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Joint Statement for the visit of the Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

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On the kind invitation, extended by His Royal Highness, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, the Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, His Excellency Mr. Imran Khan paid an official visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on 7-9 May 2021, corresponding to 25-27 Ramadan 1442/AH. His Royal Highness, the Crown Prince, warmly welcomed the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

2.The two leaders reaffirmed the historical and fraternal ties between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, reviewed all facets of bilateral cooperation and discussed regional and international issues of mutual interest. The two sides discussed ways to strengthen relations of the two brotherly countries in all fields, and agreed to intensify contacts and cooperation between government officials and the private sector in the two countries with the aim of promoting bilateral relations to the benefit of both countries.

3.His Excellency Prime Minister Imran Khan praised the leadership role of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in promoting Islamic unity, and the positive role of the Kingdom in resolving the issues facing the Islamic world, as well as its endeavours for regional and international peace and security.

4.The Prime Minister recalled his visits to the Kingdom in 2018 and 2019, as well as the historic visit of His Royal Highness, the Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defence to Pakistan in February 2019, during which the two leaders jointly announced the launch of the Saudi-Pakistan Supreme Coordination Council, to further enhance bilateral cooperation based on mutual trust, benefits and common interests of the two countries. The Crown Prince assured the Prime Minister of the Kingdom’s continued support to Prime Minister’s vision to transform Pakistan into a modern developed and welfare state.

5.The two sides discussed ways to strengthen and enhance economic and trade relations by exploring areas of investment and opportunities available in light of the Kingdom’s 2030 vision and Pakistan’s development priorities emanating from a shift from geo-politics to geo-economics. The discussions also focused on increasing cooperation in other fields, including energy, science, technology, agriculture and culture. Both sides expressed satisfaction at existing cooperation in bilateral military and security relations, and agreed to further augment collaboration and cooperation to achieve mutually agreed goals.

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6.The two leaders also discussed issues pertaining to the Islamic world. They stressed the need for concerted efforts by the Muslim countries to confront extremism and violence, reject sectarianism, and strive to achieve international peace and security. They also stressed the importance of continuing joint efforts to combat terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations. They reaffirmed that terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization, or ethnic group.

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7.In the constructive spirit of discussions, the two sides reaffirmed their full support for all the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, especially, their right to self determination and establishment of their independent state with pre-1967 borders and East Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative and relevant UN resolutions. They also expressed their support for political solutions in Syria and Libya, as well as the efforts of the United Nations and its envoys in this regard.

8.The two sides also stressed the importance of supporting efforts to reach a comprehensive political solution to the conflict in Yemen based on the Gulf Initiative and its implementation mechanism, the outcomes of the comprehensive national dialogue, and the relevant Security Council resolutions, including Resolution (2216). They condemned the attacks of terrorist groups and militias, including Houthi militias, by ballistic missiles and drones on the territory of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia against vital installations and civilian objects. They expressed serious concern at the threats posed to the security of oil exports and the stability of energy supplies, which was vital for the progress and development of the region and its peoples. The Prime Minister praised the role of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the resolution of crisis in Yemen which aims at achieving peace and security in Yemen which will result in prosperity and development of the region and its people.

9.Discussing the situation in Afghanistan, the Crown Prince acknowledged Pakistan’s facilitative role in the Afghan peace process. The two sides, underlining that an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement is the only way forward, urged the Afghan parties to realize the historic opportunity for achieving a political settlement in Afghanistan. The two leaders agreed to continue mutual consultations on the Afghan peace process.

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10.Pakistan and Saudi Arabia agreed to continue supporting each other at multilateral fora. They agreed to further deepen coordination and cooperation to safeguard mutual interests and uphold the principles of fairness and justice. The two sides also stressed the importance of the commitment by all States to the United Nations Charter, the principles and decisions of international legitimacy, as well as adherence to the principles of good neighbourly relations, respect for the unity and sovereignty of states, non-interference in their internal affairs, and the endeavour to resolve disputes by peaceful means.

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11.His Royal Highness, the Crown Prince, welcomed the recent understanding reached between the military authorities of Pakistan and India regarding ceasefire at the Line of Control (LoC), which is based on a 2003 understanding between Pakistan and India. The two sides emphasized the importance of dialogue between Pakistan and India to resolve the outstanding issues between the two countries, especially Jammu and Kashmir dispute, to ensure peace and stability in the region.

