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Biggest Inter-University Sports Event of the Country Concludes at Gulf Medical University; AUS Emerge Overall Champions among 26 Participating Universities

The week-long inter-university sports festival hosted by Gulf Medical University (GMU), Ajman – the biggest sporting event of its kind in the country – concluded with a closing ceremony on 14th February 2019, at the University campus. Prof. Manda Venkatramana, Vice Chancellor – Academics of GMU was the chief guest for the closing ceremony.

Of the 26 Universities which participated this year, American University of Sharjah (AUS) emerged overall champions. BITS PIlani – Dubai were the runners up. Trophies were distributed to the winner and runners-up in different games, for both boys and girls.

Addressing the participants and spectators at the closing ceremony, Prof. Manda Venkatramana said that every year, GMU’s sports festival united the colleges of UAE in competitive sport.  “Sports and recreation are equally important in a student’s life, just as academic success,” he stressed. The closing ceremony involved the symbolic extinguishing the torch by the chief guest, signifying the close of the games.

Close to 1000 students participated in this year’s sports meet. Competitions were held in 226 events across 10 categories. The organizers said that the next year’s edition would be an even bigger event, with the inclusion of track and field events.

The closing ceremony was followed by a gala dinner attended by the participants.

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Table-toppers Quetta target Multan as HBL PSL resumes on Wednesday

Unbeaten Quetta Gladiators will aim to keep an unblemished record when they meet Multan Sultan as HBL Pakistan Super League 2019 action shifts to Sharjah on Wednesday.

The Sarfaraz Ahmed led Quetta – twice runners-up in three HBL PSL editions – are looking in no mood to relent as they target the elusive title with their never-say-die approach, under the astute coaching of former Pakistan captain Moin Khan.

It is remarkable how Moin has transformed a squad what does not have any iconic names but play with a winning spirit and determination.

Quetta thumped arch-rivals Peshawar in their first match of HBL PSL 4, keeping them to 155 for four, courtesy some tight bowling led by left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz, who finished with two for 25 in his four overs. Umar Akmal, former Pakistan batsman, determined to regain his place in the national team, then batted in a punishing style as he took Quetta over the line with a polished and eye-catching 50-ball 75 not out laced with three sixes and seven boundaries.

Quetta’s next victim was Islamabad United who they beat more convincingly by seven wickets. This time left-arm paceman Sohail Tanvir, who rocked the title-holders with a prized wicket of Luke Ronchi off the very first ball of the match, finishing with four for 21. Pakistan origin Australian leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed chipped in with three for 15.

Although Islamabad managed to reach 157 for eight, it didn’t prove much for Quetta who rode on Shane Watson’s aggressive 55-ball 81 not with four sixes and six boundaries and another commanding 28-ball 44 (two sixes and five boundaries) by Umar Akmal to seal the win with 10 balls to spare.

Multan Sultans had mixed fortunes in the first two games they have played to date, losing to Karachi Kings before staging a recovery with a win against Islamabad.

Multan did give Karachi a scare before going down by seven runs in a match highlighted by a new HBL PSL opening stand between Karachi openers Liam Livingstone (82) and Babar Azam (77). Multan fought hard in the chase of 184 with skipper Shoaib Malik (28-ball 52 with two sixes and five boundaries) and Laurie Evans (39-ball 49 with seven fours), but in the end a last over target of 16 proved beyond their tail-enders’ reach.

Multan then showed their bowling prowess against Islamabad, restricting them to 125 for seven with newcomer Ali Shafiq (two for 11), evergreen Shahid Afridi (two for 18) and hardworking Junaid Khan (two for 33) sharing the spoils. Shoaib Malik then anchored the chase with a solid 29-ball 31, but it was Shahid Afridi who sealed the win with two sixes.

Multan will hope they win the toss and break Quetta’s dominance of fielding first and then chasing a target. But if Quetta captain Sarfaraz Ahmed is once again lucky with the toss, then it will be tough for Multan.

