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Tesla plans to resume production at its Shanghai plant from April 4

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SHANGHAI: Tesla is aiming to resume production at its Shanghai factory from Monday, two sources familiar with the matter said, as it expects to see its first batch of workers released from a lockdown the city imposed to combat a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Production at the US automaker’s Shanghai factory, which produces cars for the China market and is also a crucial export hub, has been halted since March 28 as the government launched a two-stage lockdown that started in areas east of the city’s Huangpu River where Tesla’s plant is located.

Still, Tesla’s resumption plans could change due to Shanghai’s evolving COVID-19 policies, one of the sources told Reuters.

Tesla had originally hoped to only halt operations for four days, but cancelled production plans for Friday and Saturday after the authorities extended tight movement restrictions in the eastern half of the city. Virtually all of the Shanghai is currently under lockdown.

The seven-day stoppage marks one of the longest suspensions since the factory started production in late 2019.

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Tesla manufactures 6,000 Model 3 and 10,000 Model Y cars per week at its Shanghai factory, one of the people said. Tesla did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“This was an exceptionally difficult quarter due to supply chain interruptions & China zero Covid policy,” its chief executive officer Elon Musk said in a tweet on Saturday.

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PM Imran announces Rs500 billion package for south Punjab

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Says govt is taking measures to reduce inflation, create job opportunities, and strengthen the national economy

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday announced a massive Rs500 billion development package for south Punjab

While addressing a large political gathering in Mailsi Tehsil of Vehari district in south Punjab, the premier said that his government took concrete measures to provide relief to farmers, which will pave the way for the development of the country. He said that the government was preparing a Rs132 billion subsidy package to provide cheap urea to the farmers of the country.

“I’m aware of urea crisis, [therefore], we are importing urea from China which will be here soon. We saved people from coronavirus, we are facing inflation crises, still, we tried best to save people,” PM Imran said.

He also announced to table a bill in the National Assembly for the creation of a separate province of south Punjab.

“A constitutional amendment will be presented in the National Assembly to make South Punjab a province. We will see whether PML-N and PPP will support the bill or not.”

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He said the government is taking concrete steps to reduce inflation, create job opportunities, and strengthen the national economy. Prime Minister Imran said that the government made record tax collection this year, which is why the prices of petrol and electricity were slashed to provide relief to the masses.

PM Imran said that the ambassadors European Union wrote a letter to Pakistan asking for a statement and vote against Russia.

“EU ambassadors demanded Pakistan to condemn Russia’s action in Ukraine, did they demand the same from India?” the premier questioned, reiterating that Pakistan will make decisions in its national interests.

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“We are not here to serve anyone’s interests,” he added.

He also underlined the need for dialogue and diplomacy for a peaceful solution to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

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He said it was Pakistan that had supported NATO in the war on terror. The rulers at that time supported these countries.

“What was the outcome of that war? Pakistan lost 80,000 precious lives, 3.5 million people in the tribal areas were displaced while the country had suffered an economic loss of $100 billion,” he added.

The prime minister said that instead of acknowledging such huge sacrifices, certain countries in Europe blamed Pakistan for their failures in Afghanistan.

“In Kashmir, India had brazenly violated UNSC resolutions. Whether they have criticized or severed ties with India or stopped trade?” the prime minister posed a question.

Talking about recent bomb blast in Peshawar, he said government is committed to overcome terrorism and promote peace and stability in the country. Imran Khan said Pakistan incurred huge loss in terms of finance and infrastructure in the fight against terrorism.

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Speaking about the protest marches and ‘No Confidence Motion’ against his government, PM Imran expressed the resolve that opposition will fail in its effort to table the motion in the Parliament as government enjoys the support of all its allies.

“These thugs have been looting this country for the past 35 years. They have made a wealthy nation poor,” he said, adding, “The nation continues to remain in the same state when such thugs unite to plunder the resources and take turns to do so.”

ALSO READ:  Startups bringing Pakistan's farming into digital age

He said that he was fully prepared to tackle the moves made by a ‘bunch of thieves’.

The prime minister dared them to introduce the no-confidence motion in the parliament, declaring that after its failure, they would have to face the consequences.

The prime minister said the people behind the move for no-confidence were Nawaz Sharif, Asif Zardari and Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

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Nawaz Sharif had been convicted by the Supreme Court and now he has been an absconder sitting abroad. With his ‘Bollywood acting’ and requests regarding his health issues, he went abroad, he said, adding “Whether a timid can be a leader who had fled the country twice!”

The premier made it clear that he would “fight off this gang till the last drop of my blood,” and added, “I am prepared to respond to them but I want to ask them; are you ready to face what I will do next?”

Earlier, Federal Minister for Industries and Productions Khusro Bakhtiar termed this gathering a historic occasion. While addressing the rally, Bakhtiar hinted that Prime Minister Imran Khan was going to make an important announcement, which would change the destiny of this region.

He said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was the first party that protected the rights of the people of south Punjab, and added that the party would end the sufferings of people of Sindh as well after winning the next general election.

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Startups bringing Pakistan’s farming into digital age

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Agriculture entrepreneurs are bringing the digital age to Pakistan’s farmers, helping them plan crops better and distribute their produce when the time is right.

Until recently, “the most modern machine we had was the tractor”, Aamer Hayat Bhandara, a farmer and local councillor behind one such project told AFP in “Chak 26”, a village in the agricultural heartland of Punjab province.

