More Efficient Customs Clearance and More Preferential Policies — Cross-border Trade Quality of Guangxi Improved and Upgraded

NANNING, China, March 14, 2023 /Xinhua-AsiaNet/– Right now, at the Youyiguan Port in Pingxiang City, Guangxi, trucks loaded with goods are crossing the China-Vietnam border. With the optimization and adjustment of entry-exit policies this year, this major trade corridor linking China to ASEAN and the rest of the world has returned to its previous bustling and vibrant atmosphere.

Due to climate differences, fruits from ASEAN countries such as Vietnam and Thailand ripen earlier, and for China, March is the peak season for fruit imports. Fruits are perishable goods, posing high requirements on logistics transportation, warehousing and customs clearance. According to Huang Feifei, the chief of Youyiguan Customs Supervision Section I, “While administering strict inspections, the Customs also implements measures such as ‘green channels’ for imported fruits, ‘7*24 hours’ pre-booked clearance, and rapid laboratory testing, which substantially shorten customs clearance time for ASEAN fruit imports.”

In recent years, Guangxi has vigorously supported the infrastructure construction of key border ports, including more inspection checkpoints and larger cargo transfer sites. At the Youyiguan Port, it only takes around a minute or even less for trucks to pass through the checkpoint. According to Xia Gaofeng, Director of Chongzuo Foreign Affairs and Commercial Port Bureau, “We have implemented a series of reform measures such as one-stop customs clearance, fully information-based intelligent customs clearance, ‘advance review and clearance of import and export goods, and checkpoint inspection and release’, resulting in a significant reduction of time for vehicle customs clearance.”

The improvement of customs clearance efficiency has genuinely unleashed the potentials of the port, while Guangxi’s border financial reform has provided great convenience for cross-border trade. In the China (Dongxing Pilot Zone) ASEAN Currency Business Center, just a few steps away from Dongxing Port, a giant electronic screen displays the official exchange rate of RMB to VDN. Today, the area has realized the currency exchange between RMB and VDN using direct quote.

Financial reform along the border has benefited the people of both China and Vietnam, and cross-border trade has become more prosperous. In recent years, financial institutions such as Bank of Guilin have successively carried out cross-border transfer of RMB and VDN banknotes, and cross-border finance has gradually expanded from merely a transaction settlement business to multiple fields.

Wang Yunxiao, Vice President of Guilin Bank said, “We have also launched special border prospering and enriching financing products such as ‘Huibian Loan’, ‘Hushi Loan’ and ‘Bianyi Loan’ to meet the financial needs of border residents engaged in cross-border trade, enterprises engaged in processing of imported materials, and purchasers.”

Guangxi’s excellent border infrastructure is a guarantee for the rapid recovery of cross-border trade. The upgrading of border power grid has led to a leap in power supply capacity; the acceleration of the construction of border communication infrastructure has basically realized 4G network coverage; the constantly improving highway network, and the increasingly smoother logistics channels, and the like. The infrastructure of Guangxi’s border has been veritably enhanced due to the concerted efforts of multiple parties.

According to Wu Xiaohui, Executive Deputy Director of the Chongzuo District Management Committee of China (Guangxi) Pilot Free Trade Zone, Pingxiang has 13 cross-border railway trains and 22 cross-border highway logistics lines, capable of reaching more than 20 major hub cities in ASEAN countries, with logistics network covering the Indo-China Peninsula.

In order to facilitate investment, trade, cross-border capitals, and transportation, the People’s Government of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region recently issued a multi-pronged plan to further promote the deepening of reforms and advance opening-up efforts.

Bai Lan, the Full-time Deputy Director of the Office of China (Guangxi) Pilot Free Trade Zone, introduced that the plan calls for the Guangxi Free Trade Zone to fully implement the pre-establishment national treatment plus negative management system list, and establish an operational and post-operational supervision management system that is compatible with the negative list management method, while promoting the opening-up of telecommunications, the Internet, education and other fields in an orderly manner, as well as the vigorously development of new forms and models of foreign trade such as cross-border e-commerce, offshore trade, and digital trade.