Upcoming matches:

Wednesday (match 8) – Multan Sultans v Quetta Gladiators, Sharjah (match starts 9pm PST)

Thursday (match 9) – Karachi Kings v Peshawar Zalmi, Sharjah (match starts 9pm PST)

Friday (match 10) – Lahore Qalandars v Multan Sultans, Sharjah (match starts 430pm PST)

Friday (match 11) – Islamabad United v Peshawar Zalmi, Sharjah (match starts 9pm PST)

Points table

Team Played Won Lost Points
Quetta Gladiators 2 2 0 4
Peshawar Zalmi 2 1 1 2
Multan Sultans 2 1 1 2
Islamabad United 3 1 2 2
Karachi Kings 2 1 1 2
Lahore Qalandars 3 1 2 2

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Is lower global inflation temporary?

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Worries about falling inflation have resurfaced. Despite improving labour markets and strong growth, core inflation in advanced economies remains benign. This apparent paradox has caused some to argue that there is still some labour market weakness which is not being fully captured in headline measures and that inflation is unlikely to return to target absent additional stimulus. Central banks, while cautious, have largely looked through the current spell of weaker inflation as transient and maintained their tightening biases. We explore both sides of this argument and find our position to be somewhere in the middle. Progress in the labour market indicates inflationary pressures are building, but at a slower rate than policymakers might like.

Central banks believe lower inflation is largely temporary for three main reasons. First, the improvement in labour markets across advanced economies has been dramatic. The US, Japan and the UK are already at full employment and the Euro Area is in rapid approach. Labour scarcity is increasing which, in turn, will raise bargaining power for higher wages and gradually translate into an increase in inflation. This has already been partially observed in the US where wage growth has consistently averaged above 2.5% for over a year.

Second, monetary policy remains broadly accommodative. Despite some tightening in the US, policy rates are still close to historical lows and support is only gradually being removed, suggesting that there is room for even further gains in labour markets.

Third, and specific to the US, the current bout of weaker inflation largely reflects one-time factors. Methodological changes to how some components are calculated and the introduction of new regulations have artificially weighed down core inflation (See our recent commentary, Fed eager to tighten despite inflation worries).

What then drives the concerns about low inflation? Broadly speaking, the concern is the persistence of low wage growth. This has occurred mainly outside of the US although even wages in the US have stagnated since the start of the year. Underlying this trend is believed to be a worsening quality of jobs. The impressive gains in the labour market have been partially led by increases in part-time employment across advanced economies since the financial crisis.  These jobs are associated with lower wages and are largely involuntary, creating conditions of underemployment which weighs on spending intentions and ultimately prices.

Moreover, the relationship between low unemployment and inflation itself may have changed in the aftermath of the financial crisis. Firms’ uncertainty over the economic recovery may be causing them to partly absorb rather than pass-through higher input costs to consumers. Also, some of the workers re-entering the labour force endured prolonged periods of unemployment resulting in skill deterioration. Such workers, it is speculated, will have reduced bargaining power and might prioritise job security over higher wages.

Our view is that labour market gains have been too large and persistent to dismiss. While involuntary part-time employment remains high and the response of prices to lower slack might be different post-crisis, these developments are likely slowing the feed-through of demand to higher prices rather than preventing it from happening at all. As the economic recovery continues to gain traction, as suggested by the latest activity data for advanced economies, we expect inflation dynamics to become increasingly durable and self-sustaining.

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QNB completes latest Induction Program for new employees

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QNB, the largest financial institution in the Middle East and Africa, held a graduation ceremony welcoming its 4th Group Induction program batch this year.

QNB holds Induction Programs in aims to aid new Qatari employees in adapting and integrating within the Group’s international network.

The latest Induction program group completed 12 training modules over a period of 6 weeks during which the inductees were introduced to the QNB Group’s history, current position, and future vision in addition to the basics of work in a banking environment and QNB’s products and services. This is followed by a specialized course in customer service excellence, sales and communications skills, and practical knowledge of the Group’s various banking systems.

