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APICTA SUSPENDS BASIS IT ASSOCIATION FOR 2 YEARS

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Asia Pacific ICT Alliance (APICTA) Executive Committee (EXCO) has suspended BASIS IT Association for 2 years due to the lack of cooperation,noncompliance to the clear directive of the EXCO regarding the requirement for participants to attend in person and the disruption caused due to their late stage withdrawal of the APICTA Awards program held December 7 – 11, 2022 in Islamabad, Pakistan.
APICTA was not immune to the global impact of COVID-19 and as a result no in-person
APICTA events were held in 2020 and 2021. A joint virtual award program was held for the
very first time for these two years. On March 30, 2022, Pakistan won the bid to host
APICTA Awards in Islamabad and following key decisions were made at the APICTA EXCO
committee meeting:

  1. Ratified that the APICTA event for 2022 in Islamabad be held physically.
  2. If by the event date (December 7 to 11, 2022) a member economy had governmentimposed
    travel restrictions due to COVID-19, all participants from that member economy
    could opt to attend virtually.
  3. As for the Primary and Secondary Student category, it was made known to all member
    economies that the students could participate virtually or physically.
  4. With this context several meetings were held including a crucial meeting on November 8,
    2022, where Bangladesh was represented by BASIS.
    At the meeting, the host economy, Pakistan, through P@SHA, the organiser of APICTA
    2022, together with APICTA EXCO, offered the following to each economy:
    a) Visa applications made through P@SHA for all participants from every economy to ease
    the burden of applying directly, if they wish to.
    b) Assistance where required from any government department or relevant diplomatic
    channel to ease in the process of visa application.
    c) Subsidies including discounts for lodging for all judges travelling from various
    economies and in some instances, airline fare discounts.

Chairman APICTA, Mr. Stan Singh said, “despite all of this, Bangladesh through BASIS did
not take advantage to explore this opportunity so that all judges and participants who were
registered to attend could travel with ease and economically to Islamabad.”
On November 19, 2022, APICTA Secretariat received a letter from BASIS expressing in the
letter that they were still “waiting” for APICTA EXCO’s response on their request to attend
virtually. However, the APICTA EXCO were confused over this strange and lapsed request
as the matter was resolved at the November 8, 2022 meeting, but nevertheless APICTA
EXCO responded soonest on November 20, 2022 expressing to BASIS that there was no
actions or decisions pending from APICTA EXCO and that it was not only made clear at the
November 8 meeting of the decision, but reiterated the decision in that, unless there was
any travel restrictions due to COVID-19, all participants (excluding students) must attend in
person.
BASIS was also offered additional time to register entries, even though the entry date into
the judging system was already closed. Despite all of the support that was offered, there
was no response from BASIS after the email which was sent from APICTA EXCO on
November 20, 2022.
On November 21 & 22, 2022, the APICTA Secretariat with P@SHA, wrote to every
participant from all economies respectively, informing them that unless their economy still
had travel restrictions due to COVID-19, that physical attendance was mandatory. In the
same correspondence, it was reiterated that Primary and Secondary Students Categories
could participate virtually. In the days leading up to the Awards, some of the participants
from Bangladesh were actually applying for Pakistan visas and making travel plans to
Islamabad. However, they informed P@SHA that BASIS requested them not to attend
physically but rather virtually because APICTA EXCO had agreed for Bangladesh to do so.
said, “once judging schedules and other logistics were finalised, Bangladesh withdrew completely on the eve of the event from the awards program, without giving any notice whatsoever and silently, which caused chaos and wreaked havoc in the scheduling causing the host economy to re-schedule the entire program, and this was against the harmony of APICTA.”
Mr. Singh continued to say, “this action taken by Bangladesh was reckless, unacceptable,
and untenable to APICTA EXCO and against the spirit of APICTA. The actions from BASIS
has never happened in the history of APICTA and we were all profoundly upset over this
matter. At the APICTA EXCO meeting in Islamabad, this matter was discussed and every
EXCO member at that meeting felt such action taken by BASIS was truly reckless,
unacceptable and a decision was taken to give BASIS the opportunity to explain their
actions. The response from BASIS was assigned to an APICTA EXCO sub-committee
ONLY to investigate the facts and carry out due diligence on the matter. The sub-committee
shared their findings and recommendations to the APICTA EXCO who then unanimously
decided to suspend BASIS as a member of APICTA for a period of two (2) years. In
addition, in the past we never had any issues arising with any of the BASIS leadership”
In addition, APICTA EXCO is compelled to address and clarify some of the statements
which have been circulating in the public domain:
i. Nepal had requested a leave of absence for a period from APICTA following a major
earthquake and the APICTA EXCO accepted their request and will welcome them back
when they are ready to do so and APICTA wishes them well.
ii. APICTA welcomes any new member economies, and several economies within and
outside the Asia Pacific region have shown keen interest in APICTA membership. The
EXCO reviews each application on a case-to-case basis.
iii. The core APICTA goals and objectives are always maintained – that is, promoting
growth in every member economy and providing them with every opportunity to
showcase the best examples of ICT innovations in government, businesses, community,
and individuals alike.
Over the last few years, APICTA has introduced other elements to the eco-system of
APICTA by adding initiatives like Business Matchmaking, Students Exchange, Startups
Networking etc. In addition, enabling all participants to experience the culture of the host
economy via wonderful social and tourism opportunities whilst providing and facilitating
networking and business opportunities for them, and as the technology landscape changes,
APICTA will continue in its endeavour to make changes to add to the value chain.