Even making mobile phone calls can be difficult in many parts of Pakistan, but since October, farmers in Chak 26 and pilot projects elsewhere have been given free access to the internet — and it is revolutionising the way they work.

Agriculture is the mainstay of Pakistan’s economy, accounting for nearly 20 per cent of gross domestic product and around 40pc of the workforce.

Pakistan is estimated to be the world’s fifth-largest producer of sugarcane, seventh-largest of wheat and tenth-biggest rice grower — but it mostly relies on human labour and lags other big farming nations on mechanisation.

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In this picture taken on January 7, 2022, villagers stand next to the Digital Dera office in Chak Twenty-six SP. — AFP
In this picture taken on January 7, 2022, villagers stand next to the Digital Dera office in Chak Twenty-six SP.

Cows and donkeys rest near a muddy road leading to a pavilion in Chak 26, which is connected to a network via a small satellite dish.

This is the “Digital Dera” — or meeting place — and six local farmers have come to see the computers and tablets that provide accurate weather forecasts, as well as the latest market prices and farming tips.

“I’ve never seen a tablet before,” said Munir Ahmed, 45, who grows maize, potatoes and wheat.

“Before, we relied on the experience of our ancestors or our own, but it wasn’t very accurate,” added Amjad Nasir, another farmer, who hopes the project “will bring more prosperity”.

ALSO READ:  Startups bringing Pakistan's farming into digital age

Apps and apples

Communal internet access is not Bhandara’s only innovation.

A short drive away, on the wall of a shed, a modern electronic switch system is linked to an old water pump.

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A tablet is now all he needs to control the irrigation on part of the 100 hectares (250 acres) he cultivates — although it is still subject to the vagaries of Pakistan’s intermittent power supply.

This year, Bhandara hopes, others will install the technology he says will reduce water consumption and labour.

“Digitising agriculture… and the rural population is the only way to prosper,” he told AFP.

In this picture taken on January 7, 2022, Aamer Hayat Bhandara , co-founder of Digital Dera, gives interviews to AFP while showing how to close a water pump through his digital app in Chak Twenty-six SP.
In this picture taken on January 7, 2022, Aamer Hayat Bhandara , co-founder of Digital Dera, gives interviews while showing how to close a water pump through his digital app in Chak Twenty-six SP.

At the other end of the supply chain, around 150 kilometres (90 miles) away in Lahore, dozens of men load fruit and vegetables onto delivery bikes at a warehouse belonging to the start-up Tazah, which acts as an intermediary between farmers and traders.

After just four months in operation, the company delivers about 100 tonnes of produce every day to merchants in Lahore and Karachi who place orders via a mobile app.

“Before the merchant had to get up at 5 am or 5:30 am to buy the products in bulk, at the day’s price, and then hassle with transporting them,” said Inam Ulhaq, regional manager.

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“Tazah brings some order to the madness.” In the Tazah office, several employees manage the orders, but for the time being, purchases are still made by phone, as the part of the application intended for farmers is still in development.

The young company is also tackling a “centuries-old” system that stakeholders are reluctant to change, explains co-founder Abrar Bajwa.

ALSO READ:  Pakistan Consumer Confidence Index increased by 8.8% in Q4 2021

Record investment

Fruit and vegetables often rot during their journey along poorly organised supply chains, says partner Mohsin Zaka, but apps like Tazah make the whole system more efficient.

In this picture taken on January 8, 2022, workers of Taza Transforming Agriculture load vegetable bags on rickshaws at a distributing point in Lahore.  — AFP
In this picture taken on January 8, 2022, workers of Taza Transforming Agriculture load vegetable bags on rickshaws at a distributing point in Lahore. — AFP

In addition to Lahore, Tazah is already operating in the largest city, Karachi, and is preparing to move into the capital, Islamabad.

A $20 million fundraising campaign is underway, the co-founder told AFP, at a time when investments are pouring into Pakistani start-ups.

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Foreign investment in Pakistan startups exceeded $310 million last year — five times the 2020 level and more than the previous six years combined, according to several reports.

Further down the chain, Airlift — which provides grocery deliveries — raised $85 million in a record-breaking prospectus for the country in August.

“A lot of the markets that venture investors are looking for, like India or Indonesia, are saturated,” said Bajwa, a former director at Careem, the local ride-hailing app acquired by Uber in 2020.

Now Pakistan, the world’s fifth-most populous country, is attracting attention and agriculture is a sector that is “completely untapped from a technological point of view”, he said.

It is “certainly the one where we can have the biggest impact” here, he noted.

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Fiverr to Announce Fourth Quarter 2021 Results on February 17, 2022

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NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Fiverr International Ltd. (NYSE: FVRR), the company that is changing how the world works together, today announced it will release fourth quarter and full year financial results for the period ended December 31, 2021 before the market opens on Thursday, February 17, 2022. On that day management will hold a conference call and webcast at 8:30 a.m. ET to discuss the Company’s business and financial results. Prior to its conference call, Fiverr will issue a press release and post a shareholder letter to its website at https://investors.fiverr.com.

Fourth Quarter Conference Call and Webcast Details

What: Fiverr’s Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2021 Financial Results Conference Call
When: February 17, 2022 at 8:30 a.m. ET
Dial In: To access the call via telephone please dial +1 (844) 200-6205, or +1 (929) 526-1599 for callers outside the United States and entering access code 293563
Webcast: A live and archived webcast of the conference call will be accessible from the investor relations section of the Company’s website at https://investors.fiverr.com

ALSO READ:  Startups bringing Pakistan's farming into digital age
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