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IT Exports to Saudi Arabia Increased by $100 Million:

One of the top IT exporters of Pakistan, Noman Said, has apprised that the information technology industry has started to show its true potential to be transformational for the economy of Pakistan – and, IT exports to Saudi Arabia are the cornerstone of the encouragement, game-changing and progressive trend in IT export numbers of Pakistan; which have clocked at $310 million in April 2024.This is the highest-ever despite having the highest month-on-month (MoM) base, he added. Noman Said added that IT exports to Saudi Arabia have increased by $100 million per year over the last two years and the statistical analysis shows that Saudi Arabia is expected to become Pakistan’s largest IT export destination in a few years.

Upcoming Affordable iPhone SE is Getting a Price Hike:

Apple’s SE models for iPhones are supposed to be affordable versions of its main flagship lineup, but sadly, the next iPhone SE may see a slight price bump. According to a tipster on X, the iPhone SE 4 will cost $499, up from the $429 price tag on the previous iPhone SE. The iPhone SE 4 is expected to launch sometime in 2025 and going by the latest rumor, the US price for this phone could go up by 10%, reaching around $470 in the region. It will likely be slightly higher around the $499 mark in the EU due to higher taxes. The potential adoption of a more contemporary iPhone 14-style design and the incorporation of Face ID might serve as reasons behind the potential price increase. While uncertainties remain, given the considerable time gap since the previous iPhone SE release, a price rise wouldn’t be unexpected.

Pakistan’s Mobile Phone Imports Surge By 209% in 10 Months:

The country imported mobile phones worth $1.462 billion during the first ten months (July-April) of the current fiscal year 2023-24, registering a growth of 209.07 percent when compared to $473.287 million during the same period of last fiscal year. In rupee terms, the country imported mobile phones of Rs. 414.276 billion during the first ten months of the current fiscal year 2023-24 and registered 279.52 percent growth when compared to Rs109.158 billion during the same period of last year.Pakistan’s mobile phone imports increased by 5.44 percent on a month-on-month (MoM) basis in April 2024 and stood at $161.393 million compared to imports of $153.045 million in March 2024, according to the data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).

PM Forms Committee to Build Political Consensus Over PECA Amendments:

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has formed a committee to assess proposed amendments and build political consensus on amendments in the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016 (PECA).The committee will be headed by Adviser to PM on Political and Public Affairs Rana Sanaullah. Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarar, Information Minister Attaullah Tarar, Education Minister Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, IT Minister Shaza Fatim, Member National Assembly Nawabzada Khalid Hussain Magsi, Senator Sherry Rehman and Attorney General of Pakistan Mansoor Usman Awan will be the members of the committee.

MCB Islamic Bank Partners with Techlogix for Oracle Flexcube Upgrade, Enhancing Customer Experience:

MCB Islamic Bank has partnered with Techlogix (Private) Limited for a functional upgrade of the Oracle Flexcube Core Banking system. This upgrade represents a significant step forward in enhancing MCB’s banking services, ensuring smoother transactions and better experiences for valued customers.The ceremony was attended by MCB Islamic Bank representatives including Mr. Zargham Khan Durrani (President & CEO), Mr. Abrar Aleem (Chief Information Officer), and Mr. Umer Sheikh (Business Head Digital Banking) alongside other officials from the Bank. From Techlogix, Mr. Salman Akhtar (Co-CEO) and other senior executives participated in the ceremony.Speaking about the partnership, Mr. Zargham Khan Durrani, President & CEO of MCB Islamic Bank commented: “This collaboration signifies the bank’s commitment to leveraging cutting-edge technology to enhance banking operations, demonstrating our unwavering dedication to delivering top-notch services to our customers.”

Leading Telco Starts Blocking Non-Filer SIMs After FBR’s Threat:

A leading telecom company has conveyed to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) that the telecom operator has blocked 3,064 SIMS of non-filers under protest with apprehension of litigation with the tax department.According to the communication of the operator to the FBR, “since FBR is enforcing the implementation of income tax general order (ITGO) prior to the defined statutory timelines of May 15, 2024, considering the inherent limitations of our systems and its automation costs, potential litigation that may and without be faced by telcos and the burden of undue cost, it is hereby submitted that compliance to ITGO is being made under protest and after intimating these limitations to FBR”, telecom operator added.ProPakistani reported last week that FBR has set up a Joint Working Group (JWG) of tax officials and telecom operators to streamline the process blockage of SIMs.

