Friday, 27 October 2017

Jazz to Offer Smartphones on Installments & Discounts on Accessories

Jazz has exclusively partnered with Smartlink Technologies and Greentech for ‘Jazz Smartphone Festival’. This festival allows customers to buy their favorite smartphones on easy installment plans from any Jazz Service Center across Pakistan. Furthermore, a host of Xiaomi accessories are also available on amazing discounts.

Every device bought will come with a free 4G data offer, so customers can experience Jazz’s exceptional mobile internet service. Customers will be evaluated on the basis of a set credit scoring criteria and receive the device upfront after verification and agreeing to the terms and conditions.

Speaking about the offer, Muhammad Ali Khan, Head of Data and Devices – Jazz, said,

We are constantly looking for avenues to provide our customers with the best in-class services and products. The ‘Jazz Smartphone Festival’ looks to facilitate our customers with hi-end smartphone devices so they can continue doing the things they enjoy online. This is our way of thanking them for years of support.

The ‘Jazz Smartphone Festival’ looks to promote smartphone usage in the country and is in line with Jazz’s commitment of introducing innovative products and services to improve the overall experience for valued customers.


Google’s New Gmail Add-ons Makes Your Workflow Smoother

Managing emails can be very hard, especially when you need to not only keep track of your data, conversations and invoices but also of all the upcoming events and opportunities. If all of the required tasks could be managed from your email, it would save you a whole lot of time and effort.

With the realization that email has the capability of doing more, Google has decided to provide its users with add-ons for Gmail.

Google Add-ons
With Google Add-ons, you can now manage your workflow without having to continuously toggle between different apps and your inbox.

Google Add-ons will help provide you with a handful of apps related to your usage. Google shall do this based on the messages received by the user.

The add-ons basically help improve your workflow, by saving you the time used in switching between different apps, instead it will let Gmail make those apps accessible to you saving you a lot of time.

Getting Add-ons
Add-ons shall work just the same on the web or on your Android device, so once you visit your inbox and go to the Settings wheel, choose “Get add-ons” and you can start using them.

During the beginning of the year, add-ons were only available in the developer preview.

Since the launch of the developer preview, the idea has been supported by several businesses to help users connect, help keep them stay updated with the progress of their projects and facilitate invoicing and several other tasks that need to be kept track of.

Currently, Add-ons are being offered with several apps, some which are mentioned below:


  • Asana,
  • Dialpad,
  • Hire,
  • Intuit QuickBooks Invoicing,
  • ProsperWorks,
  • RingCentral,
  • Smartsheet,
  • Streak,
  • Trello,
  • Wrike,
  • DocuSign is one of the apps that will soon be offering a new set of Add-ons for Gmail.


Via GoogleBlog

Oppo F5 Announced with 18:9 Screen & Better Cameras

Following up on the success of F3 and F3 Plus, Oppo has added a new device to its expanding line of mid-range phones. The new Oppo F5 covers all the bases with a large display, a moderately-fast processor, and decent cameras.

Design and Display


The successor to the F3 comes with a large 6-inch display with 18:9 (or 2:1) aspect ratio and a resolution of 1080 x 2160 pixels. The design is also unibody metal like the F3 but it lacks the dual selfie cameras that its siblings have.

Internals and Storage
Under the hood, you get the 2.3 GHz octa-core MediaTek Helio P23 processor. The RAM combinations range from 4 to 6 GB with either 32 or 64 GB of internal storage

The OS running here is Android 7.1 Nougat with Oppo’s Color OS 3.2. The company hasn’t announced an update to Android Oreo for the F5.

Camera(s)
Up front, you get the 20 MP camera with f/2.0 aperture and AI tech, which allows facial unlock features, as well as background blur (despite having a single lens) and other cool editing styles.

The back camera features a 16 MP f/1.6 shooter with a LED flash.

Battery
The battery capacity is 3200 mAh, which is likely non-removable. No fast charging support has been announced

The pricing of the phone is set at 15,990 Philippine Pesos (Rs. 32,550) which puts the phone squarely among dozens of other competitors from rivals. The impressive cameras backed with AI, and the 2:1 display are something of a rarity even today and that gives the F5 an edge.

Oppo F5 Specifications

  • CPU: 2.3 GHz Octa-core Cortex-A53
  • Chipset: MediaTek Helio P23
  • OS: Android 7.1 Nougat with Color OS 3.2
  • Networks: 2G, 3G, 4G LTE
  • Display:
  • 6-inch 18:9 with 1080 x 2160 resolution
  • Memory:
  • RAM: 4/6 GB
  • Internal: 32/64 GB
  • Card slot: yes

Camera:

  • Primary: 16 MP, f/1.8, phase detection autofocus, LED flash
  • Secondary: 20 MP, f/2.0
  • Connectivity: MicroUSB, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS
  • Battery: 3,200 mAh
  • Price: PHP 15,990 (Rs. 32,550)

Out of School Children Prove to be a Huge Challenge for Pakistan

For the educational needs of a growing nation, charitable and religious institutions as well as private schools, are gathering to fund and improve government schools which will fulfill the needs of around 50 million children.

A report from 2016 suggests that around 20 million children in Pakistan are out of school even though there are 220,000 schools in the country.

Education consultancy Alif Ailaan suggests that the government has raised their funds for schooling purposes and the budget apportioned for education is increasing by 15% since 2010 every year. The current budget is 2.65 percent of the total GDP – which makes up $8 billion and breaks down to is $150 per student.

Evidently, the government has failed to provide the children with all their educational needs and experts suggest that the lack of funds isn’t the main issue here – the standard and quality of teachers, their teaching skills are the significant part of the problem.

Zeba Hussain, the founder of the Mashal Schools highlighted this problem by saying “It’s not the number of schools, it’s the quality, the attitude.”

Zeba Hussain’s schools educate underprivileged children displaced due to war in the northern areas of the country. She started her institutes situated at the outskirts of the capital city, Islamabad, after she met refugees in the Margalla hills.

Vision 21’s Shaista Kazmi – a private NGO for children out of school – highlighted another issue after saying “Students are labeled ‘smart’ or ‘stupid’ right from the start.”

However, some people such as Tariq Masood, the Federal education director, disagree and believe that the growing population and lack of government aid and funding are the main problems in government-run schools. He said,

No one who is underqualified can enter the government system, there are fewer checks in the private system.

He said that the curriculum followed by government schools is being consistently redesigned and is becoming innovative – it is the private schools who are not being overseen by the government.

Another major problem is that poor families send their children to religious seminaries or madrassa and most of them do not follow the government’s regulations.

Via: Reuters

Microsoft’s Sonar Can Help Diagnose a Website’s Performance & Security Flaws

Microsoft launched a new handy tool called Sonar which can help check your website for any issues it may have – including performance and security problems.

The team which created Microsoft Edge browser created this tool, which is open-source and it can let you check any website easily.

Sonar is a site scanner and a linting tool which is focused on creating better, safer, and faster websites. This tool will help tech-savvy developers and normal day to day users alike as it is available both as a web-based service hosted by Microsoft and also as a command-line tool for people who want to make some tweaks and utilize it according to their their workflows.

Earlier this year, Microsoft donated their Sonar project to the JS Foundation which is why you don’t necessarily need to be a command-line geek to use it, you can just type in the URL to your website and make it work.

The Sonar team assures that this tool is better than other tools because it uses a slightly different approach – it analyzes websites differently because it doesn’t just run a static analysis on the code of the website, it actually runs and executes that code in a container and runs tests in a parallel orientation. Existing tools such as aXe Core, snyk.io, SSL Labs, Cloudinary, and AMP validator have also been integrated into this tool.

