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News Headlines of 23 - 2 - 2018

PAKISTAN NEWS:

LOAD SHEDDING MAY RETURN AS LOSSES HAVE TRIPLED:
Pakistan will have to bear power sector losses of Rs360 billion this year — three times greater than those in 2013 — because of insignificant reduction in system losses and increased electricity supply. “Because of increase in the quantum of power generated, we will have to absorb Rs360bn annual losses despite 1.2 per cent reduction in [system] losses,” said Minister for Power Sardar Awais Ahmed Khan Leghari in a statement released by his office on Thursday.


LITTLE CHANGE IN PAKISTAN’S RANKING IN CORRUPTION INDEX:
The Cor­ru­p­tion Perceptions Index 2017, released by the Transparency International, has placed Pakistan at the rank of 117 out of 180 countries, with no major change from 2016 when the country was ranked 116 out of 176 countries. Pakistan’s score is 32 in 2017, showing no change from the previous year when the score was 32. The index ranks countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and business people and uses a scale of zero to 100, where zero is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.

IMPORT BILL SURGES DUE TO OIL PRICES SPIKE:
Pakistan’s oil and food import bill rose nearly 26 per cent year-on-year to $11.6 billion in the first seven months of the current fiscal year owing to an increase in global prices of crude and grains. The amount comes to slightly above one third of the total import goods import bill for the period. Two thirds of this is due to oil imports.

IRAN ENVOY TO PAKISTAN REGRETS DELAY IN OPENING OF BILATERAL BANKING TIES:
Iran’s envoy to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost on Thursday regretted that establishment of bilateral banking ties was being delayed because of Islamabad’s ‘conservativeness’, while Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project remained frozen.


POWER CONSUMERS TO GET RS3.24 PER UNIT REFUND, EXCEPT FOR KARACHI:
The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) on Thursday ordered ex-Wapda distribution companies to refund Rs3.242 per unit to consumers for overcharging them Rs34 billion in January. The decision was taken at a public hearing presided over by Nepra Chairman Brig Tariq Sadozai on the request of Central Power Purchase Agency (CPPA).


RESERVES DECLINE TO $18.8BN:
The foreign exchange reserves of the country fell by $139 million to $18.829bn during the week ended Feb 16, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) reported on Thursday. The foreign exchange reser­ves have been taking a toll each successive week, posing the risk they could fall below the critical level that requires the country to have forex holdings to cover at least three months’ imports.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS:

KYLIE JENNER ‘SOO OVER’ SNAPCHAT- AND WALL STREET PANICS:
Reality TV star Kylie Jenner wiped $1.3bn (£1bn) off Snap's stock market value after tweeting that she no longer used its Snapchat messaging app. Celebrity Kim Kardashian's half-sister posted: "sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me... ugh this is so sad.".

JAPANESE AIRBAG MAKER TAKATA REACHES SETTLEMENT IN US:
The US arm of Japanese manufacturer Takata has reached a settlement with 44 US state attorneys-general into claims it concealed dangerous defects in its exploding airbags. The faulty airbags have been linked to at least a dozen deaths and more than 100 injuries worldwide.

WOMEN EARN UP TO 43% LESS AT BARCLAYS:
Female employees earn up to 43.5% less at Barclays than men, according to gender pay gap figures it has submitted to the government. Only 28 of the 1,154 companies that have reported the figures have a higher median hourly pay gap than Barclays. Barclays chief executive Jes Staley said it had "more work to do" so women could progress in financial services.


SAUDI ARABIA TO INVEST $64BN IN ENTERTAINMENT:
Saudi Arabia says it will invest $64bn (£46bn) in developing its entertainment industry over the next decade. The head of the General Entertainment Authority said 5,000 events were planned this year alone, including those by Maroon 5 and Cirque du Soleil. Construction of the country's first opera house has also begun in Riyadh.


SCANDAL-HIT AUSTRALIA DEPUTY PM TO RESIGN:
Barnaby Joyce says he will resign as Australia's deputy prime minister following a politically damaging saga that began with his affair with a former staffer. Mr Joyce said he would step down on Monday as leader of the Nationals, the junior government partner.


