, , ,

China launches meteorological satellite to benefit Belt and Road countries

XICHANG: China on Tuesday launched the new Fengyun-2H meteorological satellite to improve the accuracy of weather forecasting and provide better meteorological services to countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative, reported Xinhua News

The Fengyun-2H was launched on a Long March-3A rocket at 9:07 p.m., Beijing Time, from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China’s Sichuan Province.

It was the 277th mission of the Long March rocket series.

A geostationary orbit satellite, Fengyun-2H is the last in the Fengyun-2 series. The Fengyun-4 series will dominate China’s new generation geostationary orbit meteorological satellites, said Zhao Jian, deputy director of the Department of System Engineering of China National Space Administration (CNSA).

In response to a request from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization (APSCO), the position of Fengyun-2H will be changed from original 86.5 degrees east longitude to 79 degrees east longitude.

This means the Fengyun series satellites will be able to cover all the territory of China, as well as countries along the Belt and Road, the Indian Ocean and most African countries, according to the CNSA.

The adjustment will enable the Fengyun series satellites to acquire meteorological data over a wider range, improve weather forecasting accuracy and the ability to cope with climate change and mitigate losses caused by natural disasters, Zhao said.

Equipped with a scanning radiometer and space environment monitor, Fengyun-2H will provide real timecloud and water vapour images and space weather information to clients in the Asia-Pacific region, said Wei Caiying, chief commander of the ground application system of Fengyun-2H and deputy director of the National Satellite Meteorological Center.

The Belt and Road region, which is mainly high mountains, deserts and oceans, lacks meteorological information. Damage from natural disasters, especially meteorological disasters, in the region is more than double the world average.

After four months of in-orbit tests, Fengyun-2H will provide data to help Belt and Road countries better cope with natural hazards, Zhao said.

“The move shows China’s willingness to construct a community with a shared future,” said Zhao.

It also addresses a WMO request to strengthen satellite observation of the Indian Ocean to fill a gap in the region, which is China’s contribution to the international community as a major power of the developing world, Zhao said.

China will offer data of the Fengyun series free to Belt and Road countries and APSCO member countries, said Zhao.

China has helped establish ground stations to receive the data in some APSCO member countries, including Pakistan, Indonesia, Thailand, Iran and Mongolia. China plans to upgrade the stations and provide training to technicians in those countries.

If countries along the Belt and Road are struck by disasters like typhoons, rainstorms, sandstorms and forest or prairie fires, they can apply for and quickly get the data, Wei said.

China’s meteorological satellites have played an important role in the Belt and Road region. For instance, the Fengyun-2E satellite captured an indication of heavy rainfall in Pakistan in August 2017 and issued a timely warning to avoid casualties.

China already has 17 Fengyun series meteorological satellites in space, with eight in operation, including five in geostationary orbit and three in polar orbit, to observe extreme weather, climate and environment events around the globe.

The WMO has included China’s Fengyun series of meteorological satellites as a major part of the global Earth observation system. They provide data to clients in more than 80 countries and regions. Weather forecasts in the eastern hemisphere depend mainly on China’s meteorological satellites, according to the CNSA.

Since Fengyun-2A was sent into orbit on June 10, 1997, the Fengyun-2 series satellites have monitored more than 470 typhoons emerging in the western Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea.

They helped improve the accuracy of typhoon forecasting. In 2015, the deviation of China’s prediction of typhoon tracks within 24 hours was less than 70 kilometers, among the world’s best, according to the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST), producer of the Fengyun series.

The new generation Fengyun-4A geostationary meteorological satellite launched at the end of 2016 can improve observation efficiency by 20 times compared with the Fengyun-2 series, said SAST.


, ,

Zong 4G services launched in Gwadar

ISLAMABAD– In a positive development, Pakistan’s largest telecom network Zong 4G has launched its operations in the port city of Gwadar, a future international business hub which has already seen foreign and local investment amounting to billions of dollars and rupees.

The launch of fastest 4G services in Gwadar implies that foreign citizens from across the globe and local residents who have been pursuing their respective business endeavours in the port city will have unhindered access to the fastest 4G technology against the reasonably affordable tariff.

The move is likely to boost online businesses in the fast developing international city and the adjoining belt of rural Sindh.

With its 4G consumer-base already having exceeded the 6 million mark, Zong eyes to keep expanding its matchless voice and data services.

“Zong 4G’s network expansion symbolises our customer-centric approach to ensure that the interests of consumers stay above all the rest by offering the best and affordable network,” the

telecom company said in a statement.