12.The Prime Minister congratulated the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for successfully organizing and holding the G20 summit meetings and the positive decisions that resulted from it in economic, developmental, environmental, health, energy and other fields.

13.Acknowledging the leading role of the Kingdom in addressing international issues, in particular the challenge posed by climate change, the Prime Minister welcomed “the Saudi Green and Middle East Green Initiatives” launched by His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and hoped that the initiatives will have a positive impact on the region, its inhabitants and beyond. The Crown Prince appreciated the Prime Minister’s “Clean and Green Pakistan” initiative, as well as the successful “10 Billion Tree Tsunami” initiative.

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14.The Prime Minister appreciated the efforts of the Kingdom and its leadership in serving the Two Holy Mosques, their pilgrims, Umrah performers and visitors, especially in organizing the Hajj season for the past year 1441 AH, despite the challenges posed by the Corona pandemic.

15.In order to further strengthen and diversify bilateral relations, the following agreements and Memoranda of Understanding were signed; i. Agreement on Establishment of Saudi-Pakistan Supreme Coordination Council (SPSCC); ii. MoU in Combating Illicit Traffic in Narcotics, Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Presursor Chemicals; iii. Framework MoU between SFD and Islamic Republic of Pakistan for financing projects in Energy, Hydropower Generation, Infrastructure, Transport & Communication and Water Resource Development; iiii. Cooperation Agreement in the Field of Combating Crimes; and v. Agreement on Transfer of Convicted Prisoners.

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16.The Prime Minister expressed gratitude and offered his best wishes to His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, and the brotherly people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. His Royal Highness the Crown Prince warmly reciprocated with best wishes for the health and wellbeing of the Prime Minister, and prayers for the progress and prosperity of the brotherly people of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

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Business

China’s Metaverse Working Group: A Step Towards Global Technology Leadership

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Introduction

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has established a working group consisting of 60 experts, including those from the private sector as well as government officials and academic researchers. The group is tasked with building, maintaining, and promoting metaverse industry standards. The metaverse is a virtual three-dimensional world accessible to users through the internet. It is a place where people can interact with each other in a virtual environment, and it is expected to be the next big thing in the tech industry.

China’s Bid to Become a Global Technology Leader

China’s move to convene Huawei, Tencent, Baidu, and other tech giants to draft metaverse standards is a clear indication of the country’s ambition to become a global technology leader. The newly formed working group is expected to streamline growth and eliminate redundancy in the industry.

The Role of the Working Group

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The working group consists of 60 experts, including representatives from telecoms equipment giant Huawei Technologies, video gaming titans Tencent Holdings and NetEase, web search and artificial intelligence champion Baidu, financial technology firm Ant Group, and computer maker Lenovo Group. Other members include MIIT officials and researchers from Peking University, Fudan University, and other renowned institutions in the country. The group is tasked with building, maintaining, and promoting metaverse industry standards, and it is expected to streamline growth and eliminate redundancy in the industry. The group will also focus on domestic standards and encourage local companies and institutions to deeply engage in international standard-setting activities.

Implications of the Working Group

The establishment of the working group is a significant move by China to shape the future of the metaverse industry. The working group’s efforts to build, maintain, and promote metaverse industry standards will streamline growth and eliminate redundancy in the industry, which will benefit both consumers and businesses. The metaverse is expected to be the next big thing in the tech industry, and China’s move to shape the future of the industry is a significant step towards achieving its goal.

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In-Depth Analysis

The metaverse is a virtual world that is accessible to users through the internet. It is a place where people can interact with each other in a virtual environment, and it is expected to be the next big thing in the tech industry. The metaverse is a loosely defined term that refers to a virtual world that is accessible to users through the internet. It is a place where people can interact with each other in a virtual environment, and it is expected to be the next big thing in the tech industry.

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China’s move to convene Huawei, Tencent, Baidu, and other tech giants to draft metaverse standards is a clear indication of the country’s ambition to become a global technology leader. The newly formed working group is expected to streamline growth and eliminate redundancy in the industry. The metaverse is expected to be the next big thing in the tech industry, and China’s move to shape the future of the industry is a significant step towards achieving its goal.