The PM of Microsoft Edge, Anton Molleda, explained in his announcement today that Sonar puts the user at the centre of the experience.

Rather than just telling developers what was wrong, sonar had to also say why it is important to know the reason for an issue so developers can decide if that really applies to their work. The requirements from website to the website can change a lot―for example, an intranet website and an online shopping experience will have vastly different needs. Therefore, sonar should also be easy to use, configure, and expand.

If you want to, you can try out Sonar for yourself, however, you might need to wait for the results because at the time of writing, Sonar is queuing your URLs due to heavy traffic as many people are trying it right now.

Habib Metropolitan Bank’s Profits Decline by 29% in Q3 2017

Habib Metropolitan Bank posted a net profit of Rs. 1.01 billion in the July-September period of 2017, which is down 29.37 % from Rs. 1.43 billion a year ago, according to the bank’s quarterly financial accounts released on Thursday.

The earnings announcement did not contain a cash dividend.

Earning per share also declined to Rs. 0.97 as compared to Rs. 1.37 in the same period last year.

The loss in earnings can be attributed to a capital loss of Rs. 405 million recorded during Q3 2017 which dragged the earnings during the third quarter.

During the Q3 2017, HMB posted 21% YoY higher Net Interest Income (NII) as the bank witnessed 7% YoY decline in Interest Expenses.

The bank’s Provisioning Expenses were also almost nil, while Fee Income improved by 20% YoY during Q3 2017.

The administrative expenses jumped by 8.33% to Rs. 2.6 billion as compared to Rs. 2.4 billion in the same period of last year. Sequential earnings before tax dropped by 21% YoY due to a loss realized on the sale of securities, while NII remained at Q2 2017 levels.

It also announced its results for first 9 months of 2017, posting a profit after tax of Rs. 3.25 billion down 15% YoY as compared to Rs. 3.81 billion.Third quarter earnings for 2017 clocked-in at Rs. 1.01 billion, down 29% YoY.

Habib Metropolitan Bank’s Net markup income after provisions for the period increased by 25%, amounting to a total of 9.65 billion Rupees during the nine months ended September, 30th 2017

Bank’s total non-markup interest income for the period decreased by 30.45% during the nine months.

Total non-mark-up/interest expenses for the period increased by 16% taking away a total of Rs. 8.11 billion from the bottom line in last nine months

Habib Metropolitan script at the bourse was trading at Rs. 32.94 gaining +1.35% with a turnover of 30,500 shares.

The bank was recognized with the “Best SME Deal of the Year” by the Asian Development Bank in 2017. Earlier in 2016, the bank was awarded as the ADB’s “Leading Partner in Pakistan” for the 2nd consecutive year, in addition to the winning the ‘Leading SME Trade Bank’ award.

The bank continues to expand its footprint across Pakistan with a growing network of 308 branches in 88 cities across Pakistan, with an aim to further enhance its outreach in 2017.

Microsoft Kills the Kinect for Good

Microsoft is shutting down the production of the Kinect permanently.

Kinect was introduced at E3 in 2009 under the codename ‘Project Natal’. It was officially launched as ‘Kinect’ at 2010’s E3.

It was a response to Nintendo’s Wii and PlayStation Move which became widely popular. However, Kinect did not require any handheld device while operating, unlike the Wii. Kinect instead tracked the entire body with the aid of multiple cameras and sensors which was more effective than those handheld devices which tracked motion.

Kinect went on to make a Guinness world record after becoming the fastest selling consumer device in history. However, over the years the demand fell down due to lack of specialised content.

The Xbox One sported an upgraded version of Kinect to ensure more content could be added in the future and to bring in more developers. However, this caused an increase in the overall price of the whole bundle and the Xbox One lost sales to Sony’s PS4.

This caused Microsoft to remove Kinect from the bundle and reduce the price of Xbox One to boost sales. Thus, this decision was a major blow to the future of Kinect.

Plus, yesterday’s decision ensured that Microsoft’s Kinect was now put to rest for good.

Pakistani Engineers Develop an Artificial Intelligence Journalist

Meet Dante, an Al Writer based on a neural network, created by baseH.

BaseH is a small enterprise made up of young IT crackerjacks. For the creation of Dante, software engineers from the NED University also assisted baseH.

Dante was introduced to the public at the baseH Headquarters Karachi.

Small News Reports

Earlier, the AI had been writing Pakistan Stock Exchange closing reports. But now it would be used to do small news reports after fetching and hoarding data from local and international media outlets.

An official from baseH said,

Dante has the capability to learn the style of writing where it is being deployed and quickly adapt to new writing styles and set of editorial policies or preferences.

Coming Soon at Newspapers and Blogs
In the long run, the company believes that Dante would come in handy for the newspapers, blogs and channels by giving quality time to the editors and reporters by doing their jobs for them. Seems more like replacing human journalists with computers.

The website stated:

Our focus at the moment are media houses that can produce endless content with the same staff and in practically no time.

Stories whipped up by the AI were scanned by senior Pakistani journalists who claimed that they could not tell the difference between the stories written by a human and Dante.

Replacing Human Writers?
If Dante turns out to be successful and easy to deploy, we could see writers being replaced by other AI based writers like Dante. This could, in theory, jeopardize the careers of writers.

Even though Dante is pretty much a news gathering resource, it only works with what it can find online. Field reporting jobs aren’t going away any time soon.

Meezan Bank Maintains Double Digit Growth in Q3 2017

Meezan Bank continued its growth momentum registering a double digit profit of 14.6 percent for the nine month period ending September 2017. It surged to Rs. 4.717 billion as compared to Rs 4.114 billion recorded in corresponding period last year.

It is due to the Islamic banking that even during times when interest rates are at a record low and all major banks are witnessing a decline in profit, Meezan Bank maintained double digit growth which is not only showing a sign of efficiency of the bank but the acceptance level of Islamic banking among the masses.

According to the financial results, the Earning per Share (EPS) of the bank has increased to Rs. 4.70 per share from Rs. 4.10 per share. On asset side, the ADR of the bank increased to 59% as compared to 55% in December 2016.

Meezan Bank attained few of more achievements in the outgoing quarter. Its trade business volume grew by 42% to half a trillion landmark as against Rs. 353 billion in the corresponding period last year. Its total deposits crossed Rs. 600 billion benchmark while maintaining an optimal cost of funds.

In the last quarter, it attained a milestone of Rs. 1 billion in assets.

Meezan Bank Raises Rs 3 Billion From Right Shares

The bank successfully completed the 6% Right Issue of shares to the existing shareholders at a price of Rs. 50 per share (inclusive of Rs 40 as premium per share) approved by the board in its last meeting held in the previous quarter.

The bank’s equity (including share premium) increased by Rs. 3 billion after the Rights Issue. This increase in equity will support the bank’s growth plans as the bank’s Capital Adequacy Ratio now stands at a comfortable level of 13.6%.

According to details, the sponsors and directors have subscribed to buy shares of worth Rs. 2.684 billion. The value of public subscription to right shares stands at Rs. 315 million and the share of underwriters stands at Rs. 7.82 million in the subscription of right shares issue.

Habib Metropolitan Bank’s Profits Decline by 29% in Q3 2017

Habib Metropolitan Bank posted a net profit of Rs. 1.01 billion in the July-September period of 2017, which is down 29.37 % from Rs. 1.43 billion a year ago, according to the bank’s quarterly financial accounts released on Thursday.

