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PAKISTAN NEWS:
VEON to extend digital services:

VEON’s co-Chief Executive Officer Sergi Herrero visited Pakistan to meet with key government stakeholders in a bid to reaffirm VEON and its subsidiary Jazz’s commitment to the economy and explore mutually beneficial avenues to further economic growth. During his visit, Sergi called on Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad to discuss collaborative ways in which VEON and Jazz can assist with the country’s socio-economic development through advancements in telecommunications, internet & digital financial services, and be a partner for Digital Pakistan and extend digital services to the masses. This meeting was synonymous with the Prime Minister’s Digital Pakistan initiative, enabling broadband and digital financial services for the mass population.

SBP proposes policy to simplify remittances to digital service providers:

In order to facilitate ease of doing business and streamline the remittance process for VC’s, start-ups, tech-based companies in specific and others in general, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has proposed a draft policy on “Remittances to Global Digital Service Providers”. The policy will allow businesses in Pakistan to acquire digital services from international companies with instant payments.

Huawei supports Ministry of IT in its women empowerment initiative:

Sindh Governor Mr. Imran Ismail inaugurated the launch ceremony of an app designed to further the cause of women empowerment within Pakistani society. The ceremony was held by the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication in conjunction with private sponsors in Karachi.  Dr. Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Mayor of Karachi Mr. Waseem Akhtar, Huawei Pakistan CEO Saif Chi, Dr. Atta-ur-Rehman also attended the event. The app called Baytee, which is a project by MoITT, is intended to promote female agency by providing resources for educational awareness on women’s rights, laws, regulations, health services, for providing job opportunities, as well as connection with other women through threaded discussions as a part of the Pakistan Vision 2025 Project. Baytee would be helpful in empowering women in the country as it is aimed at teaching girls about their rights and providing due facilities to the women.

Bookme.pk launches Pakistan’s fastest Inter-City Delivery Service:

As per the information shared recently by the Ministry of Communications, the postal delivery service in Pakistan is worth more than $34.2 billion with an annual estimated growth of 18%. Furthermore, there has been an explosive growth in recent years especially due to the increase in traffic and congestion in big cities across the country, high premium being charged by existing express delivery services and the non-availability of delivery services during weekends, customers are now looking for low-cost and faster alternatives.

PTA issues IP whitelisting regulations to curb grey traffic:

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is continuously taking measures to curb grey telephony with raids on illegal telecom setups and whitelisting of Internet Protocols (IP) used to relay legitimate voice traffic. To safeguard the legitimate voice communication, PTA has issued IP Whitelisting Regulations (formerly IP whitelisting SoP). IP addresses being used by PTA Long Distance and International (LDI) licensees and PSEB registered call centers are registered (whitelisted) to ensure their uninterrupted voice operations. In this regard, besides PTA LDI licensees, over 600 PSEB registered call centers have had their IP addresses whitelisted so far.

Realme C3 gets another camera & fingerprint sensor:

Chinese phone maker Realme has released an improved variant of the recently released mid-ranger device, the C3. The enhanced model features an additional camera at the back and also a fingerprint sensor. Other than the specifications mentioned before, the new Realme C3 comes with pretty much the same specifications as before. It comes with a 6.5-inch IPS LCD which has HD+ resolution and a waterdrop notch that holds the front-facing camera.

PTCL and RCCI collaborate to enable digital Pakistan:

Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) has signed an MoU with the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industries (RCCI) to establish a strategic partnership that offers state-of-the-art digital services from PTCL to the business community associated with Rawalpindi chamber. These include fully managed IT & Telecom services such as Voice, Data, High-Speed Internet, International connectivity, Cloud Computing, Surveillance, Data Center, Information security and Wi-Fi solution.

Vivo unveils iQOO 3’s camera samples and specifications:

Vivo’s subsidiary iQOO is all geared up to launch its latest flagship phone under the moniker iQOO 3. Prior to its release, to stir up a little excitement, the company has unveiled details regarding the smartphone’s rear camera. The information arrived in a post shared by iQOO’s official Weibo account. According to the post, the upcoming smartphone will feature a quad-sensor rear camera setup with a 48-megapixel primary lens topped with an alleged “50mm professional portrait lens”. The camera will also support AI eye-tracking technology.