The working group consists of 60 experts, including representatives from telecoms equipment giant Huawei Technologies, video gaming titans Tencent Holdings and NetEase, web search and artificial intelligence champion Baidu, financial technology firm Ant Group, and computer maker Lenovo Group. Other members include MIIT officials and researchers from Peking University, Fudan University, and other renowned institutions in the country. The group is tasked with building, maintaining, and promoting metaverse industry standards, and it is expected to streamline growth and eliminate redundancy in the industry. The group will also focus on domestic standards and encourage local companies and institutions to deeply engage in international standard-setting activities.

ALSO READ:   What is the future of education?

The establishment of the working group is a significant move by China to shape the future of the metaverse industry. The working group’s efforts to build, maintain, and promote metaverse industry standards will streamline growth and eliminate redundancy in the industry, which will benefit both consumers and businesses. The metaverse is expected to be the next big thing in the tech industry, and China’s move to shape the future of the industry is a significant step towards achieving its goal.

Conclusion

China’s move to convene Huawei, Tencent, Baidu, and other tech giants to draft metaverse standards is a clear indication of the country’s ambition to become a global technology leader. The newly formed working group is expected to streamline growth and eliminate redundancy in the industry. The metaverse is expected to be the next big thing in the tech industry, and China’s move to shape the future of the industry is a significant step towards achieving its goal.

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A Bull Market Beckons: Can One Index Fund Really Build You a Million-Dollar Portfolio?

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The whispers are growing louder: a bull market is on the horizon. After a rocky 2023, financial experts are cautiously optimistic about the future of the stock market. Headlines herald the potential for significant gains, leaving investors wondering: is it time to jump back in, and if so, how?

One alluring narrative gaining traction suggests that with the right index fund, even small, consistent investments can snowball into substantial wealth over time. The prospect is enticing, particularly for those picturing a $300 weekly contribution ballooning into a cool $915,600 in three decades. But before diving headfirst into this alluring vision, let’s unpack the claims and explore the realities of potentially riding the next bull market wave with an index fund.

The Allure of Index Funds: Spreading Your Bets for Steady Growth

Index funds offer a powerful tool for passive investors seeking long-term growth. These diversified baskets track specific market indices, mimicking their performance without the burden of individual stock selection. This broad exposure offers inherent advantages:

  • Reduced Risk: Index funds spread your investment across numerous companies, mitigating the impact of individual stock fluctuations. You’re not hitching your wagon to a single star, but rather the entire constellation.
  • Lower Fees: Compared to actively managed funds, index funds typically boast lower fees, translating to higher returns for investors.
  • Convenience and Simplicity: Index funds require minimal research and maintenance, making them ideal for busy individuals seeking long-term portfolio growth.

The Case for Optimism: Why a Bull Market Might Be Brewing

Several factors contribute to the current murmurs of a potential bull market:

  • Ebbing Inflation: While inflation remains a concern, recent trends suggest its peak may have passed. Central banks’ interest rate hikes are starting to bite, and energy prices have stabilized. This easing of inflationary pressures could pave the way for economic recovery and renewed investor confidence.
  • Strong Corporate Earnings: Despite market volatility, many companies continue to report healthy profits. Robust corporate performance could fuel positive sentiment and drive market gains.
  • Historical Trends: Historically, bull markets occur after periods of correction. The recent market downturn could be setting the stage for a strong rebound, particularly with valuations now looking more attractive.
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A Million-Dollar Dream: Realistic Expectations with Index Funds

The claim of $300 per week transforming into $915,600 over three decades, while theoretically possible, warrants healthy scepticism. Here’s why:

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  • Compounding Magic: The headline relies heavily on the power of compound interest, assuming a consistent 12% annual return over 30 years. While past performance can offer guidance, future returns are never guaranteed. Market fluctuations and unforeseen events can significantly impact performance.
  • Tax Considerations: The projected figures often don’t factor in taxes, which can eat into your returns. Depending on your tax bracket and the type of account you invest in, your final nest egg might be lower than projected.
  • Time is Key: Achieving such long-term gains requires immense patience and discipline. Sticking to your investment plan through market ups and downs is crucial. Panic selling during downturns can derail your long-term goals.