QNB is at the first organization to offer such courses to trainees, in which they can practice banking operations and different customer service scenarios in an environment that helps them acquire self-confidence and enables them to face any possible future situations. The courses are given by a group of top banking experts, and are followed by a month of on-the-job training.

The latest batch delivered their end-of-induction presentations to a group of QNB’s top management, earning their praise. The candidates attested that joining QNB guarantees future growth and development opportunities to qualified candidates, as well as supporting their future education.

The graduation ceremony included a speech by Nada Ali al-Ansari, QNB’s AGM Group Human Capital – Centers of Excellence, in which she thanked the trainees for their hard work and commitment during the induction and stressed that the induction is only the first step on their journey with QNB. She added that, during the first year of their employment, a QNB employee must complete a set of mandatory courses titled the Trainee Development Program, followed by a number of other programs. These other programs include without limitation the Personal Skill Development Program, which focuses on the staff’s main skills and explains their career development plans, as well as the Supervisory and Management Development Program, which focuses on nurturing an employee’s personal and leadership skills.

The inductees praised the QNB senior management’s continuous visits to the induction program and their attendance of the graduation presentations, which is a reflection of the Bank’s keenness to invest in Qatari youth, who are one of the main pillars of its success.

The Group’s presence through its subsidiaries and associate companies extends to more than 31 countries across three continents providing a comprehensive range of advanced products and services. The total number of employees is more than 27,900 operating through more than 1200 locations, with an ATM network of more than 4,300 machines.

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Four Development Schemes Of Rs 16,436.516m Approved

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The Punjab Provincial Development Working Party approved four development schemes of various sectors with an estimated cost of Rs. 16436.516 million.

These schemes were approved in the 7th meeting of Provincial Development Working Party (PDWP) of current fiscal year 2017-18 held at P&D Complex, Lahore.

Secretary P&D Iftikhar Ali Sahoo, All Members of the Planning & Development Board, Provincial Secretaries concerned and other senior representatives of the relevant Provincial Departments also attended the meeting.

The approved development schemes included: Capacity Building of P&D Department for Improved Policy Planning and Monitoring Development Process in Punjab (Phase II), Lahore (Revised) at the cost of Rs. 548.194 million, Rehabilitation / Construction of Khadam-e-Punjab Rural Roads Program (KPRRP), Phase-V in Punjab Highways Department (North Zone) (Umbrella PC-I) at the cost of Rs. 6212.191 million, Rehabilitation / Construction of Khadam-e-Punjab Rural Roads Program (KPRRP), Phase-V in Punjab Highways Department (Central Zone) (Umbrella PC-I) at the cost of Rs. 4828.131 million and Rehabilitation / Widening of 10, – 12, and Construction of 12, Wide Roads under “Khadam-E-Punjab Rural Roads Programme (KPRRP) Phase-V” (South Zone) (Umbrella PC-I) at the cost of Rs. 4853.000 million.

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RAK Properties Reports Record Half-year Results

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Leading property development firm RAK Properties PJSC has announced record half year results, with revenues exceeding (AED 211 Million). The reported half-year figures reveal an increase from (AED 39 Million) to (AED 62 Million) in net profits from January to June 2017 – an increase of 59% compared to the same period last year.

The firm, which is listed on the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange, currently boasts total assets valued at (AED 5.11 Billion), a significant increase on the AED 4.99 billion recorded at the end of last year.

Commenting on the results, Managing Director and CEO Mohammed Sultan Al Qadi, said: “our half year results serves as proof that, with unwavering support from investors for our developments across the UAE, RAK Properties continues to go from strength to strength. Having already completed several key projects and accomplished various operational achievements, we look forward to the remainder of 2017.”