In addition, in terms of open development and exploration and innovation, the China (Guangxi) Pilot Free Trade Zone will hasten the exploration of institutional opening-up, create a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) demonstration projects cluster implemented as per high standards, benchmark against the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) rules, and carry out pilot trials and risk stress tests in key areas such as trade in services, financial opening, and digital economy.

Source: The Management Committee of China (Guangxi) Pilot Free Trade Zone

UVAS International Conference on Health Security starts

Lahore, March 14, 2023 (PPI-OT): The Department of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) Lahore in collaboration with Higher Education Commission (HEC) and under the umbrella of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) arranged two-day International Conference on Health Security (ICHS) at Flatties Hotal Lahore.

Federal Minister of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Mr Ahsan Iqbal presided over the inaugural session of the conference while Advisor Higher Education Commission (CPEC) Lt Gen (R) Muhammad Asghar, Secretary Livestock and Dairy Development Department Punjab Muhammad Masood Anwar, UVAS Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Nasim Ahmad (SI), Vice-Chancellor University of Education Prof Dr Talat Naseer Pasha, Member Production Sector Wing Planning and Development Board Punjab Aslam Jawed, Former Advisor Health Suhail Saqlain, Director General CPEC (HEC) Dr Safdar Ali Shah, Organizing Secretary ICHS Conference Prof Dr Aneela Zameer Durrani, Former UVAS Vice-Chancellors Prof Dr Manzoor Ahmad and Prof Dr Muhammad Nawaz while renowned veterinary and medical practitioners, scholars, researchers, academicians experts from different countries, including Korea, China, Saudi Arabia, UAE, USA and all over the Pakistan are participating physically and virtually in ICHS. Earlier Mr Ahsan Iqbal along with Prof Dr Nasim Ahmad and other dignitaries inaugurated the conference.

Addressing the audience in the inauguration ceremony, Federal Minister Ahsan Iqbal stressed on the adoption of innovative modern technologies and practices to boost livestock sector in Pakistan. He said it is direly needed to enhance milk production through innovative research and proper farm management. He said academia should work with industry to implement its innovative ideas. He said it is necessary to focus on enhancing our agriculture production and export of livestock, dairy and poultry products to other countries. He said our country has been badly affected due to climate change, even last year our poor livestock farming community faced heavy economic losses (animals, crops and houses) due to heavy flood. He hoped that through this conference recommendation will be developed by experts which will be key to making strategies/policies for a batter future. He congratulated UVAS and its leadership on arranging such an informative conference to address health related issues.

Speaking on the occasion, Prof Dr Nasim Ahmad said that conference focuses on zoonosis, rabies disease, climate change environment, food security and safety, water scarcity and management, stunting and food wasting, human health and trade facilitation, etc. He said temperature is rising alarmingly, glaciers are melting fast and we face flood disasters almost every year in Pakistan. He said water scarcity is turning into a big crisis and the River Ravi is almost dry and probably the most polluted in the world. He said we are facing with twin challenges of food security and safety and our agriculture production has almost become stagnant but our population is growing with the same pace.

He mentioned malnutrition, stunting in school going children and food wasting are significantly higher in our country even in spite of this alarming situation, how do we expect our kids and youth become useful citizens for their homeland. He said UVAS played a vital role in the fight against Corona pandemic, established a BSL 3 diagnostic lab, tested over seven lakh Corona samples and helped in identifying and tracking the spread of the virus, enabling authorities to control its spread. He also said that UVAS played an active role in flood relief activities during last year and our volunteer teams comprised of students who performed relief activities in all the four provinces in transparent manners.