Choosing the Right Index Fund: Steering Your Bull Ride

While a single index fund cannot guarantee a million-dollar portfolio, understanding your risk tolerance and choosing the right fund can significantly enhance your chances of success. Consider these factors:

  • Investment goals: What is your desired end game? Early retirement, a child’s education, or simply wealth accumulation? Align your investment choices with your long-term financial objectives.
  • Risk tolerance: How comfortable are you with market volatility? Opt for broad-based, less volatile funds if you’re risk-averse, while more adventurous investors can explore sector-specific or growth-oriented funds.
  • Fees: Look for index funds with minimal expense ratios to maximize your returns.

Beyond the Hype: Building a Well-Rounded Portfolio

While index funds are a valuable tool, relying solely on one for your entire portfolio isn’t prudent. Consider these diversification strategies:

  • Asset Allocation: Allocate your investments across different asset classes like stocks, bonds, and real estate to mitigate risk and capture potential growth in different market segments.
  • Rebalancing: Periodically review and adjust your portfolio to maintain your desired asset allocation and account for market changes.
  • Seeking Professional Guidance: For complex financial planning or risk management, consulting a qualified financial advisor can be invaluable.

Remember, the million-dollar dream touted in headlines is just that – a dream. While index funds offer excellent potential for long-term wealth building, focusing solely on that end goal can obscure the true essence of successful investing: consistency and patience. Here’s how to approach your investment journey with realistic expectations and maximize your chances of success:

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Start Small, Dream Big: Don’t let the $300 per week figure intimidate you. Even smaller, regular investments can snowball over time. Begin with an amount you’re comfortable with and gradually increase your contributions as your income and confidence grow. Remember, consistency is key. A steady stream of investments, even if modest, will compound and generate significant returns over the long term.

Embrace the Compound Effect: Compound interest is your friend. The earlier you start investing, the more time your money has to grow exponentially. Even a seemingly small monthly investment can generate impressive returns over decades. Remember, Albert Einstein called compound interest the “eighth wonder of the world.” Use online calculators or investment tools to visualize the potential growth of your investments over time.

Focus on the Process, Not the Prize: Obsessing over achieving a specific dollar amount can lead to poor investment decisions driven by emotions rather than logic. Instead, focus on the process of building a well-diversified, low-cost portfolio aligned with your risk tolerance and long-term goals. Regularly review your investment strategy, rebalance your portfolio as needed, and stay disciplined through market fluctuations.

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Seek Knowledge, Not Shortcuts: Remember, the million-dollar dream is just a marketing tactic. True financial success requires knowledge and sound decision-making. Educate yourself about investing principles, asset classes, and market dynamics. Read books, listen to podcasts, and attend investment seminars to equip yourself with the tools to navigate the financial landscape. Remember, knowledge is power, and the more you understand your investments, the more confident you’ll be in your decisions.

Seek Out Support, When Needed: Investing can be daunting, especially for beginners. Don’t hesitate to seek professional guidance from a qualified financial advisor who can assess your circumstances, recommend suitable investment strategies, and help you navigate complex financial decisions. Remember, a good advisor can be a valuable partner in your investment journey, providing personalized advice and helping you avoid costly mistakes.

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Celebrate the Wins and learn from the Losses: The market will inevitably have its ups and downs. Don’t get discouraged by short-term losses, as they are part of the journey. Instead, see them as learning opportunities. Analyze your mistakes, adjust your strategy if needed, and stay invested for the long haul. Remember, history has shown that over time, the stock market has consistently rewarded patient investors.

Investing is a Personal Journey: Ultimately, your investment journey is unique. What works for one person might not be ideal for another. Take the time to understand your risk tolerance, financial goals, and investment timeline. Research different options, seek advice when needed, and most importantly, stay disciplined and consistent. Remember, the power of time and compound interest is on your side. Embrace the process, learn from your experiences, and enjoy the thrill of building a thriving portfolio that secures your financial future.

The million-dollar dream might not be a guaranteed outcome, but by focusing on the fundamentals of smart investing, building a diversified portfolio, and embracing the power of time and consistency, you can significantly increase your chances of achieving financial success and securing a brighter future for yourself and your loved ones.