RAK Properties attributes its outstanding half year results to strong off-plans sales backed by exceptional marketing support. With proven excellence in a wide range of projects, the leading property developer is expected to announce additional residential, hospitality and retail projects to further its growth this year, thereby continuing to play a central role in shaping the lifestyle of residents of the United Arab Emirates.

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Sharjah Chamber Releases 2017 Business Directory

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The Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) announced the release of the Sharjah Business Directory for 2017, one of its most important channels for providing information and marketing for the business environment, investment opportunity, commerce, industry, and services in Sharjah Emirate.

The Sharjah Business Directory has always been an effective tool for stakeholders, specialists, and researchers. It provides a realistic image of the private sector in Sharjah and highlights recent developments of various establishments and investments in this sector on annual basis.

“SCCI is committed to providing media services that have added value via all sorts of media and communications outlets,” H.E. Khalid bin Butti Al Hajri, Director General of the SCCI said. “This fosters the Chamber’s role in serving the business community and economic establishments. the 2017 version of the Directory addresses the needs of the business community and reflects the SCCI’s commitment to enhancing its mission and role by using scientific methodology and comprehensive classification. These efforts meet the aspirations of interested parties in Sharjah and abroad, since the Directory in not limited to the commercial sector; rather it also covers other important industrial, services, professional, and consultative sectors.

The Directory highlights the contributions of the SCCI and the unique services and facilitations provided by its affiliates; notably Expo Centre Sharjah, Sharjah International Commercial Arbitration Centre which provides arbitration services and consultations, SME Support Center, Sharjah Exports Development Center, Al Malomat Center, and Sharjah Economic Excellence Network (ShjSEEN) which provides incentives and awards to motivate business establishments.

The Sharjah Business Directory tops the list of publications issued by the SCCI, and has been one of its most important promotion tools for over three decades, as it helps introducing its new members, boosting communication among them, and promoting their investment projects, products, and services.

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Andersen Global Announces Collaboration with UnityFour and Pistiolis-Triantafyllos & Associates in Greece and Cyprus

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Andersen Global is pleased to announce a new presence in Greece and Cyprus via a Collaboration Agreement with UnityFour and Pistiolis-Triantafyllos & Associates. Together, these firms provide legal, tax and accounting services in Greece; and tax, accounting and fiduciary services in Cyprus. The addition of these groups as collaborating firms of Andersen Global is the initial step towards a more formal relationship and is a part of a larger expansion strategy in the Mediterranean.

Nikos Siakantaris, lead partner at UnityFour Greece, commented, “We are enthusiastic about our collaboration with Andersen Global because it will help us build out a broader geographic platform and provide even more extensive and quality cross-border services to our clients.”

“It is a great pleasure and honor to be in collaboration with Andersen,” said Nakis Kyprianou, Managing Partner of UnityFour Cyprus. “We are certain that this collaboration offers to our clients and the member firms of Andersen Global, a unique opportunity for high-end global structuring services.”

UnityFour and Pistiolis-Triantafyllos & Associates join Andersen Global with two offices and a combined group of about 55 professionals. With UnityFour as the tax arm and Pistiolis-Triantafyllos & Associates providing legal service, these firms have worked collectively for years to provide outstanding solutions for both corporations and individuals, including corporate and M&A legal services, regulatory compliance services, corporate tax compliance services, indirect tax compliance, tax advisory services, VAT services and international tax services.

Theodore Pistiolis and Anastasios Triantafyllos, Managing Partners at Pistiolis-Triantafyllos & Associates, noted, “Not only are the values at Andersen consistent with our own, we also understand that working with like-minded professionals is beneficial for our clients and critical in creating a truly global firm.”

Andersen Tax CEO, Mark Vorsatz, remarked, “We have been in discussions with Nikos, Theodore, Taso and Nakis for several years now and the partners at UnityFour and Pistiolis-Triantafyllos & Associates truly exemplify the qualities we look for at Andersen. This collaboration is the appropriate next step as we expand in this part of the world. Adding locations in Greece and Cyprus demonstrates our dedication to serving clients seamlessly in key markets and UnityFour and Pistiolis-Triantafyllos & Associates will play a significant role in our business development efforts across the region.”