Pakistani AI Startup Becomes NielsenIQ’s Global Partner:

aiSight, a startup that uses AI to analyze data to provide market share insights to the Consumer-Packaged Goods (CPG) industry, has joined the NielsenIQ Partner Network.This will allow aiSight access to NielsenIQ’s retail retail sales data globally, to be provided to mutual clients. As part of the partnership, the two companies’ combined services will use NielsenIQ’s retail data and’s AI analytics to convert retail data into actions for sales, marketing, and trade teams of Fortune 500 CPG companies globally. The platform is tailor-made for field teams, simplifying complex data analytics into straightforward to-do lists. Every day, field teams receive alerts with tasks that can enhance a consumer packaged goods (CPG) company’s market share.

iOS 18 is Bringing These AI Features to iPhones:

Apple is expected to unveil the generative AI-powered iOS 18 next month at the Worldwide WWDC event and we finally have a glimpse of what to expect thanks to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman.According to Gurman, iOS 18 should bring many of the same AI features we already have on Android phones such as AI summarization for articles, image editing features, transcriptions for voice memos, and more.Some upgrades are coming to Siri’s conversational capabilities as well. Here is what Gurman said: Gurman noted that Apple will primarily use on-device processing for its AI features but will also use cloud services in data centers equipped with high-end Apple silicon chips made for the Mac. On-device AI processing should improve both latency and privacy.

Zong 4G Collaborates with Planet Beyond to Simplify Credit Management System for Zong Users:

Pakistan’s leading telecom provider, Zong 4G has joined hands with Planet Beyond to create a seamless solution aimed at streamlining balance management for Zong 4G users.The MoU was formally signed on April 30th at Zong 4G’s Islamabad headquarters. This pivotal collaboration included Zong 4G’s Director Sales & Distribution, Wasi Ansari, and the CEO of Planet Beyond, Asad Ali. This strategic collaboration enables customers to easily top-up credit through the Planet Beyond App, thereby making it more convenient and accessible. This innovative feature allows customers and businesses to easily add funds to their accounts, improving convenience and accessibility while promoting B2C interactions.

Valve is Making an Overwatch 2 Rival, But it’s Third Person:

Overwatch 2 is no longer as popular as it used to be and several rivals games are attempting to take the place of the former game of the year. Marvel Rivals was announced earlier this year and Valve is now reportedly working on an Overwatch rival of its own.The news comes from multiple reputable sources that claim that Steam maker Valve is working on Deadlock a third-person hero-based shooter. Screenshots of Deadlock’s closed alpha playtest were shared on X (formerly Twitter). The graphics are likely going to improve in the final version of the game.It is worth mentioning that Deadlock is not just a rumor. A reporter from Valve, Tyler McVicker confirmed that the game has been in the works for 6 years and is codenamed ‘Citadel.’

Top of The Line Phones Will Get Even More Expensive in 2025:

Qualcomm is gearing up for a significant change with the soon-to-be-released Snapdragon 8 Gen 4, which is scheduled for an official unveiling in October. This new SoC will incorporate custom-designed Oryon cores, showcasing Qualcomm’s in-house CPU designs. However, this move towards greater independence could potentially increase costs for smartphone manufacturers.Like Apple’s M-series chips, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 is rumored to employ TSMC’s cutting-edge 3nm process technology (N3E). This marks Qualcomm’s first use of 3nm technology in its SoCs, which is expected to enhance performance and efficiency, and also raise production costs. This information comes from Weibo insider Digital Chat Station, who reported that the wafer price for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 has gone up, affecting the overall cost of the SoC.