Prof Dr Talat Naseer Pasha said that livestock is the major source of nutrition in Pakistan so it is direly needed to provide maximum vaccination and treatment facilities to poor livestock farming community at their door steps. Prof Dr Aneela Zameer Durrani presented the vote of thanks. Lt Gen (R) Muhammad Asghar said that there are ample opportunities in CPEC for business, working together with Chinese to learn from each other experiences and knowledge. The Secretary Livestock said that there are many challenges in Pakistan like nutrition to cater the needs for growing population in Pakistan, climate change, foot and mouth disease, food safety and security, meat export and conference will be beneficial for making policies, which will be key to address such issues in Pakistan.

The purpose of the conference was to align with one health principle of inter relationship between animal, soil and environment. Employing an interdisciplinary approach involving animal scientist, geneticist, nutritionist, environmentalist, animal welfares’, animal virologist and other health related fields of study to assess and apply objective methods to optimize the wellbeing of man, animal and its environment. Theme of the conference is health matters and it is focused on activities required to minimize the danger and impact of acute public health events that endanger people health across all geographical boundaries. The conference is consisting of 10 technical sessions, poster competition while stalls have also been set up by industry partners.

For more information, contact:
Public Relations Officer
University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS)
Syed Abdul Qadir Jillani (Out Fall) Road,
Lahore – Pakistan
Tel: +92-42-99211374, +92-42-99211449

Global experts highlight the role of mathematics in everyday life

Karachi, March 14, 2023 (PPI-OT): To commemorate International Day of Mathematics (IDM), the Aga Khan University Institute for Educational Development (AKU-IED) held a conference titled ‘Mathematics for EVERYONE’, in collaboration with The Dawood Foundation (TDF)’s Magnify Science Centre. The two-day event highlighted the connections of math with life. The first day of the conference was held in person and included several interactive sessions, math displays, learning activities and workshops. Sessions for the second day were all held online. Dr Nusrat F. Rizvi, Associate Professor, AKU-IED shared that: “This year’s theme emphasises that mathematics is not confined to classrooms, textbooks, or teachers’ minds. Rather it is embedded in all sorts of human experiences. This requires teachers to reflect on how they can provide practical learning experiences to their students.”

Karima Esmail, co-author Dynamo Maths, discussed a predicament a large number of the world population faces when it comes to understanding mathematics, saying: “The key is to understand that there’s a difference between simple math developmental delays and dyscalculia. With proper identification and then intentional and purposeful intervention, it is possible to make headway in treating it as well as saving suffering individuals from a world of distress.” Dr Andreas Matt, Managing Director, IMAGINARY, who delivered one of the keynote addresses titled, ‘Let’s play with Artificial Intelligence!’ said: “For me, mathematics is not only a universal language we all speak, but it also is a common base of reasoning, of connecting ideas and understanding, and of asking questions, that nobody has answered yet. And, at its core, it is very creative and playful! Thus, it is for everyone!”

“Our world, more than ever before, is pervaded by mathematics: I do believe that by working together we can find ways for us all to engage with and enjoy those ideas,” said Dr Jenefer Golding, Associate Professor, University College London. The esteemed professor delivered a talk on ‘Large scale international studies in mathematics: benefits, limitations and their potential for teachers and teacher educators’. Prof. Stephen Lyon, Dean, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, AKU, emphasised the importance of using math to understand the complexities of the world around us. After conducting a session titled ‘Kinship Algebra and Cultural Reproduction’ he said: “Mathematics is a great tool for describing and understanding the world around us. The versatility of the different branches of mathematics open new ways of formally analysing complexity that enhance all disciplines-especially the ones that are trying to make sense of the rich and messy chaos of human thought and behaviour.”

Regarding the collaborative effort between AKU-IED and TDF’s MagnifiScience Centre, Ms Sabrina Dawood, Vice Chair, TDF shared: “This conference has opened the doorways for teachers and students of Mathematics to explore the world through the lens of logic. Not only do events like this pave the way for better teaching and learning, but also for a better understanding of how math can be used to solve daily life problems.” With a high turnout, both in-person and online, AKU-IED hopes to see a practical shift in the way Mathematics will be taught to students in Pakistan.