“We keep expanding our operational portfolio to ensure enhanced operations in cities, towns, villages, and far-flung areas,” it said.

The ongoing momentum of the rapid network expansion implies that Zong 4G continues to invest heavily in modernisation of the mobile network to respond to growing market needs.

Innovation, performance and reliability have long been Zong’s hallmark. The No.1 Data Company of Pakistan epitomises professional excellence and digitised supremacy coupled with its customer-oriented policies with an aim to deliver the best but at highly affordable rates.

The services will be offered at affordable rates, it said.

“Massive network expansion symbolises our customer-centric approach to ensure that the interests of consumers stay above all the rest by offering them best and affordable network,”

Zong 4G said. “We keep expanding our operational portfolio to ensure enhanced operations in cities, towns, villages, and far-flung areas,” it added.

SOURCE: https://en.dailypakistan.com.pk/pakistan/zong-4g-extends-pakistan-operations-to-gwadar/


Pakistan to get faster, reliable internet as China backed submarine cable to start operations by end-2019

LAHORE: Pakistan internet backhaul is expected to receive a significant boost with the addition of an upcoming submarine cable called PEACE cable with landing routes in Karachi and Gwadar.

This submarine cable which is expected to be active by end of 2019 will have over 60 Tb capacity and is expected to stretch to Africa and Europe.

It is named PEACE (Pakistan East Africa Cable Express) and is a joint venture between Huawei Technologies and Global Marine Systems Limited, Huawei Marine Networks.

In its first phase, PEACE will comprise a 6,200km network connecting Pakistan (in Gwadar and Karachi), Djibouti, Somalia, and Kenya. It will eventually span 13,000km, reaching South Africa and Egypt.

According to sources, Pakistan’s leading cellular provider Jazz and internet service provider (ISP) Cybernet have been shortlisted as the intended landing parties for the PEACE cable in Pakistan.

Recently a high-level conference organized by PCCW Global, PEACE and Huawei Marine held in Dubai was attended by all the leading international landing parties, which was said to be a major success.

ICT expert Parvez Iftikhar tweeting about the PEACE submarine cable said:



This system, designed by Chinese company Tropic Science, depends on 200G dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) technology – used to increase bandwidth on fibre networks by transmitting multiple signals at once, at different wavelengths but on the same fibre.

The system was designed to deliver a capacity of up to 60Tbps.

Currently, Pakistan is served by six submarine cables and has suffered frequent internet outages which have left services crippled across the country in the recent past.

In July and August 2017, the severing of two leading submarine cables which form the backbone of Pakistan’s internet bandwidth led to a major slowdown of services across the country.

With the PEACE cable expected to come online by end of 2019, the country’s internet connectivity and backup will receive a major boost, leading to less frequent outages and disruption of services.

Not only will the addition of PEACE cable overhaul the country’s internet infrastructure, but the reliability of services and will also reduce dependence on other submarine cables in case of their severance.


SOURCE: https://profit.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/04/14/peace-submarine-cable-to-start-services-in-pakistan-by-end-2019/

, , ,

China to Train Pakistanis in Space Technology

For the first time, China is going to admit foreign students in its aerospace institute, including some from Pakistan. Pakistani students will get trained at China’s Space Technology Institution for the first time ever.

China will now concede outside understudies in its aviation organization. A total of eight foreign students from the following countries were given confirmation in Shenzhou College of Space Technology:

  • Pakistan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Cambodia
  • Venezuela
  • Belarus

A ceremony was held in Shenzhou College, which comes under China Academy of Space Technology, to welcome the students.

The Master’s degree in Aerospace Science program consists of a two-year course.

Space Science professor Jiao Weizix of Pecking University told,

“China’s aerospace industry technology is comprehensive, especially its satellites for navigation, communication and meteorology, a field in which China can and would like to help other countries cultivate talent. The enrollment of foreign students also proves that China’s technology in the field has made a huge progress during the past years.”

China Academy of Space Technology already cooperates with Pakistan, Algeria, Venezuela, Nigeria, and Ethiopia under the Know-How project.

Jiao added that the initiative will help in building China’s global image as well,

“China used to receive help from countries such as the former Soviet Union and now is able to help others, which is also good for China in building its international image.”

China and Pakistan recently partnered to launch a communications and remote sensing satellite in 2018 as well. China will also help Pakistan Airforce by equipping the world’s most advanced radar system in the JF-17 Thunder Jet Fighter.The CPEC Cultural Communication Centre (CCC) under its ‘Talent Corridor’ scheme is also offering one-year vocational training to Pakistanis.