Unleash the Power of Mecha in PUBG MOBILE’s Version 3.2 Update:

PUBG MOBILE, one of the world’s most popular mobile games, reveals new enhancements in its Version 3.2 Update, available until July 9th. Players can explore mechanised marvels in PUBG MOBILE and World of Wonder mode with the new themed mode Mecha Fusion, alongside enhancements to Cycle 6 Season 18 and Metro Royale. Home mode will also be introducing a new competition, allowing players to showcase their creativity for the chance to win exciting prizes.The Version 3.2 Update introduces Mecha Fusion, a new theme mode available on Erangel, Livik and Miramar, which brings three unique mechs into PUBG MOBILE: Levitron, Strider, and Armamech. The Levitron is a unique vehicle that can transition between speed and magnetic form and features a ‘magnetize’ ability that can be used to grab and toss characters, vehicles, and certain objects; the Strider boasts jumping and missile-firing capabilities, whilst Armamech, a formidable four-seater created by combining the Strider and Levitron, offers unparalleled versatility, equipped with dual weapons and skills of both its counterparts.

Android 15 Could Extend Your Phone’s Battery by 3 Hours:

During the latest Google I/O developer conference, the search engine giant unveiled several fresh additions heading to Android 15. Among them are upgrades aiming to safeguard user privacy and security. But there’s one tweak that could benefit everyone: a boost to battery life.Android 15 is getting an improvement to Doze mode, which is already part of the system. This feature helps save battery power when your phone is not in use.

PUBG is Getting Race Cars Thanks to New Collab:

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Mobile (PUBG Mobile) is getting race cars in a new update thanks to a collaboration with American car manufacturer Shelby Super Cars (SSC) North America. Thanks to this partnership, PUBG Mobile now has two SSC supercars the Tuatara and Tuatara Striker.The Tuatara is known for being one of the fastest cars on the planet with speeds that go higher than a whopping 500 km/h. Meanwhile, its sibling, the Tautara Striker is known for its versatility and futuristic design. Both of these supercars will be playable in PUBG Mobile until July 9th. There will be a variety of colors to choose from including Rose Phantom and Sky Crane for the Tuatara, and Dawn’s Edge and Blue Nightscape for the Tuatara Striker.

vivo V30e 5G Coming Soon in Pakistan to Elevate Your Life Experience with Elegant Design and Portrait Features:

vivo, a globally acclaimed technology brand, has unveiled the launch date for the latest entrant in its prestigious V series. Building on the successful debut of the vivo V30 5G, vivo is set to introduce the highly anticipated vivo V30e 5G in Pakistan. This new model highlights vivo’s unwavering dedication to enhancing its celebrated V series lineup, reflecting its vibrant culture of innovation. vivo V30e 5G promises to set new benchmarks with its superior camera capabilities and exquisite design, redefining expectations for mobile technology and aesthetic allure. Outstanding design is the feature that V series is proud of. With an elevated aesthetic level, V30e 5G is equipped with a 120Hz 3D Curved Screen which provides a sense of luxury and sophistication both visually and tactilely, as well as an immersive visual experience.

Scarlett Johansson ‘shocked’ by AI chatbot imitation:

Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson has said she was left “shocked” and “angered” after OpenAI launched a chatbot with an “eerily similar” voice to her own. The actress said she had previously turned down an approach by the company to voice its new chatbot, which reads text aloud to users. When the new model, called Sky, debuted last week commentators were quick to draw comparisons between the chatbot’s tone and Johansson’s in the 2013 film Her. OpenAI said on Monday that it would remove the voice, but insisted that it was not meant to be an “imitation” of the star. However, Johansson accused the company, and its founder Sam Altman, of deliberately copying her voice, in a statement seen by the Media on Monday evening. “When I heard the released demo, I was shocked, angered and in disbelief that Mr Altman would pursue a voice that sounded so eerily similar to mine,” she wrote. “Mr Altman even insinuated that the similarity was intentional, tweeting a single word ‘her’ – a reference to the film in which I voiced a chat system, Samantha, who forms an intimate relationship with a human.” Set in the near future, 2013 film Her sees Joaquin Phoenix fall in love with his device’s operating system, which is voiced by Ms Johansson.