The earnings announcement did not contain a cash dividend.

Earning per share also declined to Rs. 0.97 as compared to Rs. 1.37 in the same period last year.

The loss in earnings can be attributed to a capital loss of Rs. 405 million recorded during Q3 2017 which dragged the earnings during the third quarter.

During the Q3 2017, HMB posted 21% YoY higher Net Interest Income (NII) as the bank witnessed 7% YoY decline in Interest Expenses.

The bank’s Provisioning Expenses were also almost nil, while Fee Income improved by 20% YoY during Q3 2017.

The administrative expenses jumped by 8.33% to Rs. 2.6 billion as compared to Rs. 2.4 billion in the same period of last year. Sequential earnings before tax dropped by 21% YoY due to a loss realized on the sale of securities, while NII remained at Q2 2017 levels.

It also announced its results for first 9 months of 2017, posting a profit after tax of Rs. 3.25 billion down 15% YoY as compared to Rs. 3.81 billion.Third quarter earnings for 2017 clocked-in at Rs. 1.01 billion, down 29% YoY.

Habib Metropolitan Bank’s Net markup income after provisions for the period increased by 25%, amounting to a total of 9.65 billion Rupees during the nine months ended September, 30th 2017

Bank’s total non-markup interest income for the period decreased by 30.45% during the nine months.

Total non-mark-up/interest expenses for the period increased by 16% taking away a total of Rs. 8.11 billion from the bottom line in last nine months

Habib Metropolitan script at the bourse was trading at Rs. 32.94 gaining +1.35% with a turnover of 30,500 shares.

The bank was recognized with the “Best SME Deal of the Year” by the Asian Development Bank in 2017. Earlier in 2016, the bank was awarded as the ADB’s “Leading Partner in Pakistan” for the 2nd consecutive year, in addition to the winning the ‘Leading SME Trade Bank’ award.

The bank continues to expand its footprint across Pakistan with a growing network of 308 branches in 88 cities across Pakistan, with an aim to further enhance its outreach in 2017.


Daily Stock Report: Market Registers a Loss of 185 Points (Pakistan Stock Exchange)

The market remained volatile throughout the whole day. At closing, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index registered a loss of 185.83 points or 0.45% to finish at 41409.49 points.

The market opened in green and went to an intraday high of 150 points. The political pressure changed the scenario as the market touched the intraday low down -240 points today.


The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) observed a shorter session yesterday as a technical fault in its electronic trading platform disrupted trading during the day.

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan is expected to probe whether the fault was a result of a technical glitch or was human intervention involved.

Using the IT tools and available expertise with it, the commission will continue probe till it finds actual causes and nature of the fault.

The results of different companies were also announced today as well.

Pak Elektron announced its quarter result. Pak Elektron Revenue for the period increased by 24.92%, amounting to a total of 33 billion Rupees during the quarter ended September, 30th 2017. Gross Profit increased by 13.76% with a substantial increase of 67% in sales tax and discounts. Pak Elektron reported a 47% increase in total distribution costs.

The company reported a Profit after Tax of Rs. 2.97 billion, a decline of 1.15% against Rs. 3 billion profits from the same quarter last year. Earnings per share fell to -2.19 rupees in the last three months vs 1.29 in same quarter during 2016.

The Searle Company’s Revenue for the period increased by 17.6%, amounting to a total of 3.24 billion Rupees during the nine months ended September, 30th 2017.

Company’s total cost of sales witnessed a significant jump during the quarter, with an increase of 26.7%; In addition to that Company’s Administrative Expenses also witnessed more than 45% increase resulting in a total Administration cost of Rs. 689 million during the period.

The profit after tax for the period increased by 4.43% reaching 772 million against last year’s profit of 740 million Rupees.The company’s earnings per share reached 5.62 Rupees vs 4.81 in the last quarter.

All shares index had a traded volume of just 139 million shares overall, stocks of 369 companies were traded on the exchange, of which 125 gained in value, 224 declined and 20 remained unchanged. In KSE 100 65 million shares were traded with a net worth of just Rs. 5.53 billion.

Top traded sectors:
Azgard Nine Ltd was the volume leader with 13.60 million shares gaining Rs. 0.04 to close at Rs. 14.52. It was followed by Pak Elektron with a turnover of 10.0 million shares, losing Rs. 3.56 to close at Rs. 67.64, Aisha Steel Mill with 8.15 million shares, losing Rs. 0.69 to close at Rs. 19.13 and Bank of Punjab 7.92 million shares, losing Rs. 0.29 to close at Rs. 8.63


Top Advancers of the market were:

Top Decliners of the market were:



Standard Chartered Bank’s Profits Drop By 16% in Q3 2017

Standard Chartered Bank (Pakistan) is among the few emerging banks in Pakistan with assets base above the Rs. 500 billion mark. It is the eleventh bank to achieve this milestone.

“The bank considered it as a historic milestone was achieved in this period whereby the bank’s total assets crossed over Rs. 500 billion,” the official statement issued here.

Commenting on the results, Mr. Shazad Dada, Chief Executive Officer Standard Chartered Bank said,

We have had an encouraging progress in 2017, in which we have reengaged with our clients, continued to invest in our people, culture, infrastructure and digital platforms. We have also made steady progress in further strengthening our control and compliance environment. We are well capitalised, highly liquid and are becoming stronger, leaner and more efficient. This year a historic milestone has been achieved whereby the Bank’s total assets crossed over 500 billion.

Standard Chartered Bank is the only foreign bank listed with Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX).

Standard Chartered Bank Profit Drops by 16%

The bank announced its results for third quarter and first nine months of 2017. The bank witnessed a double-digit decline in its profitability of 16 percent by the end of its third quarter, which is more than Rs. 1 billion.

Its profit after tax declined to Rs. 6.32 billion in Q3 2017 as against of Rs. 7.335 billion in Q3 of 2016.

“All businesses have positive momentum in client income with strong growth in underlying drivers. This is evident from a pickup in net advances, which have grown by 19% since the start of 2017. With a diversified product base, the Bank is well positioned to cater for the needs of its clients.”

Revenue was lowered by Rs. 1.4 billion primarily due to reduced margins and re-pricing within the investments portfolio. However, client revenue across all segments increased and is up by 10% year on year. Administrative costs continue to be well managed through operational efficiencies and disciplined spending with in-country cost decreasing by 1%  from comparative period last year.

On the liabilities side, the bank’s total deposits grew by 7%, whereas current and saving accounts grew by 5% since the start of this year. The continuous increase in low-cost deposits has significantly supported the Bank’s performance with current and savings accounts comprising 92% of the deposit base.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Violation of Orders Puts Rangers Amidst Controversy

Latest revelation by auditors has put Pakistan Rangers under controversy. Public Accounts Committee (PAC) got into action when it was revealed to them that Rangers outsourced a security job to private companies.

Director General Audits told that Petroleum Ministry had paid Rangers for the security of gas structures in sensitive areas. However, Rangers hired M/s Mehmmod & Brothers in Sindh and M/s Barki Traders in Punjab to do the job what Rangers were supposed to do.

Rangers’ Appointment
General Musharraf’s government had assigned the Rangers to provide security at gas infrastructure from any possible attacks.

This act of Rangers is a direct violation of orders given by Prime Minister Pakistan in 2003. As per rules Rangers cannot hire private companies to do the sensitive security jobs.

PAC has been active these days. Earlier this month PAC looked into the irregularities of Civil Aviation Authority’s accounts.