India starts blocking VPN Apps in Kashmir:

Even though the Indian government has restored mobile data service and the internet to some extent in occupied Kashmir, social media sites such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram are still blocked. Hence, the residents of Indian occupied Kashmir use VPNs or proxies to bypass the restrictions. However, according to Indian authorities, some users are trying to stir trouble in the area which has led the authorities to crack down on VPN applications that are being used to circumvent the ban on social media. According to them, this is a part of their broader effort to quell the unrest.

LG’s entry level W10 Alpha covers all the basics:

LG is expanding its budget phone lineup with the addition of the W10 Alpha. It is meant to compete with the Chinese OEMs and was originally set to release at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2020. It has a 5.7-inch IPS LCD with HD+ resolution, a waterdrop notch at the top, and a fairly thick bottom bezel. It features a 19:9 aspect ratio and a screen to body ratio of 86.83%. At the back, there is a single primary camera in the top left corner over an LED flash unit. There is also no fingerprint sensor on the phone, but it does support a snappy face unlock that claims to unlock the device in 0.3 seconds.

Here’s what’s new in Android 11:

Android 11 was accidentally teased just a few days ago by Google when the developer preview page went up for a few minutes before it was quickly taken down. However, it seems like the search engine giant is done waiting. Google has now officially released the developer preview of the upcoming Android 11. You can download and use it if you want to, but be wary of the bugs and it’s definitely not recommended as a daily driver.

Facebook is testing a new type of newsfeed:

Facebook, in order to optimize the experience of scrolling through the newsfeed, is working on revamping the structure of the feed of its main application. The social media giant is presently testing a new tabbed version of its current news feed.This tabbed version is expected to house different options. The current algorithm which shows the posts that it thinks the person would like the most will be topped with new tabs, namely ‘Most Recent’ and ‘Already Seen.’

 

INTERNATIONAL NEWS:
MGM hack exposes personal data of 10.6 million guests:

The personal information of 10.6 million guests who stayed at MGM Resorts hotels was hacked last summer. The hack was first reported by ZDNet on Wednesday, which said the stolen information was posted to a hacking forum this week. MGM confirmed the attack took place to the BBC. The data exposed included names, address, and passport numbers for former guests.MGM said it was “confident” no financial information had been exposed. The resort chain said it was unable to say exactly how many people were impacted because information that was exposed might be duplicated.” Last summer, we discovered unauthorized access to a cloud server that contained a limited amount of information for certain previous guests of MGM Resorts. We are confident that no financial, payment card or password data was involved in this matter,” a spokesperson for MGM Resorts said.

Computer scientist behind cut, copy and paste dies aged 74:

Larry Tesler, an icon of early computing, has died at the age of 74. Mr Tesler started working in Silicon Valley in the early 1960s, at a time when computers were inaccessible to the vast majority of people. It was thanks to his innovations – which included the ‘cut’, ‘copy’ and ‘paste’ commands — that the personal computer became simple to learn and use. Xerox, where Mr Tesler spent part of his career, paid tribute to him. “The inventor of cut/copy & paste, find & replace, and more, was former Xerox researcher Larry Tesler,” the company tweeted. “Your workday is easier thanks to his revolutionary ideas.”

Ransomware-hit US gas pipeline shut for two days:

A ransomware attack on a US natural gas facility meant a pipeline had to be shut down for two days, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has said. However, it did not name the facility or say when the attack happened. A malicious link sent to staff at the facility eventually caused the shutdown “of the entire pipeline asset”. It was so severe in part because the organisation was not prepared for such an attack, the DHS statement said. The incident was detailed in a security alert., which revealed it to be a “spear-phishing” attack, in which individuals are sent fraudulent but believable scam messages.

Facebook boss faces ‘blow-dried armpit’ jibes:

Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg has faced jibes on social media over claims he has staff blow-dry his armpits before public appearances. The claim is from a new book, Facebook: The Inside Story by Steven Levy, that will be released later this month. A Bloomberg review included the anecdote about Mr Zuckerberg having a member of his communication team dry his “anxiety sweat” before a speech. A Facebook spokesperson said she doubted the story’s accuracy. “I doubt this is true, and if so, it would have been at our communications team’s request, but surely anyone who has ever worn a grey T-shirt can relate,” said Liz Bourgeois, a Facebook spokesperson.

