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IT minister underscores SIFC initiatives to revolutionise IT, telecom in Pakistan

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ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunications Dr Umar Saif on Tuesday highlighted the recent policy changes by the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) in Pakistan, aimed at supporting the IT and telecom sectors.

Speaking to a high-level delegation led by his Malaysian counterpart Fahmi Fadzi in Dubai at the GITEX-23 sidelines meeting, Dr Saif said that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has authorised a 50% retention of IT export remittances in foreign currency (FCY) accounts.

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Policies have been implemented to ensure smooth and hassle-free cash flows for IT exporters through online banking and corporate debit cards, he added.

These developments also encompass various initiatives aimed at simplifying Right of Way (ROW) charges, boosting infrastructure sharing, advancing the 5G spectrum, and enhancing IT export retention.

Dr Saif said the federal cabinet granted approval for an advisory Committee for Pakistan’s 5G Spectrum auction a major step toward digital Pakistan.

In a related context, the minister Expand North Star, an international showcase of innovation and cultural exchange.

The Pakistan Pavilion was thoughtfully designed to encapsulate the country’s progress and potential, welcoming visitors with open arms.

Moreover, the minister expressed Pakistan’s intention to learn from Malaysia’s innovative approach and policies regarding the rollout of 5G technology.

“Malaysia has rolled out 5G at a lightning pace using a very innovative Spectrum Sharing policy. We will work with our Malaysian counterparts to learn about their innovative approach and policies” the minister said.

The meeting encompassed crucial technology topics with the objective of strengthening collaboration between the two nations.

During the meeting, Dr Saif explored the realm of financial technology (Fintech) and touched upon Starlink, the satellite internet company, making inroads into Malaysia.

The discussion extended to the potential implementation of LYNC, with a commitment to sharing experiences and knowledge.

Dr Saif drew attention to Pakistan’s network coverage challenges, underscoring the importance of adopting best practices from the Malaysian Regulator.

Both ministers engaged in a dialogue regarding Pakistan’s path to adopting 5G technology and the challenges impeding this transition.

The Malaysian minister pledged to share best practices to facilitate this transition.

The meeting also featured a discussion on the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and its potential benefits for both Pakistan and Malaysia in the technology sector.

The meeting involved a commitment to enhance coordination and discussions in the forthcoming months, signifying the growing partnership between the two countries.

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Users of WhatsApp will soon be able to lock chats on connected devices.

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Additionally, linked devices will now have access to the conversation lock feature. Users of WhatsApp will also soon have the option to tag their contacts in status updates.

Notably, WhatsApp users can link their devices to log in to the same account on different devices. However, several functions, such as conversation locks and status updates, are not accessible on the secondary devices.

Even if they are locked on the main conversations, anybody can still access your private chats on a connected device. WhatsApp is currently working on adding Chat Lock capability to connected devices in order to address this.

The chat lock feature on WhatsApp will soon be available on connected devices.

Prior to this, it was claimed that WhatsApp, which is owned by Meta, was developing new personalisation options for an iOS beta.

According to WABetaInfo, an update tracker portal for the instant messaging network, WhatsApp for iOS users will soon get the option to modify both the conversation bubble’s colour and the app’s primary colour scheme.

A feature that let beta testers choose the primary colour scheme of the WhatsApp iOS app from a selection of five colours was first tested back in January.

The instant messaging app is testing a feature that lets users change the colour of chat bubbles within conversations, though, in a new beta edition.

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Moon train operations are planned by NASA.

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The goal is to construct the first lunar train system, which will enable safe, independent, and effective cargo transportation on the moon, according to robotics specialist Ethan Schaler of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

He went on, “The day-to-day functioning of a sustainable lunar base in the 2030s will depend heavily on a robust, long-lasting robotic transport system.”

The Flexible Levitation on a Track, or FLOAT, is the name of the proposed lunar rail system. According to NASA, the establishment of a railway system on the moon is “critical to the daily operations.”

According to the space agency, the primary objective of FLOAT is to offer transportation services in regions of the moon where astronauts are engaged in activities. To do this, cargoes of lunar soil and other materials will need to be transported to various regions of the moon.

Each robot will be able to transport cargo of various sizes and shapes at a pace of roughly 1 mph (1.61 km/h), according to Dr. Schaler.

Notably, NASA also declared new initiatives last month to create and test new vehicle models intended for moon exploration.

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Pakistan’s lunar mission ‘ICUBE-Q’ reaches the moon orbit.

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Pakistan’s lunar mission (ICUBE-Q) entered orbit around the moon on Wednesday.

Pakistan’s historic lunar mission (ICUBE-Q) launched from Hainan, China, on Friday aboard China’s Chang’E6 spacecraft.

According to the IST, the satellite ICUBE-Q was planned and developed in partnership with China’s Shanghai University SJTU and Pakistan’s national space agency SUPARCO.

The ICUBE-Q orbiter is equipped with two optical cameras to image the lunar surface. ICUBE-Q has now been integrated into the Chang’e6 mission after successfully qualifying and testing it.

Chang’e6 is the sixth lunar exploration mission launched by China.

The launch event was streamed live on the IST website and social media platforms. Chang’6, China’s Lunar Mission, will land on the Moon’s far side to collect surface samples before returning to Earth for further research.

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