ARMED OFFICER ‘DID NOT CONFRONT KILLER’:
An armed officer who was at the Florida school where a gunman killed 17 people last week stood outside the building during the shooting and did not intervene, the local sheriff says. The school resource officer has resigned after being suspended, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said.

PAKISTAN TECHNOLOGY NEWS:

GET 10% DISCOUNT ON TELENOR PACKAGES WITH EASYPAISA!:
What happens when you use an EasyPaisa account to subscribe to your favorite voice, data, sms or all in one bundle on Telenor? These highly discounted bundles, which already make your life easier, can be yours for a further 10% off their listed price, provided you use your Easypaisa mobile account balance!.

JAZZ INITIATES BIMA AWARENESS CAMPAIGN:
Jazz in partnership with Milvik Mobile Pakistan (Private) Ltd. conducted an awareness campaign for its BIMA insurance service in the region of Sheikhupura. This awareness drive involved setting up of 38 information kiosks, where around 250 insurance agents provided on spot information and support to the public.


PAKISTAN SOCIAL MEDIA SUMMIT SET TO TAKE PLACE IN ISLAMABAD:
Digital media solutions and event management company AlphaPro is organizing a grand Social Media Summit in the federal capital in March, to promote the positive use of social media and forge related strategies accordingly.


LUMS AND BUITEMS GET THE CONTRACT FOR NIC QUETTA:
After delivering results in Islamabad and Lahore, the government of Pakistan recently inaugurated National Incubation Centres in Peshawar and Karachi. To take one step further, Ignite has now awarded the contract for NIC Quetta to LUMS and Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering, and Management Sciences (BUITEMS).


UTORRENT SECURITY FLAW GIVES HACKERS ACCESS TO YOU PC:
We all love using uTorrent for downloading tons of media & software files from the internet. Unfortunately, the hazards of using these peer-to-peer downloading apps are unknown to us. A Google Project Zero researcher Tavis Ormandy has revealed some of the dangers of using these apps. According to Ormandy, those using BitTorrent or uTorrent have serious flaws, making them vulnerable to getting hijacked.


FACEBOOK MESSENGER INTRODUCES GROUP CALLS:
Facebook Messenger will now let you add more than one people in an on-going video chat. Last month, Facebook announced a few important updates for its apps. Messenger’s user interface has also received some tweaks that make it easier to use.

 

INTERNATIONAL TECHNOLOGY NEWS:

TECH GIANTS FACE NEW UK TAX CLAMPDOWN:
Some of the world's largest technology firms are facing hefty new bills as the UK government moves to fundamentally change the way they are taxed. Google and Facebook are braced for significant changes in the tax system after the Treasury told the media that a new tax on revenues was the "potentially preferred option".


AIRBNB AIMS TO WOO WEALTHIER TRAVELLERS:
AirBnB is offering new services aimed at wealthier travellers as it seeks to compete in the luxury travel market. The accommodation site will offer a dedicated section for boutique hotels, bed and breakfasts and more unusual locations such as treehouses and boats.

ELON MUSK QUITS AI ETHICS RESEARCH GROUP:
Technology billionaire Elon Musk has quit the board of the research group he co-founded to look into the ethics of artificial intelligence. OpenAI said the decision had been taken to avoid any conflict of interest as Mr Musk's electric car company, Tesla, became "more focused on AI". He has been one of AI's most vocal critics, stressing the potential harms.


WHITE NATIONALIST JARED TAYLOR SUES TWITTER OVER BAN:
White nationalist Jared Taylor is suing Twitter after the social network banned his account as part of a crackdown on abusive content. Mr Taylor's lawyer says the suspension of his account is a form of censorship, accusing Twitter of discrimination.


DISNEY LOSES IN REDBOX COPYRIGHT ROW:
Disney has lost a bid to stop movie rental company Redbox from reselling download codes for its films. Redbox bought Disney movies on DVD to offer for rental in its kiosks. The DVDs were often bundled with a code to download a copy of the film.


GAME HELPS PLAYERS SPOT ‘FAKE NEWS’:
A game designed to help people understand how fake news and conspiracy theories spread online has been created at the University of Cambridge. Bad News lets players build a social media following by choosing inflammatory headlines and images to share with their imaginary fans. Players earn achievements for impersonating celebrities and spreading misinformation.

 

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