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So, while the headlines may entice you with the allure of a quick fortune, remember, that sustainable wealth building is a marathon, not a sprint. Take the first step, stay invested, and let the power of compound interest work its magic over time. The road to financial freedom might not be paved with shortcuts, but by embracing the journey and making informed decisions, you can reach your destination and build a portfolio that thrives well beyond the next bull market.

I hope this continuation provides a more comprehensive and realistic perspective on investing and building a successful portfolio. Remember, financial wellness is a journey, and with the right approach and mindset, you can achieve your financial goals and secure a brighter future.

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SoftBank’s Son Piles on Debt, Fueling Controversy Around Lavish Silicon Valley Mansion

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Masayoshi Son, the flamboyant founder and CEO of Japanese tech giant SoftBank, has once again raised eyebrows with his financial manoeuvres. This time, it’s not a risky investment in a fledgling startup but a hefty $92 million loan secured on his controversial Silicon Valley mansion, further fueling the flames of debate surrounding the extravagant property.

A Monument to Excess: The Woodside Estate

Located in Woodside, California, the sprawling 86-acre estate, nicknamed “Taj Mahal of Tech,” is indeed a sight to behold. Designed by renowned architect Norman Foster, the property boasts 12 bedrooms, a bowling alley, a movie theatre, and a vineyard. Son reportedly purchased the estate in 2012 for a then-record $117 million, sparking criticism for its opulence amidst growing income inequality.

Debt-Fueled Acquisition: Raising Eyebrows in the Market

While the initial purchase raised questions about Son’s priorities, the recent loan has ignited fresh concerns. The $92 million loan, secured against the property, comes at a time when SoftBank itself has been facing financial challenges. The Vision Fund, its flagship venture capital arm, has suffered steep losses due to poor-performing investments in companies like WeWork.

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Analysts and commentators raised concerns about the wisdom of piling on more debt when the core business is facing headwinds. Some suspect the loan could be a way for Son to access liquidity for personal investments or potentially shore up financial vulnerabilities within SoftBank itself.

Key Takeaways:

  • SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son secured a $92 million loan on his controversial Silicon Valley mansion, raising concerns about the company’s finances and Son’s personal priorities.
  • The “Taj Mahal of Tech” estate has been embroiled in controversy due to its opulence and ongoing development battles with local residents.
  • This episode reflects a broader tension between SoftBank’s global image and Son’s personal brand, raising questions about tech billionaires and their impact on society.
  • The future of the Woodside estate remains uncertain, but the saga serves as a reminder of the need for responsible use of wealth and a balanced approach to economic growth.
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Local Controversy: Zoning Battles and Environmental Concerns

Adding fuel to the fire is the ongoing controversy surrounding the estate’s development. Son’s attempts to expand the property and build additional structures have met with fierce opposition from residents. Concerns range from environmental impact to concerns that the estate’s scale and exclusivity undermine the character of the community.

A Tale of Two Cities: SoftBank’s Global Image and Son’s Personal Brand

This latest episode reflects a broader tension between SoftBank’s global image and Son’s brand. Son is known for his bold bets and extravagant lifestyle, which has endeared him to some as a visionary leader but alienated others who find it ostentatious and out of touch.

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In Japan, where SoftBank is seen as a national champion, Son’s ventures are often viewed with more tolerance. However, in the eyes of the international community, particularly in the wake of SoftBank’s recent struggles, the Woodside estate saga can be seen as emblematic of an out-of-control corporation led by a charismatic but reckless leader.

Uncertain Future for the Taj Mahal of Tech

The future of the Woodside estate remains uncertain. The legal battles over zoning and environmental concerns continue, and the looming shadow of SoftBank’s financial challenges adds another layer of complexity. Whether the “Taj Mahal of Tech” will ever be completed as envisioned, or whether it will become a monument to an era of excess, remains to be seen.

Beyond the Son Saga: Lessons for Tech Billionaires and Society

The SoftBank and Son saga raises important questions about the responsible use of wealth and the impact of tech billionaires on society. It highlights the need for a more balanced approach to economic growth, one that addresses both individual ambition and collective well-being.

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As technology giants wield increasingly vast resources, the choices they make and the values they represent will have a profound impact on the world we live in. The story of SoftBank’s Silicon Valley mansion serves as a reminder that even in the realm of tech titans, there is no escaping the scrutiny of public opinion and the need for responsible stewardship of wealth and power.

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