SOURCE: https://propakistani.pk/2018/03/30/china-to-train-pakistanis-in-space-technology/

, ,

Pakistan and China to Launch a Communication Satellite for DTH Services

Pakistan and China have signed an agreement for development and launch of communication satellite PakSat Multi-Mission Satellite (PakSat-MM1).

The communication satellite already arrived at Pakistan’s geostationary orbital location of 38.2° East on 27th February. The satellite will primarily function as a communication satellite with the capability to provide Direct-to-Home (DTH) services.

According to the press release by the Planning, Development and Reforms ministry, China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC) and Pakistan will equally divide the satellite development and launch cost between them.

Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Planning, talking on  the ceremony said;

“One important element of this contract (PakSat-MM1) is that both … sides are contributing 50%. It is a joint-effort of both countries that makes it (PakSat-MM1) even more valuable.”

Space & Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) and CGWIC signed the contract in the presence of several Chinese and Pakistani officials.

Ahsan Iqbal, while talking to the media, told that SUPARCO is working on two other satellites as well, apart from PakSat-MM1.

He added that Pakistan Remote Sensing Satellite (PRSS-1) is Pakistan’s first ever low-earth orbit (LEO) earth observation satellite with a service life of 5 years. According to the minister, PRSS-1 will be launched this year.

Originally, SUPARCO proposed the PRSS-1 project to have two satellites onboard. One satellite was said to have Electro-Optical (EO) system while the second was visioned to be equipped with Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR).

SUPARCO is developing another satellite as well that will be solely produced and launched by SUPARCO engineers. Talking about this project, Ahsan Iqbal told;

“Pakistan Technology Evaluation Satellite-1A (PakTES-1A) is an indigenous project from concept till launch by SUPARCO engineers and scientists.”

Ahsan Iqbal, Chairman SUPARCO Qaiser Anees Khurram, Officials from CGWIC, and the Ambassador People’s Republic of China Mr. Yao Jing witnessed the groundbreaking ceremony.

Source: https://propakistani.pk/2018/03/28/pakistan-and-china-to-launch-a-communication-satellite-for-dth-services/

, , ,

Microsoft’s AI-Based Chinese-to-English Translations Are Now as Good as Humans

A team of Microsoft researches has made a major breakthrough in machine translation tech. The team has successfully developed an Artificial Intelligence system through extensive training that is as accurate as humans in translating Chinese to English.

The Accurate Translator

The folks at Microsoft told that methods like deep neural networks, deliberation networks, dual learning and joint training were used to train the AI. The purpose of this training was to reach a level of accuracy in translation similar to humans.

The system was tested on a sample of 2,000 news sentences from several newspapers that were available online. The samples were released at WMT17 research conference on which Microsoft conducted the test. Microsoft hired a team of professional Chinese to English translators to verify the results.

Even the research team was surprised by the results and how quickly they achieved them. One of the reps said,”Hitting human parity in a machine translation task is a dream that all of us have had. We just didn’t realize we’d be able to hit it so soon.”

Talking about the difficulties and differences of simple pattern recognition and machine translation, Ming Zhou of Microsoft comments,”Machine translation is much more complex than a pure pattern recognition task. People can use different words to express the exact same thing, but you cannot necessarily say which one is better.”

Source: https://propakistani.pk/2018/03/16/microsofts-ai-based-chinese-to-english-translations-are-now-as-good-as-humans/?utm_source=all_users&utm_medium=notif

, ,

Bitcoin price slips as China widens crackdown on cryptocurrency

BEIJING: China is preparing for a new crackdown on cryptocurrency, planning to stamp out remaining trading in the country, according to state media.

China will gradually clean up over-the-counter trading platforms, peer-to-peer networks where large exchanges occur and firms registered in the country which allow Chinese to trade overseas, the state-run Securities Journal said Tuesday.

The publication cited an anonymous source close to regulators tackling online finance risks.

The new plan follows China’s crackdown on cryptocurrency trading last year, which saw Beijing shut down bitcoin exchanges and ban all initial coin offerings.

But alternative channels for trading cryptocurrencies have popped up, including on social networks like WeChat, QQ and Telegram.

Those online groups facilitating large-scale peer-to-peer trade appear likely to suffer greater scrutiny in the coming months.

The international value of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has plunged in recent days amid fears of a crackdown in Asia and concerns that many currencies’ rapid rise in value last year could reflect an inflating bubble.

At one point on Wednesday, the price of bitcoin on some exchanges had tumbled more than 20 percent, falling below the $10,000 mark that the currency broke through in November of last year.