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GSMA Announces First Details for Mobile World Congress 2018

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  • 2018 Edition Expected to Attract More Than 108,000 Attendees, 2,300 Exhibitors

The GSMA today announced the first details of the 2018 Mobile World Congress, including exhibitors, sponsors, programmes and activities taking place at the annual mobile industry event. Under the theme “Creating a Better Future”, Mobile World Congress will be held 26 February – 1 March 2018 at Fira Gran Via in Barcelona, with events also taking place at Fira Montjuïc. The GSMA expects that more than 108,000 professionals from across the mobile industry and adjacent industry sectors will attend Mobile World Congress 2018.

“With more than 5 billion unique subscribers, mobile now connects over two-thirds of the world’s population. It is fuelling innovation, revolutionising industries and spurring exciting new opportunities, across both developed and developing markets,” said Michael O’Hara, Chief Marketing Officer. “Mobile provides access to life-enhancing and, in some cases, life-changing services. Reinforcing our industry’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, mobile is providing lifelines to hope, reducing inequalities and preserving our world’s resources. We look forward to Mobile World Congress 2018 and showing how mobile is creating a better future – today.”

Exhibition Featuring More Than 2,300 Companies

Mobile World Congress will bring together the leading players from across the mobile ecosystem, as well as adjacent industry sectors such as automotive and consumer electronics, showcasing the innovative products, services and technologies that are shaping mobile today. More than 2,300 companies will participate in the exhibition at Mobile World Congress 2018, including major brands such as Accenture, AT&T, Cisco Systems, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Facebook, Google, HTC, Huawei, Intel, Lenovo, LG, Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, NTT DOCOMO, Nokia Solutions and Networks, Ooredoo, Oracle, Orange, Qualcomm Incorporated, SAP, SEAT, SK Telecom, Telefónica, Verizon, Vodafone and ZTE, among others. The showfloor will also include more than 40 country and regional pavilions.

Building on its success in 2017, NEXTech Hall 8.0 will again put the spotlight on cutting-edge technology trends, such as artificial intelligence, drones, the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics and virtual reality/augmented reality, among others. The Drone Zone and the Graphene Pavilion will be among the many exciting exhibits in NEXTech. NEXTech will also feature the NEXTech Lab, an open theatre where exhibitors and sponsors can present their latest innovations.

In addition to exhibiting companies, the GSMA announced several sponsors for the 2018 Mobile World Congress. Generalitat de Catalunya has again been confirmed as the App Planet Official Sponsor, while Android, Citi and Visa have all returned as Sponsors for the Networking Gardens at Fira Gran Via. For more information on the exhibition, including exhibitors and sponsors, visit

GSMA Innovation City at Mobile World Congress

Returning to Hall 4, the GSMA Innovation City, which was visited by more than 30,000 attendees at Mobile World Congress 2017, is set to again be one of the most popular destinations in the Mobile World Congress exhibition, with demonstrations from partners including Cisco Jasper, Huawei, KT Corporation and Sierra Wireless. At the Innovation City, attendees will be able to immerse themselves in technology-led experiences that illustrate how mobile-connected products and services are impacting their daily lives and transforming industries, in areas ranging from healthcare to agriculture, automotive to smart homes, and many others.

MWC Tours Programme Expands for 2018

For 2018, the GSMA will again offer the MWC Tours, a series of topic and exhibition-focused tours to address the specific needs of different audiences at Mobile World Congress. The 2018 programme has expanded to include eight “topic” tours: 5G & NFV; Connected World; Content; Emerging Tech; Enterprise; IoT Security; Mobile Advertising & Apps; and Retail & Digital Commerce. The GSMA will also again offer venue tours designed to help new Mobile World Congress attendees navigate the many elements at Fira Gran Via, as well as custom experiences that are tailored to include the exhibits, activities and programmes that will meet attendees’ individual requirements.

