going toe to toe with them without breaking a sweat.

Passmark has reported that AMD has now gained 40% of the processor market share, which is a feat that the company hasn’t achieved in over 14 years. This was mostly due to AMD’s Ryzen 3000 series that was released back in July 2019. It was so well received that Intel finally lost its lead in the semiconductor market after three decades and AMD turned out to make the most profit out of it. These processors not only matched Intel’s iterations in terms of performance but were also offered at much more affordable price tags.

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