As a result of the ongoing investigation, Pakistan Account Committee is seeking the records of the money paid to Rangers by Petroleum Ministry. For this purpose, Chairman PAC Khursheed Shah has asked Secretary Petroleum Sikandar Sultan to provide all records that verify the payment made to Rangers.

Financial Details
Auditors told that a total of Rs. 102.4 million was paid to Rangers Sindh while Rangers Punjab were paid Rs. 54 million. It was mentioned in the report that Sindh Rangers hired M/S Mehmood Brothers for the security of SSGC and Punjab Rangers rented 20 cars from M/S Barki Traders. Accountant General of Pakistan Revenue (AGPR) cleared all these payments to be made.

Chief finance and accounting officer of Petroleum Division said AGPR and Rangers should be audited directly instead of putting blames on Petroleum Division.

A close look at the report disclosed that,

The payments were made on the basis of an agreement between the Pakistan Rangers and the Ministry of Petroleum but neither a copy of the contract nor concurrence to the contract by the Ministry of Finance was provided.

Latest by Federal Government
“Since then the gas utility companies are making full payments to the Pakistan Rangers,” deputy chief accounts of the Petroleum Division told that federal government stopped paying Rangers in 2016. As per the deputy chief costs were equally shared between federal government, provincial governments, and two gas companies.

However federal government pulled out of it when Punjab government decided to stop making any more payments.

Poor Management of Petroleum Division
Director General Federal Audit, complaining to the PAC, said that;

The petroleum division is the most difficult division among all the federal ministries and does not cooperate.

Regarding this, PAC chairman ordered the federal secretary to chair departmental accounts committee meetings himself.

Petroleum Division’s poor administrative management was brought to light when PAC continuously pushed them. The Petroleum Secretary Sikandar Sultan couldn’t say anything but admit that his Division is seriously being mismanaged. He said in his defense that

Petroleum Division is facing worst kind of human resource shortage for the past three years.

He also said that Petroleum Division has continuously sought for the help of other companies to tackle its lack of human resource issue.

This news of Petroleum Division being mismanaged is highly shocking as PM Abbasi heads the division himself.

Large Scale Manufacturing Grows by 8.5% in Second Month of FY 2017-18

According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, in the second month of fiscal year 2017-18 Large-scale manufacturing (LSM) saw year-on-year growth of 8.5 percent.

The LSM Growth Rate
LSM reported a year-on-year growth rate of 13% in July. The growth rate underwent an increase of 5.6% in the year 2016-17 and the target set by LSM for the year 2017-18 is 6.3%.

The growth rate was reported to be 11.3% in July-August, on a year over on year basis.

Production Data
The contribution of LSM in manufacturing stands at 80%, while its contribution to GDP is 10.7%. Contributions by small-scale manufacturing, on the other hand, remain at 13.7% within manufacturing and 1.8% in GDP.

A production report received by the Ministry of Industries revealed that the 36 items mentioned in the report contributed to 5.44% growth in LSM. The production data provided by the provincial bureaus of statistics reported 65 items that led to a contribution of 1.3%.

The production data provided by the Oil Companies Advisory Committee (OCAC) represented 11 items contributing to 1.8% of LSM growth.

The Industrial Sector
Data from industries revealed the growth rate contributions made by the following product categories:


  • Iron and steel products: 53%
  • Automobiles: 19%
  • Engineering products: 4.34%
  • Wood products: 15.7%
  • Coke and petroleum products: 28.8%
  • Pharmaceuticals: 10.18%
  • Leather products: 8.5%
  • Fertilisers: 0.17%
  • Non-metallic mineral products: 7.8%
  • Food, beverages, and tobacco: 7.5%
  • Chemicals: 3.13%
  • Rubber products: 1.8%
  • Paper and board: 53%
  • Textiles: 0.56%
  • Other Sectors

Mentioned below are the production rates of different products recorded in the month of August:

Items that recorded a negative growth rate:


  1. A decline of 4.5% was observed in electronics
  2. Production of LCVs underwent a drop of 10.04%
  3. Production of Buses underwent a drop of 13%
  4. Production of paints and varnishes underwent a drop of 1.09%

Items that recorded a positive growth rate:


  • Chemical sector, driven by the production of caustic soda underwent an increase of 26.21%
  • A growth rate of 49.8% was recorded in sugar
  • Productions in the pharmaceutical sector increased by:
  • Capsules: 18.46%
  • Injections: 18.18%
  • Liquids/syrups: 8.6%
  • Tablets: 9.6%
  • The automobile sector:
  • Production of tractors increased by 31.2%
  • Production of Motorcycles increased by 19.84%
  • Production of jeeps and cars increased by 16.87%
  • Other items that underwent a positive growth rate:
  • Vegetable ghee: 3.08%
  • Cooking oil: 7.02%
  • Blended tea: 3.98%

Via Dawn

This App Can Hide Your Phone’s PIN by Using an Optical Illusion

Researchers at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering have developed an app that could protect your sensitive information and passwords from people looking over your shoulder.

In today’s world where everything is online, users need some kind of insurance about the protection of their data. There are always some awkward eyes looking over for your private information.

Functionality
While there are a lot of apps which prevent online data theft, the app named “IllusionPIN” helps the user battle against potential spies sitting close to the user.

What this app does is that it generates two different image outputs. The outputs are viewed differently by different users based on the distance from the screen. People looking at a closer distance will see a high-resolution image number pad while people at a distance will see a distorted and reconfigured keypad.



Nasir Memon, a professor at Tandon explained the functionality of app:

The traditional configuration of numbers on a keypad is so familiar that it’s possible for an observer to discern a PIN or access code after several viewings of surveillance video.
Our goal was to increase the resilience of PIN authentication without straining the device or compromising user experience.
On a device running IllusionPIN, the user—who is closest to the device—sees one configuration of numbers, but someone looking from a distance sees a completely different keypad.

This app also reconfigures the keypad button arrangement each time you authenticate or log in from any account on your phone.

Testing
The app went through the testing phase where certain simulations were done. The efficiency of the app was tested by replicating the scenarios where people pry over the user’s shoulder.

Two sets of tests were performed. One was performed on phones with IllusionPIN app and one without. All other parameters were kept the same. Tests on 21 participants and a total of 84 attempts of stealing password were made.

Results proved in favor of IllusionPIN. Out of 84 attempts on IllusionPIN phones, none were successful in stealing the password. The result was completely opposite for phones without IllusionPIN app; each attempt of stealing password was successful.

The team further concluded that the app also made stealing passwords extremely difficult using surveillance footage.

The results show that IllusionPIN is a handy app to have if you want to protect your data from shoulder-surfers.

Smartphone Prices Shoot Up By 7% in Q3 2017

A report by GfK, a German-based market research company, revealed that the average price of smartphones has gone up by 7% in third quarter of this year, which is a new record.

Q3 of this year also sees the demand for smartphones increase by 3%. The latest spike in prices and demand for phones was revealed when GfK in itsquarterly report.

Statistics
According to GfK reports, last year 355.4 million smartphones were sold, the number should increase to 366.6 million this year.

Comparing all regions we can see the record demand was predominantly steered by Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe.


Among Asian countries, only South Korea saw a decreased demand. Sales of smartphones dropped by 15% there. However, China, where you can find many mid-range phones, saw sales value go up by 20%. Demand also increased by 5% in China.

Overall Change from 2016 to 2017
GfK’s results show the total change from last year to 2017. Demand increased by 4% in 2017 while sales value also increased by 10% at the same time.