For more information, contact:
Media Executive
Department of Public Affairs
Aga Khan University (AKU)
Stadium Road, Karachi
Tel: +92-21-34930051
Fax: +92-21-34934294, +92-21-34932095
Cell: +92-301-8258028

Revolutionizing Higher Education or a Double-Edged Sword?

Lahore, March 14, 2023 (PPI-OT): Chatbots have become increasingly popular recently, and many universities and colleges are adopting them to improve student engagement and support. ChatGPT can provide 24/7 support and assist with common student inquiries, as well as the potential drawbacks, such as its limitations in replacing human interaction.

For more information, contact:
University of Central Punjab (UCP)
Khayaban-e-Jinnah Road, Johar Town, Lahore, Pakistan
Phone: +92-42-35880007
Fax: +92-42-35954892

Habib University’s 1st Alumni Convention “Shaam-e-Milaap”: Celebrating Memories and Connections

Karachi, March 14, 2023 (PPI-OT): Habib University’s 1st Alumni Convention, Shaam-e-Milaap, was a momentous occasion that brought together the alumni and faculty of the esteemed University for an evening of reflection and reconnection. The event, held on March 11, 2023, began with a Meet and Greet session where alumni and faculty had the chance to mingle informally over refreshments. The evening then kicked off with the formal Opening Session, which was led by the MCs who welcomed all guests, observed a moment of silence and prayer for the late Dr. Asif Aslam Farrukhi, and introduced Dr. Aamir Hasan, Vice President, Academic Affairs at Habib University to deliver the Welcome Address.

In his speech, Vice President Dr. Hasan expressed his gratitude to the alumni for their continued support of Habib University and their efforts in bringing positive change to society. He also highlighted the importance of the alumni community as ambassadors of the University and encouraged them to stay connected and engaged. “And as we gather here today at Shaam-e-Milaap, it is clear that the bonds we form here at Habib University are lasting ones, ones that will continue to shape our lives long after we’ve left this campus,” said Dr. Aamir Hasan. The keynote address that followed was the highlight of the evening. Mr. Zain Jeewanjee, a prominent businessman in the USA and philanthropist, delivered an insightful talk on the importance of innovation and risk-taking in today’s world. He emphasized that Habib University has provided its graduates with the necessary skills and knowledge to navigate the challenges of the modern world.

“Habib University has always been at the forefront of innovation and has consistently produced graduates who are capable of leading and making an impact. As alumni, it is our responsibility to take the lessons we learned here and use them to create a better future,” Mr. Jeewanjee stated. Shaam-e-Milaap program then took a nostalgic turn as Unzila Bilal, Habib University’s alumna from the Class of 2018, presented a light-hearted re-enactment of Dr. Nauman Naqvi’s famous lecture on Modernity. After which Dr. Anzar Khaliq, Associate Dean, Teaching, Learning and Research, and Associate Professor, Integrated Science and Mathematics at Habib University, presented a fun and engaging presentation on “Our Habib University Experiences.” Dr. Khaliq shared his personal experiences and anecdotes from the first day he stepped inside Habib University, and some fun experiences of his students, which left the audience in splits.

The Alumni Panel Discussion that followed, moderated by Dr. Waqar Saleem, Associate Professor, Computer Science at Habib University was a lively and engaging conversation on the learning journey of the alumni at Habib University. The panelists shared their experiences, challenges, and successes and highlighted the role that Habib University has played in shaping their lives and careers at Shaam-e-Milaap. The first speaker, Anumtah Aijaz, Habib University’s Electrical Engineering alumna from the Class of 2020, set the tone for the rest of the session, sharing inspiring stories of overcoming adversity and how Habib University’s inclusive academic environment made her thrive in the field of STEM. The second speaker, Muhammad Furqan Karim Kidwai, Habib University’s Computer Science alumnus from the Class of 2020, and the co-founder and COO of the fintech start-up, YPay Financial Services, spoke about the importance of collaboration and teamwork in achieving ambitious goals, drawing on personal experiences from his time at Habib University’s 1st Alumni Convention, Shaam-e-Milaap.