2018 Mobile World Congress Conference Programme

The 2018 Mobile World Congress conference programme will be held 26 February – 1 March and will address key topics such as the evolution to 5G and next-generation networks, consumer IoT, digital content and entertainment, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, privacy and security, and sustainable development, among many others. As always, the conference will comprise insightful, thought-provoking keynote sessions with CEOs from across the broad mobile ecosystem and adjacent industry sectors, along with a series of focused track sessions that explore specific subjects in greater depth. The Call for Papers for the Mobile World Congress conference is currently open and submissions will be accepted through 23:59 GMT on Wednesday, 27 September. For more information on the conference, including the Call for Papers, visit

2018 Ministerial Programme: Encouraging Investment and Innovation

The 2018 Ministerial Programme will bring together governments, regulators and industry leaders to encourage dialogue on a range of regulatory and policy issues, with the end goal of creating a policy environment that encourages investment and innovation. As in 2017, the Ministerial Programme will attract delegates from not only the mobile ecosystem, but also adjacent industry sectors, such as finance and healthcare, reflecting mobile’s global reach and influence. The 2018 Ministerial Programme, which will run from Monday, 26 February through Wednesday, 28 February, expects to host delegations from nearly 170 countries and international organisations and 1,700 attendees overall.

4YFN: Connecting the Entrepreneurial Community

4 Years From Now (4YFN), the global business platform for the growing community of technology startups promoted by Mobile World Capital Barcelona and the GSMA, will run 26-28 February at Fira Montjuïc. Expected to attract more than 19,000 attendees, the 2018 edition of 4YFN will connect the entrepreneurial community through one-to-one investor meetings, interactive discussions and workshops, pitching competitions, “pitch the press” sessions and networking activities.

The 4YFN exhibition will showcase 600 participating companies, including pavilions from Colombia, Great Britain, South Korea, Spain and the United States. The first confirmed partners for 4YFN are Banco Sabadell (Gold Partner), Telefónica Open Future (Host Partner), SEAT (Silver Partner) and Fundacion Esade (Official Academic Partner). Additionally, operators such as Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica and Veon are supporting 4YFN through their accelerator programmes. For more information on 4YFN, visit:

Women4Tech Programme Returns to Barcelona

Following its highly successful launch at Mobile World Congress 2017, the Women4Tech programme is returning to Barcelona. Running across all four days of Mobile World Congress, Women4Tech is designed to address and reduce the gender gap in the mobile industry.

A central element of the programme is the Women4Tech Summit, which will bring together senior-level keynote speakers and panellists to discuss how to ensure gender equality in mainstream work environments, and share strategic advice on broadening gender diversity in mobile and related industries. The Summit will highlight topics such as gender equality and career development; mentoring and youth education; women in communication and vertical sectors; and women as entrepreneurs and innovators. Accenture has been confirmed as the Official Sponsor for the Women4Tech Summit.

Beyond the Summit, the Women4Tech programme includes activities such as the Women4Tech Speed Coaching and Networking session; specialised MWC Tours; Women4Tech Glomo awards for “Outstanding Achievement in Mobile Industry Leadership”; a Women4Tech panel on Mobile World Live TV; and Women4Tech activities at 4YFN.

YoMo: Fostering Future Innovators

The Youth Mobile Festival (YoMo) is back in Barcelona with an expanded set of activities and events in its second year. YoMo is a dedicated programme designed to inspire young people to pursue education and careers in science, technology, engineering, art/design, and math (STEAM). From Monday, 26 February through Thursday, 1 March, more than 17,000 young people and educators from across Catalonia and Spain will gather at Fira Montjuïc to participate in an array of educational exhibits, live theatre shows, interactive workshops and hands-on activities, as well as educator-focused workshops, lectures and more. For more information, visit:

Partner Events at Mobile World Congress 2018

Developed by leading players from across the mobile ecosystem, Partner Programmes, Training Sessions and Power Hour Sessions provide invaluable learning opportunities for Mobile World Congress attendees. The first confirmed Partner Programmes include the IDE Drone Summit presented by EJ Krause and the Modern Marketing Summit (MMS), as well as programmes from Fingu/Gewei, Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), McCann Worldgroup, PGi, Phillips, PwC, Taiwan Excellence, Visa and ZTE. Award Solutions returns as a Technology Training Partner with two full-day programmes, while icar is the first confirmed Power Hour Presenter.