Tamil Nadu: These elephants are dying on rail tracks – can AI save them?:

The southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu is using an AI-based surveillance system to prevent elephant deaths on its railway tracks. Elephant deaths on and near the state’s railway tracks are rising, with 36 fatalities recorded from train collisions in the past decade, according to official data. Eleven of these fatalities occurred on two railway tracks near Madukkarai, where the forest borders the state of Kerala. These tracks intersect with the elephants’ migratory route to neighbouring forests. In 2021, the state’s high court ordered the forest department and railways to prevent elephant deaths on these tracks. The forest department has now installed 12 towers along two of Madukkarai’s rail tracks, each equipped with an AI camera capable of thermal and visible light imaging, along with live viewing.

South Korea bans TikTok hit ‘idolising’ Kim Jong Un:

South Korea has said it will ban a viral North Korean propaganda tune that extols Pyongyang’s dictator Kim Jong Un as a “friendly father” and “great leader”. Seoul’s media regulator said the music video, which has become a hit on TikTok since its release in April, is a violation of the country’s National Security Act. “[The song] idolizes Kim Jong Un and praises and glorifies him,” Seoul’s Korea Communications Standards Commission said in a statement on Monday. The Security Act blocks access to the North’s government websites and media, and penalises behaviours and speeches in favour of the regime. Twenty-nine versions of the Friendly Father music video will be blocked, the commission said, but it did not elaborate on how that would be done. The decision was prompted by a request from South Korea’s National Intelligence Service, it added. “The video is typical content linked to psychological warfare against South Korea, as it was posted on a channel operated to connect with the outside world and is mainly focused on unilaterally idolising and glorifying Kim,” the regulator said.

Electricity grids creak as AI demands soar:

There’s a big problem with generative AI, says Sasha Luccioni at Hugging Face, a machine-learning company. Generative AI is an energy hog. “Every time you query the model, the whole thing gets activated, so it’s wildly inefficient from a computational perspective,” she says. Take the Large Language Models (LLMs) at the heart of many Generative AI systems. They have been trained on vast stores of written information, which helps them to churn out text in response to practically any query. “When you use Generative AI… it’s generating content from scratch, it’s essentially making up answers,” Dr Luccioni explains. That means the computer has to work pretty hard. A Generative AI system might use around 33 times more energy than machines running task-specific software, according to a recent study by Dr Luccioni and colleagues. The work has been peer-reviewed but is yet to be published in a journal. It’s not your personal computer that uses all this energy, though. Or your smartphone. The computations we increasingly rely on happen in giant data centres that are, for most people, out of sight and out of mind.

Mind games: Hellblade returns to explore psychosis:

Visit any video game developer a week before their latest big release and there will be questions hanging in the air. Will people like it? What will the reviews scores be? But when the Media visits Ninja Theory’s studio a week before Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 comes out, there’s another question looming. Just a few days earlier Microsoft, which acquired the Cambridge-based company in 2018, announced the shock closures of critically acclaimed studios including Prey developer Arkane Austin and Hi-Fi Rush maker Tango Gameworks. The games from those teams didn’t shift as many copies as a Call of Duty, an EA FC or a Hogwarts Legacy, but they were beloved by many. To fans, they mattered. So what does that mean for Ninja Theory, a developer that very much falls into that category? Right now, at least, studio head Dom Matthews tells Newsbeat they’ve got something else on their minds. “We’re super-focused on the release of Hellblade 2,” he says. “We’re super-proud of the game that we’ve created, and we’re just looking forward to spending that day together and fans getting hold of the game and enjoying what we’ve made.” It’s a day that’s been a long time coming. The studio’s previous game, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, came out in 2017, made by a team of about 20 people. One of them was Melina Juergens, the company’s video editor, who ended up taking the starring role of Senua after the original actress dropped out. “My job has always been to be behind the scenes,” she tells Media. “So I was terrified to perform in front of people and being in front of the lens.” Despite being a first-time acting job for Melina, she won a Bafta game award for her performance – one of five Ninja Theory took home for Hellblade 1. It won huge praise for how it handled Senua’s psychosis – a condition that can cause people to hear voices, see things that other people don’t see and have unique beliefs about the world. It’s also something Melina experienced herself in her early twenties, which she describes as “a time of pure terror”.