IoBM Opens Spring Admissions for Engineering Program(s)

Institute of Business Management (IoBM) Karachi invites the applications for the admission in its College of Engineering Studies for 2018 Spring Session.

IoBM is one of the most prestigious institutes of Pakistan due to its expert faculty, research facilities and developmental priorities. The Institute is widely known for its innovation, industrial linkages and reputation in national as well as international arenas.

It offers state-of-the art classrooms equipped with modern technology for better dissemination of knowledge and library with wide assortments of books and reference materials for various subjects.

College of Engineering Studies
College of Engineering Studies (CES) is one of the four colleges at IoBM. It is dedicated to imparting the most relevant and modern knowledge regarding various spectrum of engineering disciplines to its students.
The College enjoys a faculty with wide expertise and professional qualifications from institutes of international prestige. With modern laboratories and impactful research practices, the College​ ​aims​ ​to​ ​create​ ​leaders​ ​of​ ​today,​ ​tomorrow​ ​and​ ​the​ ​times​ ​to​ ​come.

IoBM is thriving to expand science to the horizons beyond imaginations. Register now to embark upon a journey​ ​of​ ​learning,​ ​exploration​ ​and​ ​success.

Eligibility​ ​for​ ​entrance​ ​to​ ​Engineering​ ​Programs
The​ ​admission​ ​for​ ​Engineering​ ​Programs​ ​would​ ​be​ ​based​ ​on​ ​any​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​following:
  • A Higher Secondary School (HSC) Certificate with at least *60% marks awarded by a recognized Provincial​ ​Intermediate​ ​Board
  • American​ ​High​ ​School​ ​Diploma​ ​with​ ​CGPA​ ​2.5​ ​or​ ​any​ ​other​ ​qualifications
  • Any​ ​other​ ​qualification​ ​if​ ​an​ ​authority​ ​has​ ​issued​ ​an​ ​equivalence​ ​certificate
  • IBCC​ ​equivalence​ ​certificate​ ​will​ ​be​ ​required​ ​for​ ​A-Levels​ ​and​ ​other​ ​foreign​ ​qualifications
  • Note: In addition to success​ ​in​ ​aptitude​ ​test​ ​and​ ​interview​ ​conducted​ ​by​ ​IoBM.
  • Regsitration​ ​Fee,​ ​Procedure​ ​and​ ​Deadline
  • Registration​ ​Fee:​ ​Rs.​ ​3000/=
  • Apply​ ​through​ ​TheUnipeda​ ​to​ ​avail 10%​ ​discount​ ​in​ ​registration​ ​fee
  • Free​ ​Unipedia​ ​Coins​ ​for​ ​online​ ​test​ ​preparation​ ​and​ ​self-assessment​ ​at​ ​www.TheUnipedia.com
  • Deadline:​ ​November​ ​10,​ ​2017

You can log​ ​on​ ​to https://iobm.theunipedia.com/​ ​to​ ​register​ ​your​ ​application.

Nvidia Announces GTX 1070 Ti

AMD has been stepping up its game over the past few months, with the release of new Vega graphics cards and the Ryzen processor series. That’s not to say Nvidia has been sitting idly during this period.

One of the oldest graphics card makers in the business, Nvidia has released its latest GTX 1070 Ti, a compromise between the 1080 and the original 1070. Unlike the 1080, the 1070ti is going to be one of its more mainstream high-end cards due to its lower price point.

The Upgrades

The GTX 1070 Ti comes with a base clock of 1607 MHz (vs. 1506 MHz on the 1070), with a boost of up to 1683 MHz. The amount of VRAM is set at 8 GB GDDR5, the same as the 1070, alongside 64 ROPs and 152 Texture Units.

The amount of CUDA cores has increased from just 1920 to 2432 on the newer version, while the total bandwidth supported stands at 256 GB/s. The transistor count stays at 7.2 billion.

The new GP104 based GPU appears to be an entirely new module than the rest of the series. The TDP of the card is rated at 180W, 30W more than the 1070.

As for display output, the new card comes with 3 DisplayPort 1.4, 1 HDMI 2.0b and 1 DVI port.

Good for GTX 970 Owners
The GTX 1070 Ti is more meaningful of an upgrade for those of you that own a GTX 970, with the new card offering twice as much performance as the 970. Its CUDA and SM counts have also come as close to the 1080 as possible.

Pricing and Availability
The graphics card is priced at $449, which is $50 more than the 1070 and around $100 lesser than the 1080. It also sits squarely between the AMD Vega 56 and Vega 64. It will be available early next month from November 2nd.

Availability in Pakistan is still a question mark. You can expect the 1070 Ti to cost north of Rs. 60,000 once it arrives here.

Imported Leather & Textile Goods Will Now be Cheaper in Pakistan

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) announced a reduction in sales tax rates on the import of finished textile and leather products. FBR issued a notification SRO1070 (2017) on Monday and modified the previous notification number SRO1125 (2011).

The revised plan applies to the finished products of leather and textile that are ready to be used by the public.

As per revised plan, taxes on the import of finished textile and leather goods have been decreased. Sales tax on import of these products, as per previous plan, was 17 percent.

According to the new plan, it has been reduced to 6 percent. 2% percent value added tax remains unchanged on imported finished goods of textile and leather.

New plan sees a decrease of 11 percent sales tax on import of finished leather and textile products which may result in a decrease in the price of products that come under the leather and textile category.

Bank Al Habib Posts Decent Profits in Q3 2017

Bank Al Habib posted a profit-after-tax (PAT) of Rs 6.40 billion in the nine-month period that ended on September 30, 2017. PAT was up by 18.08% from Rs 5.42 billion in the same period of the previous year.

Earnings per share amounted to Rs 5.76 during the nine-month period, compared to Rs 3.40 in Jan-Sep of 2016.

During the quarterly period July-September 30, 2017, profits increased to Rs 1.84 billion, up 12.2% from Rs 1.64 billion in the three-month period of the previous year. Earnings per share amounted to Rs 1.66, compared to Rs 1.48 for the same three-month period of the previous year.

While it posted earning growth of 11% as net interest income grew by 9% in the third quarter which was due to strong volumetric growth. Capital gains also increased to Rs 270 million compared to Rs 9 million in the same period last year.

Non interest income of the bank improved by 74% YoY. Non-interest expense was up 21% due to higher admin expenditure.

No cash dividend or Bonus shares were announced by the Bank.

Bank Al Habib’s share was closed at Rs 58.04 at the bourse on Tuesday.

The Pakistan Credit Rating Agency (PACRA) had maintained long-term and short-term entity ratings of Bank AL Habib Limited (BAHL) at “AA+” (Double A Plus) and “A1+” (A One Plus), respectively. These ratings denote a very low expectation of credit risk emanating from a very strong capacity for timely payment of financial commitments.

DAWOOD HABIB GROUP, is the sponsor of Bank AL Habib Limited. The bank, together with its subsidiaries, provides banking products and services in Pakistan, the Middle East, the Asia Pacific, and Africa. It operates through Retail Banking, Commercial Banking, and Retail Brokerage segments.

The Bank’s assets have grown to more than Rs, 750 Billion, with a network of 627 branches and sub-branches across the country.

Huawei Overtakes Apple To Become Second Largest Phone Make

Overtaking Apple’s spot, Huawei is now the second largest phone maker in the world

The Chinese electronics giant duly overtook Apple in the months of June and July to take the crown of the world’s second largest smartphone maker. It took the title in a slow Apple quarter as the anticipation of the upcoming iPhone peaked.