Mobile World Congress Certified Carbon Neutral

The 2017 Mobile World Congress has been officially certified as carbon neutral by the British Standards Institution (BSI). In 2018, the GSMA is focused on further reducing the environmental impact and carbon footprint of the event, offsetting any outstanding emissions as necessary. It will also extend the “Donation Room” programme, through which Mobile World Congress exhibitors donate unneeded materials to Barcelona citizens at the end of the event. At the conclusion of Mobile World Congress 2017, the GSMA collected 19.3 tonnes of building materials and 13.2 tonnes of furniture items and worked with the city councils of Barcelona and Hospitalet to provide them to local socially responsible entities. For more information, visit

Get Involved at Mobile World Congress 2018

For more information on Mobile World Congress 2018, including how to attend, exhibit or sponsor, visit Follow developments and updates on Mobile World Congress on Twitter @GSMA using #MWC18, on our LinkedIn Mobile World Congress page or on Facebook at For additional information on GSMA social channels, visit

The Mobile World Congress is the cornerstone of the Mobile World Capital, which will be hosted in Barcelona through 2023. The Mobile World Capital encompasses programmes and activities that span the entire year and will benefit not only the citizens of Barcelona, Catalonia and Spain, but also the worldwide mobile industry. For more information on the Mobile World Capital, visit

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Morpho Licence2Go: the Digital Licence Platform from OT-Morpho

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OT-Morpho, a world leader in digital security and identification technologies, has launched through its Australian subsidiary Morpho Australasia, an innovative solution for digital licences, aptly named Licence2Go. The platform allows the holders to dematerialize identification documents in their smartphone, benefiting from security and flexibility, with availability ‘Anywhere, anytime, on the go.’

The main licence app is complemented by a verification app, whereby police or others requiring ID checks can verify the details of the licence holder without needing to hold the device. Licence2Go works on the principle of Privacy by Design, and at all stages, control of personal data remains with the device owner. Contactless verification takes place between devices, with no personal data transmitted, even in areas away from mobile coverage. Depending on the level of authority required for a specific transaction, the licence holder is able to choose which information is shared (Name, address, DOB, etc.). Licence details can be visually verified in-person or online, where facial verification can be used in the case of secure transactions such as loan applications.

Morpho Australasia is working with Transport authorities among others to customize the solution and brand the apps with the design of the issuing authority. The company has already begun a pilot study with an Australian Transport authority and is working to produce further pilots around the Asia-Pacific region in the second half of 2017.

Tim Ferris, OT-Morpho, managing director for Morpho Australasia, said of the trial: “Licence2Go is able to connect identity from the physical world into the digital world. We have had some great feedback from several jurisdictions and look forward to when leaving the physical document at home is no longer a problem.”

The most obvious application for the platform is with digital driving licences, but the concept is readily adapted elsewhere within government services and in the private sector, including membership cards, loyalty cards and corporate identification cards.

OT-Morpho is a world leader in digital security & identification technologies with the ambition to empower citizens and consumers alike to interact, pay, connect, commute, travel and even vote in ways that are now possible in a connected world.

As our physical and digital, civil and commercial lifestyles converge, OT-Morpho stands precisely at that crossroads to leverage the best in security and identity technologies and offer customized solutions to a wide range of international clients from key industries, including Financial services, Telecom, Identity, Security and IoT.