BT scraps digital landline switch deadline:

BT has significantly delayed plans to force customers to switch from physical copper-based landlines to internet-based services following concerns from vulnerable people. The switch was paused at the end of last year after several incidents where telecare devices stopped working. Nearly two million people in the UK use personal alarms which rely on landlines. BT, which is also responsible for EE customers, has now abandoned the timeline of completing the national switchover by the end of 2025, and will instead aim to complete the move by the end of January 2027. But a campaign group for elderly people has told the BBC the revised timeline is “a token concession”. “The delay is for just over a year, which we don’t think is long enough to make sure there are sufficient safeguards for vulnerable customers,” said Silver Voices head Dennis Reed. “BT and the other telecoms firms haven’t even worked out what a vulnerable customer actually is, and we are calling for a more defined definition. “We feel the deadline of January 2027 is very premature.” The move is highly controversial because it will mean an outage, which can be a frequent occurrence in some rural areas, could cause landline phones to no longer work. It means there is a risk that customers who need personal alarms, which are potentially life-saving, could be left disconnected and without a working device.

People want ‘dumbphones’. Will companies make them?:

Self-labelled neo-Luddites and the tech-stressed are searching for phones with fewer features. Industry experts cite precarious profit margins and a wobbly market around this niche need. The iPhone turns 17 this year. The launch of the touchscreen-controlled device signalled a moment that has defined our expectations of smartphones ever since. Almost an entire generation has grown up never knowing life without a smartphone. Enough time has passed that people have learnt about the good and bad of these devices in their lives, whether from myriad scientific studies, or simply their own experiences. Many people are now acutely aware of the costs of having the world at their fingertips. And they’re rejecting the ways these phones can sap concentration, impact sleep and exacerbate mental health concerns. There are plenty of relatively simple ways to address these issues to some extent – say, installing apps that limit screen time – but some people are deciding to go further, returning to a time before constant connection. They’re transitioning to “dumbphones”, a catch-all term for phones with basic functions such as calling, texting and setting alarms. Some dumbphones resemble 90s flip phones. Others are niche, high-end products that provide a downgraded smartphone experience at a surprising premium.  In some cases, concerned parents are turning to these devices as a way of keeping their children away from the distractions of a smartphone. But the market also comprises seniors who want something simple; workers in tough industries like construction or farming, who need rugged handsets; and everyday users who can’t afford to pay the average price of a smartphone, often upwards of $500 (£400), and flagship smartphones can cost as much as $1,600 (£1,300). Abandoning these devices has also become its own trend: teenagers desperate to escape social media have set themselves up as neo-Luddites.

Hydroelectricity is a hidden source of methane emissions. These people want to solve that:

Dams and reservoirs around the world are an underappreciated source of methane. Now start-ups want to capture that gas as a source of power. It takes just one second for four Olympic-sized swimming pools-worth of water to charge through the turbines at the Tucuruí dam in northern Brazil. The rush of water here at one of the largest hydroelectric reservoirs in the Amazon region is deafening, but it’s what makes the dam the fifth largest power plant in the world. As the water churns through a series of 25 turbines and spillways of the dam, however, something else is happening – it’s emitting greenhouse gases.

Often regarded as one of the oldest forms of renewable energy, hydroelectric dams and their reservoirs are responsible for the release the equivalent of almost one billion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere (with much of these greenhouse gas emissions in the form of methane) as water approaches and then tumbles its way through the turbines that generate electricity. Methane is a greenhouse gas that’s more than 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20-year lifespan, but it also breaks down faster in the atmosphere than CO2.

Is the move to electric cars running out of power?:

Buoyant electric car sales are a must if we’re to hit our climate targets. But EV sales in the West are down and if governments want them to recover it may have to be at the expense of their own economies.Any motorway driver will know the feeling: you’re cruising along, miles of open road seemingly ahead and then from nowhere, a slowdown.

Something similar has hit the electric vehicle market in 2024. After years of soaring sales, growth appears to be stalling.

Replacing fossil-fuel-powered cars with EVs is central to the UK government’s plan to meet its climate goals – road transport accounting for 12% of planetary emissions.

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