Mr. Inserra concluded by saying, “since its inception, every economy has had the
opportunity to host the APICTA event and Bangladesh did so successfully in 2017. It is
important to note that this suspension does not apply to participants from Bangladesh,
whom we strongly felt were deprived the opportunity in Islamabad. As such they shall have
the same opportunity to participate in the upcoming APICTA Awards 2023 & 2024. APICTA
requires that all entries must come through a representative body of the member economy.
Since BASIS, as the incumbent member body representative is suspended, we will explore
other options with the assistance of the IT Ministry to ensure active participation from
Bangladeshi students, startups, IT companies and experienced category judges.”
APICTA will not be making any further comments regarding this matter

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Banglalink’s Parent Company VEON Achieves ‘AA’ ESG Rating

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VEON, a leading global digital operator, and parent company of Banglalink, has been upgraded to an ‘AA’ Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) rating by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI).

MSCI provides critical decision support tools and services for the global investment community. 

Banglalink, alongside other VEON operators across the world, has positively contributed to the overall rating through its commitment to fostering a sustainable and digitally inclusive future.

In Bangladesh, the commitment to the “4G for all” initiative has been transformative, empowering communities with access to innovative digital services in line with the government’s Smart Bangladesh vision. 

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In alignment with its ESG agenda, Banglalink aims to increase its female customer base by three percent, reaching 29 percent by 2026. This goal was formally announced in collaboration with the GSMA’s Connected Women initiative at the recently concluded Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. 

Additionally, Banglalink will continue to impact millions of lives through its awareness and educational activities via its unique digital platforms, such as the MyBL Super App and Toffee. Currently, the MyBL SuperApp, the country’s first telco super app, has over eight million monthly active users. 

Furthermore, Banglalink has recently upgraded its network with modern and sustainable technologies that not only emit fewer carbon emissions but also align with environmentally friendly practices.

This achievement underscores VEON’s commitment to fostering employee engagement and satisfaction. VEON Group CEO, Kaan Terzioglu, has expressed pride in the company’s employee management, which boasts an above-industry-average score. 

At the heart of VEON’s success across its six markets, serving 160 million customers, is its strategic focus on integrating and implementing practices that generate a positive societal impact, uphold ethical governance standards, and contribute to environmental stewardship.

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Erik Aas, CEO of Banglalink, remarked, Erik Aas, CEO of Banglalink, remarked, “The ‘AA’ rating of VEON has not only underscored Banglalink’s dedication to the ‘4G for all’ initiative but has also been a transformative force in enabling community access to innovative digital services. Our digital operator strategy and ESG agenda have had a positive impact on both social and environmental fronts, with a keen focus on fostering an inclusive workplace, driving initiatives for diversity and inclusion, and championing environmental sustainability.”

This achievement places VEON in the esteemed ‘Leaders’ category among 131 telecommunication services companies globally, underscoring its unwavering commitment to sustainable and ethical business practices.

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ITU’s AI for Good Global Summit 2024 puts tech to the test for people and planet

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​​​​​​​​Global leaders and innovators in artificial intelligence (AI) will join the humanitarian community at the AI for Good Global Summit 2024 in Geneva, Switzerland on 30-31 May to explore how new technology can drive sustainable development. 

This year’s edition of the AI for Good summit event will showcase innovations in generative AI, robotics,​ and brain-machine interfaces that can accelerate progress in areas such as climate action, accessibility, health, and disaster response. 

Summit speakers, including some of the world’s foremost AI luminaries, will explore the latest breakthroughs in AI and examine actions to ensure that AI works to humanity’s benefit. 