R&D and Manufacturing Improvements
The news comes from a report from Counterpoint, a research firm, which pointed at R&D and manufacturing improvements as the root cause of Huawei’s rise. It still lags behind Samsung by quite a distance due to the latter’s strength in key markets such as India and the US.

Counterpoint didn’t release sales figures for the month of August yet. The more important ones, arguably, are those of June and July, and they do well to show Huawei’s rapid rise.

As long as it doesn’t affect Apple’s sales, it is highly unlikely the company will pay much attention to the news at all.

Top 10 Best Selling Smartphones in The World
Either way, Apple can remain confident due to the fact that iPhone 7 and 7 Plus remained the best-selling handsets in the world for yet another period

Oppo, another up and rising player, took the next two places with the R11 and the A57, while Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 4X and the Galaxy S8 Plus were next. The list of top 10 oddly does not include Huawei, although that isn’t surprising considering the lukewarm reception of the company’s recent flagships.

As implied earlier, Apple is very much likely to retake the spot from Huawei after the release of the iPhone 8. The moment still marks one of the first in years where Apple has found itself out of the coveted position and given Huawei’s rise and various offerings, this can happen again next year.

Telenor Revenues Grow by 7% in Q3 2017

Telenor Pakistan just reported its quarterly revenue of Rs. 25.71 billion for the period ending September 30th, 2017, up 7% from Rs. 24.01 billion it reported during the same period last year.

Not to mention, Q3 2016 revenues are revised to exclude Easypaisa’s revenues — which is now part of Telenor Bank and not Telenor Pakistan.

Telenor said that its increased revenues were mainly due to continued subscription growth and improved data revenues.

The telco said that its subscriptions, 40.71 million at the end of Q3 2017, are up from 38.23 million by the end of September last year.

Telenor Pakistan has said that its cost efficiency program has started to pay off as the CAPEX stood notably low at just Rs. 2.62 billion to yield record profits for the company in a single quarter.

Telenor’s main spend during the reported quarter was towards 4G expansion that reaches hundred plus cities and towns now.

Average revenue per user (ARPU) for prepaid users on Telenor network stood at Rs. 213 per user month, while ARPU for postpaid users remained Rs. 531 per user per month.


Huawei Ships 100 Million Phones in 2017

Huawei added yet another accolade to its record-breaking year in the smartphone industry. In the latest development, the company has registered smartphone shipments north of 100 million during the first 9 months of 2017.

The number represents an increase of 19% over the same quarter one year ago. The number also reflects positively on the operating revenue of Huawei, which is up 30% over the same time last year, though, we don’t know if it is followed by an increase in overall costs.

The company hopes to ship more than the 140 million units than it did last year. Based on the figures for these past few months, that target now seems easily achievable.

As evident with the release of the new flagships, Huawei is now quickly expanding into the profitable upper-end of the market, a point it further emphasized:

With over 10,000 employees around the world working on research and development, we expect to win more high-end customers, as there is more profit in high-end sector.

Over the past few months, the company has also expanded its global retailer network to more than 42,300 parties worldwide, tapping its rivals’ territories. That itself is an increase of 19 percent over the same time last year, with the resultant increase in sales being just as high.

Recently, Huawei overtook Apple as the world’s second largest smartphone manufacturer.

That spot is likely being consolidated now with ever-impressive sales figures, coupled with the supply and demand issues for Apple.

Huawei phones are individually not present in the year-end lists of best-selling phones, which is a void that needs to be filled, though the new Mate 10’s might avert that trend.

Infinix Hot 5: A Budget Smartphone for the Masses [Review]

During the past year or so there has been a large influx of entry-level smartphones in Pakistan. Despite the competition, Infinix hopes to stand out from the rest of the crowd by providing feature rich phones at basement prices and the next step towards that is the all new Hot 5.

We got our hands on a review unit and here’s what we think of it.

Design and Display

The Infinix Hot 5 features a plastic build with the distinguishing feature being the textured back, which helps with the overall grip and handling of the device.

The phone is light – perhaps lighter than it should be as it lacks the substantial feeling when you hold it in the hand.

On the front of the device you have the 5.5-inch screen with a front facing camera on top, an LED flash and the earpiece/loud speaker.

You’ll also find the dual front facing speaker grilles up front flanking the screen on both sides.

On top of the phone you have the 3.5mm earphone jack while on the bottom you’ll find the microUSB port for charging/data syncing and the primary microphone.

The right side of the phone houses the power button and the volume rocker.




Moving on to the back side of the phone, it has a nice textured feel to it. You’ll also find the primary camera and the LED flash located on the top left corner of the phone.

The fingerprint scanner is located at the center of the phone making it very easy to access.

The back is also removable but unfortunately, the battery is not. At least not without a set of screw drivers.

Not that you would need to remove it in the first place given its capacity. Removing the back cover gives you access to the dual SIM slots and the dedicated memory card slot.


Moving on to the display, it’s a pretty standard one with a 5.5-inch IPS panel. At this price point, the 720×1280 resolution is about what you would expect from smartphones in similar range.

Other than that, the display offers nice color reproduction, good contrast and decent viewing angles.

Negatives include the brightness, which makes it difficult to view the display in direct sunlight but it’s a complaint that’s common to many entry level smartphones.

Performance
Being a budget smartphone, you shouldn’t expect flagship like performance for the Hot 5. However that doesn’t mean the phone’s performance is bad by any means, far from it.

Let’s get the numbers and benchmarks out of the way first.

The processing power for the Hot 5 comes courtesy of the a Mediatek 6580 quad-core chipset clocked at 1.3 GHz. Backing this up is 2 GB of RAM. You can take a look at the benchmarks results below.

Real-world performance is decent considering the chipset. The Hot 5 held its own and performed well. For a casual user it is more than good enough and you won’t have any trouble navigating through the UI and applications.


Launch time for most 3rd party applications is respectable. On the whole, for majority of users out there the Hot 5 won’t be a disappointment as it runs fine through your day-to-day tasks.

Camera
The Hot 5 has a 8MP primary camera with a powerful LED flashlight on the back. The front has a 5MP shooter that also has an LED flash of its own.

The camera application is very simply laid out and the interface is easy for first time users as well. There’s a shutter button on the bottom of the display flanked by the options for the video mode and gallery.

Up top you just have your toggles for front/rear facing camera and the LED flash. Swipe to the left and you’ll find the HDR Mode and other various settings while swiping to the right revels different capture modes for the camera such as Normal, Professional, Beauty etc.


Coming to the actual results of the photos, they were rather good. In good daylight conditions, photos had enough detail and the colors were bright and not overly saturated.

Low light samples, however, weren’t as good — as is the case with other phones in the price range.

You can take a look at a few camera samples below.

Battery and Miscellaneous
The Hot 5 has a large 4,000mAh battery. Combine that with a low-res screen and a not-so-powerful processor and you get some excellent battery timings.

The Hot 5 had enough juice to last me through a complete day which consisted of running some benchmarks, checking social media, taking photos and some other day-to-day stuff.

A light user will get even better battery life out of the Hot 5.

Another thing that I really liked about the Hot 5 were its speakers. Infinix calls the Hot 5 a “mobile cinema” and while the claims falls short considering it’s resolution, the front facing dual speakers were a delight. In fact, the audio quality surpasses even some flagships I’ve used and definitely top of the pile when it comes to budget phones.

They are loud, there’s barely any distortion at high volumes and they are stereo too!

Verdict
Infinix has done a good job with the Hot 5 making sure that you don’t notice that it’s a budget phone.