The market movements come just one month after the most valuable cryptocurrency bitcoin broke through the $20,000 mark in December.

Source: ARY News, 17th January 2018.

, , , ,

CPEC as digital Silk Road

In the backdrop of the 4th World Internet Conference held in China envisioning Digital Silk Road along Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) routes, China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is making its inroads to emerge as high tech digital corridor.

As BRI aims to lay down the network of highways, railways, seaways, airways, bridges and ports, the Digital Silk Road along the CPEC route will develop cyber-ways and internet highway infrastructure for Information & communication Technology (ICT) at the cost of $ 44 million. By constructing  digital infrastructure in cyberspace, CPEC will not only be connected to China but also will link up to 65 countries located on the Silk Road Economic Belt, spreading across Central Asia and Europe, and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, running through Southeast Asia, Africa and Europe.

CPEC gears up to go digital with the projects of fibre optic cable, a new submarine landing station for internet traffic flow, and digital TV for all.

With laying down digital fiber optic cabal, according to the Long Term Plan negotiated by Beijing and Islamabad, CPEC will become the part of digital information society collaborating telecommunication, internet technology infrastructure, e-commerce, pool resources, smart cities, e-services, e-businesses and e-markets.

China has underscored the need for Digital Silk Road in its March 2015 White Paper that illustrated BRI’s digital vision. It took stock of laying down cross-border optical cables and expansion of communications networks to create an ‘Information Silk Road’. In the recent Belt and Road Forum held in May 2017, joint communiqué called for digital connectivity for BRI countries including Pakistan in a bid to revamp e-commerce, digital economy, smart cities and science and technology parks’ under bilateral, triangular, regional and multilateral cooperation frameworks.

Guo Huadong, an academician at the Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, touted Information Silk Road as a digital version of the Belt and Road Initiative.

In my perspective, Pakistan is all set to benefit this e-initiative programmed to be implemented in phases. Digital Silk Road will strive to establish supportive infrastructure, employment of personnel, and striking partnership deals among countries within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative. It will construct data collection and sharing mechanisms in the cyberworld to achieve sustainable development goals. Exploiting satellite technology to monitor weather, land use practices, urban settlements and natural resources management, CPEC will be well equipped to cope with social, economic and environmental challenges, such as ecological disasters like droughts and floods.

As BRI aims to lay down the network of highways, railways, seaways, airways, bridges and ports, the Digital Silk Road along the CPEC route will develop cyber-ways and internet highway infrastructure


In pursuing the project of Digital Silk Road, some progress is already in sight along the BRI countries. In Africa, Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei has joined the ExIm Bank of China to impart technical expertise and invest $1 billion to hike internet connectivity in Cameroon, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Togo, and Niger. In Uganda, Huawei rolled out its ‘Seeds for the Future’ program to send talented college students to China for ICT training.

In Bangladesh, the Xi Jinping administration vowed to invest in the Sarker-3 project to initiate a public network linking government agencies and the MoTN project to improve telecommunications affordability and density. Huawei, the biggest telecommunications and network equipment and services providers in China, has also joined the game, generating around 55 percent of total revenue from its overseas businesses. Companies like Huawei have set sights on CPEC to roar its e-business.

Meanwhile, China and Russia have teamed up to build overland cable links between Asia and Europe, including the world’s longest Trans-Europe Asia cable link. Other projects include the Europe-Russia-Mongolia-China network, the Trans Eurasian Information Superhighway and the Diverse Route for European and Asian Markets.

CPEC’s digital silk road will also develop a ‘space-based Silk Road’ by deepening cooperation in satellite services with BRI countries. A space policy paper prepared by the State Council Information Office in 2016 denotes how China envisions setting up Space Information Corridor along the BRI routes especially CPEC in the next five years. Beidou satellite network, providing digital information for the roads, railways, ports and industrial parks, may come into action on a limited scale in other Belt and Road countries by 2018.

Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma during an International Economic Forum in Russia asserted that ‘the most important region for his company is OBOR places like CPEC. In 2016, Alibaba acquired Lazada, a big e-commerce firm in Southeast Asia. Earlier in 2017, the company teamed up with the Malaysian government to create the first Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) by 2019. Mr Ma mentioned on a Forum “we should transfer the silk road to an e-road’. Bearing in mind China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), flagship project of BRI, Alibaba signed a MoU with Pakistan to potentially lead to an investment of approximately $400 million in Pakistan’s e-commerce sector.

I believe that the physical and digital highways laced with technologies on CPEC may be capitalized to optimum level only if public and private sectors are trained on how to operate online.

Source: Daily Times, 7th Dec 2017.