The third speaker, Luluwa Lokhandwala, Habib University’s Communication and Design alumna from the Class of 2021, and now working as the adjunct faculty in the University, shared valuable insights on the importance of communication and empathy in building successful relationships, both personal and professional. The final speaker, Anzal Abbas Jaffery, Habib University’s Social Development and Policy alumnus from the Class of 2021, and now working in the Education and Public Health sector as an advocate of youth empowerment, reflected on the unique opportunities and experiences that Habib University offers, emphasizing the importance of taking risks and embracing new challenges.

Shaam-e-Milaap evening then proceeded with the announcement of the Alumni Engagement Plan by Saad Rahim Zubair, Senior Manager, Office of Alumni Relations and Engagement. The plan outlined various initiatives and activities aimed at promoting alumni engagement and building a strong alumni network. Ms. Yasmeen Bano, Vice President, Student Success at Habib University also presented tokens of Recognition to participating members of the Alumni Association.

Ms. Lubna Ahmed, Director, Resource Development department at Habib University also presented the Hum Rah Program and encouraged the alumni to support the University’s giving campaign. After the session, the MCs thanked the guests, and guided them for tea downstairs. The alumni were also able to stop by the booth for the Humrah program to get more information and indicate their interest for further engagement. After the tea break, Shaam-e-Milaap resumed with a series of alumni speakers sharing their experiences. The sessions were held in a hybrid format, allowing speakers to join in from different locations around the world. The topics covered a range of subjects, from the challenges and successes of starting a new business to the personal growth and development that came from studying at Habib University.

The first speaker, Manahil Siddiqui, Habib University’s Communication and Design alumna, from the Class of 2022, talked about how she navigated through the world of business with her creative background. The second speaker, Sidra Dara, Habib University’s Social Development and Policy alumna, from the Class of 2018 talked about the importance of diversifying your skillset and how Habib University provided her with a well-rounded education. The third speaker, Farwa Hussain, Habib University’s Social Development and Policy alumna, from the Class of 2018, spoke about the value of creating opportunities for yourself and how her time at Habib University taught her to be proactive. Overall, the alumni sharing session provided a unique opportunity for current students and recent graduates to hear from successful Habib University alumni and gain insight into how they can apply their education in the real world.

After the sessions, Shaam-e-Milaap moved on to revive some of the nostalgic memories from the past with a sports session and sound bath. As the night drew to a close, the convention culminated with a soulful qawwali performance by the Saami Brothers, an internationally renowned group of musicians known for their mesmerizing Sufi music. The performance was a fitting conclusion to the convention, bringing together the attendees in a moment of collective joy and celebration. In the end, the event was a resounding success, bringing together alumni and faculty from all over the world to celebrate their shared memories and experiences. The convention was a beautiful testament to the enduring bonds and connections that Habib University fosters, not only during one’s time at the university but also in the years that follow.

For more information, contact:
Habib University
Karachi, Pakistan
Tel: +92-21-34301051-55

Orphanage Home Drive (Apna Ghar)- NTU Community Services Society

Faisalabad, March 14, 2023 (PPI-OT):NTU Community Services Society (2022–2023) arranged an orphanage home drive (Apna Ghar, Tariqabad, Faisalabad). NTU students, staff and faculty warmly participated in the arrangements for gifts for the shining kids of the orphanage house on February 23, 2023.

The charity of NTU NCSS team has provided happiness and cheer to orphanage children’s lives. Students engaged the kids in interactive and sports activities like jigsaw puzzles, matching madness, picture riddles, cricket and more, through which they practiced endurance and learned.

The staff and management of Apna Ghar expressed gratitude to NTU students, President NCSS Umer Ashfaq, and Convener NCSS Dr. M. Shahzad Iqbal (Asst, Prof FBS) for this kindness.

For more information, contact:
National Textile University (NTU)
Sheikhupura Road, Faisalabad 37610, Pakistan
Tel: +92-41-9230081-90
Fax: +92-41-9230098