For the price I’d say the Hot 5 exceeded my expectations. Although the build quality is a bit tacky, I liked the textured back. The display is good for what it is, day-to-day performance is satisfactory (albeit not for a power user), camera is decent as well.

You can buy the Infinix Hot 5 from Yayvo for a price tag of Rs. 13,499/-


Whatsapp is Testing Group Video and Voice Calls

WhatsApp live location feature was announced just last week but it seems they are not stopping just there. The world’s most popular messaging app is now testing a group voice and video call feature.

The introduction of video calling caused a large number of people to migrate towards the app leaving behind the likes of Skype & Google Hangouts. However, until now, the group video chatting feature was limited only to Skype.

According to multiple users, the new feature was only available to beta testers and successful limited testing has prompted Facebook-owned app to extend this service to even more users and finally the general public.

According to a WhatsApp leakster, the group video-calling service is being tested out as we speak. Though an official date is yet to be announced.

In the blog post you can see this image, but see the second screen: you can notice that the live location is shared in a group, and there are video and voice calls buttons. 😉pic.twitter.com/Z5ixyWMUPx
ℹ️ NOTE:
Group voice calls: confirmed ✅
Group video calls: partially confirmed ⚠️

There are a lot of hidden references about group voice calls, but there is only one reference about group video calls.
But the quoted image should confirm both 😇
This feature certainly has the potential to be quite popular with the masses as almost every WhatsApp user is part of at least one group conversation if not more.

However, an important thing to keep in mind is that the company intends to thoroughly test out this new service to make sure no flaws remain before introducing it to all users.

Plus, according to the beta site, the group voice call feature will be introduced before the group video call feature.

Facebook Messenger app already allows the use of this service but its not as reliable as WhatsApp is known to be. This conclusion is based on the fact that WhatsApp voice calls usually have better quality as compared to those made through the Messenger app.

About a month ago the colorful status feature was also introduced to WhatsApp, similar to Instagram and Snapchat Stories.


Not a Bad Joke: New Islamabad Airport Delayed Yet Again

Inauguration of new Islamabad airport has been delayed, again. Senator Muhammad Talha Mehmood led the meeting of Senate Standing Committee, where he was told that the opening may face further delays.

Senator Talha Mehmood was not happy about the news and showed his frustration over the repeated delays in construction and inauguration. Senate no longer believes Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) claims that about 97% of work has been done.

CAA also said that runways of the airports were ready to land a plane, however, Talha Mehmood says there is no sign of completion of the third runway which was reportedly completed.

Not the First Time
The launch date of the new airport has been deferred multiple times now. Initially, it was supposed to be operational two years ago. After multiple inauguration announcements and delays, it was announced that it will be inaugurated on 14th August 2017.

One of the reasons for the delay is the link road between Kashmir Highway and the new airport the, which is delayed till December 2017.

Regardless of that, CAA admitted to the senate committee that they cannot give them an exact date on when the airport will be inaugurated. They told committee that it may be in the end of December 2017 or beginning of January 2018.

CAA had previously put blame on National Highway Authority (NHA) for the delay in inauguration, senator Mehmood told the media.

Senator has also called for DG and Secretary CAA to explain why they have been giving inaccurate information about project completion. Tehsil Municipal Administrator Fateh Jhang and Deputy Commissioners of Rawalpindi and Attock have also been summoned by the committee and report on the matter.

Moreover, the committee has decided to visit the new airport site and see the situation themselves.

Metro To Airport
New Islamabad Airport will be linked to Kashmir highway and GT road through Metro Bus System as well. The construction of this project is also underway.

Apprising the committee, officials said that to ensure in time construction, the metro project has been divided into four packages. Every package has its own contractor. The four packages are:

Peshawar Morr to NUST
NUST to GT Road
GT road to Motorway interchange
Motorway Interchange to New airport
Once all four parts are completed, travel time to the airport would be reduced to 40 minutes only.

Hackr.io Lists the Top Rated Resources for Programming

The thing about Computer Science is that, as long as you are willing to learn, you can be a world-class programmer or a graphic designer or even a data scientist, without ever leaving your home.

Be it learning to program in Java, or analyzing huge data sets using Ruby or Python, or making a logo via Photoshop, you can always find someone on the internet who knows how to do it.

You can enroll in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), free online courses available for anyone to enroll in; learn from courses taught by professors from top universities around the world, or watch hordes of free YouTube videos from self-learned experts.

In fact, online education-focused platforms like Coursera and Udacity also offer nano-degree programs (specializations) along with certifications for a fraction of the fee of getting that degree from a reputed college.

So, with so many choices available, the question becomes how to find the best courses and tutorials for the skill you want to learn? The answer to that question is an online crowd-sourced portal for programming courses and tutorials.

Hackr.io

Hackr.io is basically a collection of programming courses and tutorials from all over the web. However, unlike other online portals, Hackr.io is crowd-sourced so users get to vote for the best courses.

When you visit Hackr.io, you’ll find the home screen filled with over a hundred different categories, from graphic design courses to programming to web design and more. Just click on the one you want to find a course for.

Much like ProductHunt, where products are ranked according to the votes they get, the courses are ranked according to the votes they get.

Users can also rate what they found good about that particular course. For example, if you go open “Android Development Tutorials and Courses”, you will see the top course there is “Android App Development by Stanford” with over a hundred upvotes. Users can also submit their own favorite tutorials.

Hackr.io also has a couple of other interesting features:

Chat Rooms: Each category of courses has its own personal Chat Room where you can chat with folks who are learning Android Development.
Programming Buddy: Learning a new programming language can be tough especially if you are a beginner in programming. You can ask Hackr.io for a programming buddy by going to a particular course and they will pair you up with someone good.


Since its not all about programming, you can learn about anything. Simply search or what you want and go through the top ranked courses to improve you skills.


ICC Approves Pitch Tampered by Indian Groundsman for India-NZ Match

In a shocking turn of events, an Indian ground curator (caretaker) has been suspended by the Indian Cricket board after being caught promising bookies a pitch of their choice which is hosting the second ODI of the India-New Zealand series today.

Reportedly, the bookies disguised themselves as reporters and met the pitch curator. They put forth their requests and asked him to prepare a pitch according to their demands, which he agreed to.

The Pune pitch curator, Pandurang Salgaonkar, was caught on camera where he revealed that the pitch will be made according to demands of the bookies.

Not only did Salgaonkar agreed to bookies’ demands, he also allowed various reporters on the pitch to tamper with it. He is now barred from entering the ground by the BCCI.

Salgaonkar is a former fast bowler who played 63 First-Class matches and 5 List-A games claiming 214 and 4 wickets, respectively.

BCCI’s acting president CK Khanna said:

Salgaoncar has been suspended and he has been banned from entering the stadium till the report of the enquiry [is submitted].
I have spoken with Maharashtra Cricket Association president Abhay Apte, who has already initiated an enquiry.
The BCCI’s neutral curator from Mumbai has taken charge and so I don’t think there will be be any issue as far as the (conduct of the match) is concerned. Neeraj Kumar, the head of the BCCI’s ACSU, has also been asked to submit his report.
The Maharashtra Cricket Association has also been asked to submit a report to the BCCI.

ICC Inspection
The match referee, Chris Broad, inspected the pitch along with the umpires. However, BCCI officials didn’t wait for them to give their final verdict and claimed that the match will go ahead despite the controversy.

BCCI claimed that if the pitch was found unworthy then the match will be played on the adjacent strip.

According to the rules of ICC and BCCI, allowing reporters to inspect the pitch themselves is a clear violation. In fact, apart from the officials, no one is allowed to come inside the ground for that matter.