With close to €3bn in revenues and more than 14,000 employees, OT-Morpho is the result of the merger between OT (Oberthur Technologies) and Safran Identity & Security (Morpho) completed on 31 May 2017. Temporarily designated by the name “OT-Morpho”, the new company will unveil its new name in September of this year.

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King Salman appoints commissions to develop Al-Ola and Diriyah Gate into major tourist attractions

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King Salman bin Abdulaziz has decreed the establishment of renovation commissions tasked with the development of two of the most important archaeological and historic sites in the Kingdom, Al-Ola and Diriyah Gate. These two areas’ historic, cultural and architectural significance are expected to make them major tourist attractions as Saudi Arabia’s hospitality and tourism industry matures to welcome both local and international travellers.

The new Royal Orders issued recently to establish the Royal Commission for Al-Ola Province and Diriyah Gate Renovation Commission are an outgrowth of Vision 2030, the Kingdom’s roadmap to the future. Among the many targets highlighted by Vision 2030, the tourism industry is expected to grow significantly as infrastructure is put in place to attract over one million tourists annually.

Al-Ola commission was formed “considering the importance of developing Al-Ola Province in a way that matches its historical value, and the historical sites it contains; and in line with the economic and cultural interests of the nation; and the objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030; and to highlight the gifts of human heritage God bestowed on our country,” said one of the Royal Orders.

Local motifs invoking the distinctive heritage will be incorporated into the design of Diriyah Gate, which looks out over the bank of Wadi Hanifa. Diriyah Gate project is part of a massive plan to develop the historic area by building facilities at its entrance to attract visitors. UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee approved Diriyah’s Turaif District as a World Heritage Site in 2010.

The boards of both commissions will be headed by HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Al-Ola is one of the most fascinating vestiges of ancient Arabia, lying 380 km north of Madina. The town was founded in the 6th century and serves as the gateway to the Kingdom’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mada’en Saleh, build over 2,000 years ago by the Nabataeans, who also carved Petra in Jordan.

Diriyah: A small city 20 km from Riyadh. Originally the first capital of the Saudi Royal Dynasty, from 1744 to 1818, the town is an excellent example of Najdi architecture of that period.

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Toshiba’s Visconti™4 Image Recognition Processor Powers DENSO’s Front-Camera-Based Active Safety System

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Toshiba Electronic Devices & Storage Corporation today announced that DENSO Corporation (DENSO) is deploying Visconti4, its latest image-recognition processor dedicated to automotive applications, in next generation, front-camera-based active safety systems. Visconti4 is a leading-edge, multi-engine road-safety solution that provides drivers with real-time analytics of road conditions and potential dangers.

Electronic systems are taking on an increasingly central role in driving, including advanced driver assistance systems and support for autonomous vehicles, and particularly in promoting road safety. The latest iteration of the influential European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP), the EU-backed safety standard, adds criteria for evaluating anti-collision features that improve protection for bicyclists and pedestrians.

The Visconti4 image recognition processor is equipped with eight media processing engines, allowing it to execute eight applications simultaneously. It can detect and analyze camera-generated images and recognizes traffic lanes; nearby vehicles, both parked and moving; traffic signs and signals; the headlights of oncoming vehicles; plus the most vulnerable road users of all, bicyclists and pedestrians.

Visconti™4 has double the number of processing engines of its predecessor, the Visconti2, used by DENSO since 2015. It also integrates a new image recognition algorithm, Enhanced CoHOG Accelerator1 that delivers enhanced processing of luminance differences between objects and their backgrounds to better detect pedestrians at night and low light conditions.

Toshiba and DENSO are also cooperating in AI, on the development of deep neural network-intellectual property (DNN-IP) for use in image recognition, and plan to bring this state-of-the-art technology to future additions to the Visconti series.

The global market of vehicle-mounted cameras is expected to approach $9.6 billion in 20212. Toshiba is committed respond to with automotive semiconductor solutions that further pursue traffic safety.

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