EU plans new rules for AI but experts seek more detail:

The European Commission has said it intends to draw up new rules to protect citizens against misuses of artificial intelligence (AI) tech. It likened the current situation to “the Wild West” and said it would focus on “high-risk” cases. But some experts are disappointed that a white paper it published did not provide more details. A leaked draft had suggested a ban on facial recognition’s use in public areas would be proposed.Industry Commissioner Thierry Breton suggested the new legislation would be comparable to the General Data Protection Regulation. The far-reaching law governing data privacy came into effect in 2018, with harsh financial penalties.”As with GDPR, we have our own rules and we will have them here,” Mr Breton said.

TikTok ‘family safety mode’ gives parents some app control:

TikTok is introducing a new “family safety mode” designed to give parents tighter control over teens’ mobile phone habits. It will let parents link their own TikTok accounts to their child’s — and turn features on and off remotely. That includes a “restricted mode” that tries to filter out inappropriate content, and turning off messaging. TikTok has an age limit of 13, but many pre-teens still use the Chinese-owned app. A recent survey by UK media regulator Ofcom found that TikTok was used by 13% of all children aged 12-15 in 2019 – up from 8% the year before.

Ring doorbell makes two-factor verification mandatory:

Ring, Amazon’s video doorbell system, has introduced additional steps to the way users log in to their accounts. Users will need to enter a password and unique six-digit code when they first log in to view their security footage or access the Neighbors app. On Tuesday, Ring also said it would pause its data-sharing with third-party firms. The change comes as Ring and Amazon face increasing scrutiny about privacy protection and data sharing.

BT account scammers jailed for £358k fraud:

Scammers who infiltrated BT customer accounts as part of a “sophisticated” £358,000 fraud have been jailed. The gang targeted in excess of 2,000 people, predominantly in the Portsmouth area, between May 2014 and July 2016. They used the details to set up Paypal accounts to order expensive items which were then delivered to addresses in the city controlled by the group. Seven people were jailed for between 16 and 44 months for their part in the fraud. An eighth defendant was fined £1,000.Portsmouth Crown Court heard the gang spent the money on Rolex watches, high-value jewellery, TVs and designer clothes.

Facebook expresses ‘deep concern’ after Singapore orders page block:

Facebook has expressed concern after it was ordered by Singapore to block access to a news site’s page. Singapore said the fringe site States Times Review had broken a newly introduced “fake news” law and repeatedly conveyed “falsehoods”. Facebook said it was “legally compelled” to comply with the order to block access from Singapore, but said the order was “deeply concern[ing]”. It added that the directive could “stifle freedom of expression”. The law known as the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation bill (POFMA) came into effect in October.

Soros calls for Zuckerberg and Sandberg to leave Facebook:

Billionaire financier George Soros has written to the Financial Times, calling for Facebook bosses Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg to leave Facebook. He argued the social media platform’s refusal to remove political ads was “helping to get Donald Trump re-elected”. The letter comes as Mr Zuckerberg heads to Europe to call for light-touch government regulation. His proposals have received a lukewarm response from European lawmakers. Mr Zuckerberg wants regulation of harmful content on internet platforms to be different from existing rules governing the media and telecoms firms.In response, European industry commissioner Thierry Breton said it was not “for us to adapt to this company, it’s for this company to adapt to us”.

A vet in your pocket: New ways to help ill pets:

Michelle Keith was distressed last April when her basset hound puppy ate some of the big chocolate Easter eggs she had lying on top of a cupboard. Knowing that chocolate can be toxic for dogs, she knew she had to do something. But she was reluctant to rush Dinah into an emergency clinic at a local vet and pick up a hefty fee for the visit.Instead, she called, via a video chat service, a vet available through Pawsquad, a UK based start-up. London-based Pawsquad, founded in 2015, allows pet owners to call vets via video or chat through text messages so they can describe what is ailing their animals and learn what they should do next.

Why your new work colleague could be a robot:

You hear EVA before you see it. A whirring and whizzing noise greets you as you enter the offices of Automata, a start-up robotics company based in London.To one side a robotic arm is going through an intricate set of moves: six joints twisting and turning in a sequence which, in the real world, would place a label on a parcel. That’s EVA, and it has being doing those moves non-stop for months to test its reliability. Around the office and workshop there are more than a dozen other EVA units, some being dismantled by the engineers, others awaiting testing. It must be very eerie at night as EVA continues its work, simulating attaching labels, while surrounded by its silent clones.

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