No Action Taken
Before the game started, ICC officials inspected the pitch and found no discrepancies. However, this seems rather strange.

The last match India played at Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune, ICC labelled the pitch as ‘poor’, as the first match of the three-Test series between India and Australia had ended in the post-tea session on the third day.

Following the poor condition of the pitch, Shane Warne referred to the surface as an ‘eighth day wicket’ on the first day of the match.

Prior to the game to be played against New Zealand today, some players asked for some bounce on the wicket to which Salgaonkar said ‘it will be done’.

He also boasted that the pitch will be a “batting paradise” and teams will be able to chase 350 plus runs as well.

From a dead pitch to batting paradise, it seems quite a leap. It wouldn’t be a stretch of imagination to think that perhaps ICC did not evaluate the pitch fairly, mainly due to the influence BCCI have in the world of cricket.

Having said that, still, this controversy has put a huge stain on BCCI’s reputation.

Salaries of Teachers Are the Main Reason Behind Education Decline in Pakistan

Low quality learning outcomes around the world are often blamed on teachers, however, in Pakistan the level of teacher salaries has been identified as the crux of educational problems, according to a report released by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

The Global Education Monitoring Report 2017-18 released by UNESCO on Tuesday claimed that Pakistan used test scores as part of teacher evaluations and these should not be used disproportionately in teacher evaluations as they hold teachers accountable for learning — which is influenced by many factors outside of their control such as student skills, behaviour, parental background and support, school resources, culture and curriculum.

The report showed that interventions increased accountability by linking incentives to test scores in Pakistan. This also altered classroom practices with additional time spent on test preparation – for instance to improve scores and secure bonuses.

Pakistan only spends 2.65 per cent of its GDP on education which is 4% below the standard benchmark. A UNESCO situation analysis estimated that attaining the net primary enrolment rate of 100% by 2015-16 would have required,

besides massive improvements in governance and implementation, a fund of Rs. 1,300 billion.

In the context of literacy, making 36 million people literate in the next five years would require Rs. 1,788 billion.

The report highlighted the need for Pakistan to focus on equipping teachers with the skills needed to fulfil their responsibilities. A case study commissioned for the report about Pakistan highlighted a lack of accountability in Pakistan’s teaching requirements, citing political interference, nepotism, ghost teachers and non-transparent practices.

The report acknowledged many positive initiatives that the government was taking to improve accountability in education. These include national education monitoring report showing progress and challenges in achieving its education plan and the ‘right to education’ justiciable in national law, which is the case in only 45% of countries worldwide.

It also praised the use of biometrics to monitor the attendance of over 210,000 education staff in 26,200 schools which has demonstrated positive results. As of February this year, 40,000 absent teachers and 6,000 absconders [employed but long absent] have been disciplined.

The report highlighted the governments’ responsibility to provide universal quality education and stressed that accountability was indispensable in achieving this goal.

“Education is a shared responsibility between us all – governments, schools, teachers, parents and private actors,” said Unesco’s Director-General Irina Bokova. “Accountability for these responsibilities defines the way teachers teach, students learn, and governments act. It must be designed with care and with the principles of equity, inclusion and quality in mind,” she added.

Pakistan Stock Exchange Suspended Due to Technical Reasons

Due to a technical error, trading in Pakistan Stock Exchange has been suspended since 2:10 PM.

PSX, in a notice addressed to all TRE Certificate Holders, has informed that due to a technical fault in the trading and exposure Management System, the trading system is not working properly.

The notice further mentioned that PSX IT team is working to resolve the issue, and as soon as the issue is resolved the system will resume trading.

Reopening of the market and any extended trading time will be announced by the office of Exchange to all market participants.

Earlier in the day, some brokers had reported technical errors.

Here’s How You Can Receive Payments using Payoneer in Pakistan

With the unavailability of Paypal in Pakistan, it can be really frustrating at times for companies and freelancers in Pakistan because of not being able to receive payments from international clients.

There might be other options, right? Right. But many people have problems trusting them.

Paypal has become the de facto standard internationally and going about with something else can be a headache for some.

This is where Payoneer comes in

Payoneer in recent years has been a God sent for many. Currently, it is being accepted in 200+ countries with 150+ currencies making it widely accessible.It’s time you benefited from it too.

Registration
You have the option to register as an individual or a company, upon registration you are given a virtual bank account in a US bank which allows you to receive payments along with a Payoneer Mastercard which is shipped within 2 weeks. (Optional)

The following are the registration requirements:

A Local Bank Account is required.
Complete Address inclusive of a zip code for delivery of your Payoneer card.
You must be at least 18 years old.
National ID, Driving License or Passport number to validate your identity.
Receiving Payments
It allows you to receive payments internationally from clients and also make online payments without any restrictions. Companies like Airbnb, Amazon, Fiverr & Upwork have been using it to make payments to their customers.

You can receive payments from such platforms by either linking your local bank account to your Payoneer account or by receiving instant loads to your Payoneer card.

If you’re working with clients outside of any such platform, you may send an invoice using their ‘Request a Payment’ feature which will send an email to your client facilitating them to make the payment using their credit/debit card details or other options available.

Withdrawing Funds
You can withdraw funds to your local bank account.
You can withdraw them from an ATM using your Payoneer card. ATMs that support the Payoneer card in Pakistan currently include Bank Alfalah, MCB Bank, Standard Chartered Bank & Faysal Bank.
Support
This article would be incomplete if I didn’t mention their amazing support team.

Initially, when I started using Payoneer, I mistakenly made 5 wrong ATM withdrawal attempts which led me to be charged $5. I asked their support team regarding this issue to which they refunded my amount as a one-time thing as I did not know of their fees.

This shows that they care about their customers.

With that being said, if you’re a freelancer just starting out or a company looking to work with international clients, Payoneer is your best bet.

Sudais Asif is a Level 2 Seller on Fiverr offering WordPress based services and is also translating WordPress into Urdu. Throughout his freelancing journey, he has gained valuable experiences which he likes to share with others.

Apple Kills the 256GB iPhone 7 to Boost iPhone 8 Sales

With the launch of iPhone X just around the corner, Apple needs to ensure that it makes the most out of the iPhone 8 sales until its new product is fully launched.

The company announced its release of iPhone 8 and iPhone X, followed by a revision of the iPhone 7 offerings, last month.

Previously, the iPhone 7 came with a storage option of 256 GB, however Apple reverted this offering: iPhone 7 is now available in either 32 GB or 128 GB models.

The 256 GB model is now reserved for the iPhone 8 only. The news was confirmed by an Apple customer service representative.

Apple’s move seems like another attempt to encourage consumers to go for its pricey “upgrades” rather than an attempt to launch a product with a better feature set.

The iPhone 8
Even if people overlook the advantages of the iPhone 8: a more powerful processor and wireless charging, the 256 GB option will force some of the people to buy it.

A larger capacity means:

High-quality videos and photos
The ability to download large apps
The ability to save videos, movies and music etc
Apple’s Continual Struggle
Apple has been in a continuous struggle to increase its demand of iPhone 8 and with iPhone X on its way next month, its demand is likely to decrease further.

Evaluations and reports also suggest that people would preferably buy an iPhone 7 rather than an iPhone 8. Also, Google search results show that iPhone 7 was searched many more times by people compared with the iPhone 8.

Galaxy S7 Better Than iPhone 8?
Recently, Consumer Reports recommended the Galaxy S7 over the iPhone 8 even though they both got the same score (80).

The S7 was recommended due to better call quality and battery life.

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