“ITU’s annual AI for Good Global Summit brings together a diverse set of voices to look at the latest AI developments and find ways to ensure this technology remains a force for good, driving inclusive growth and sustainable and equitable progress for all,” said ITU Secretary-General Doreen Bogdan-Martin. “This summit and our year-round AI for Good platform are powerful tools for accelerating progress in our race to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.”

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​On 29 May, discussions dedicated to AI governance will explore the surge in global efforts to craft AI policy, regulation, and governance frameworks. AI Governance Day – bringing together representatives of governments, companies, academia, civil society, and UN agencies – aims to forge pathways to transform dialogue around AI governance into impactful action.

​The UN platform for AI powered by ITU

AI for Good identifies practical applications of AI to accelerate progress toward the UN Sustainable Development Goals and connects AI innovators with public and private-sector decision-makers to help scale up AI solutions globally.

ITU, the UN specialized agency for information and communication technologies, organizes the yearly AI for Good Global Summit together with 40 partner UN agencies. The event is co-convened by the Government of Switzerland.  

AI for Good discussions foster international cooperation and innovation to create equitable access to new technologies. The discussions support ITU in spurring timely policy exchanges, developing best practices and technical standards, and catalysing partnerships for AI solutions to contribute to sustainable development. 

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Thought leaders and thought-controlled machines 

In addition to talks by AI thought leaders, this year’s summit will host machine learning masterclasses, curated by experts for experts, covering topics from deepfakes and climate change to brain-machine interfaces, AI for public services, explainable AI, and machine learning in communication networks.

Start-ups, young people and creatives will demonstrate their ideas at the AI for Good Innovation Factory Grand FinaleRobotics for Good Youth Challenge, and Canvas of the Future art contest

The summit’s exhibition space will feature an array of cutting-edge demos, including AI for accessibility, collective drone swarms, bio-inspired rescue robots, a RoboCup robot football tournament, performance-boosting exoskeletons, and AI-inspired art.

Exhibition highlights will include demos of brain-machine interfaces – an AI advancement that promises to open new frontiers for neurotechnology. A press conference on brain-machine interfaces will highlight new technologies enabling mind-controlled movement and communication for persons with disabilities, offering insights on how progress in the field could impact the future of human performance, mental health, and wellbeing. 

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The 2024 edition of the summit comes in conjunction with the WSIS+20 Forum High-Level Event. The World Summit on Information Society event brings together the world’s digital development community to discuss concrete actions to advance sustainable development. 

The AI for Good Global Summit will take place at the International Conference Centre Geneva (CICG)

Registration for media accreditation for reporters wishing to cover the AI for Good Global Summit is open. Registration for the public​ is also open and is free of charge. Registrants can attend either in person or online to connect with an expected 2,500 participants in Geneva and over 25,000 professionals worldwide who are part of the AI for Good Neural Network. Capacity is limited and early registration is encouraged.  Confirmed speakers include:   ​

  • Doreen Bogdan-Martin – ITU Secretary-General
  • Geoffrey Hinton – Advisor for the Learning in Machines & Brains, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (presenting remotely)
  • Sam Altman – CEO, OpenAI (presenting remotely)
  • HRH Princess Beatrice – United Kingdom
  • Abeba Birhane – Senior Fellow in Trustworthy AI, Mozilla Foundation, Time 100 AI 
  • Stuart Russell – Professor of Computer Science at University of California, Berkeley, and author of “Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control”
  • Daron Acemoglu – Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and New York Times bestselling author of “Why Nations Fail: Power, Prosperity, and Poverty”
  • Gary Marcus – Scientist, best-selling author, and serial entrepreneur, New York University
  • Nicholas Thompson – CEO, The Atlantic
  • Fatmah Baothman – CEO, Alothaim Investment AI and R&D Company
  • Vincent Vanhoucke – Senior Director of Robotics, Google DeepMind 
  • Mo Gawdat – Former Chief Business Officer at Google X, and best-selling author of “Scary Smart” and “Solve for Happy”

See all of the AI for Good Global Summit 2024 speakers here.  ​Demos of robots, drones, and brain-machine interfaces include: 

The AI for Good Global Summit 2024 is supported by Immersion4 (Diamond sponsor), DLA Piper (Diamond sponsor), AWS (Gold sponsor), Alibaba DAMO Academy (Gold sponsor), ZTE (Gold sponsor), and KUKA (Networking sponsor). 

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Future of COMPUTING is Coming – At CES 2024, GIGABYTE to Present Key Innovations and Accelerate AI-empowered and Sustainable Breakthroughs

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Taipei, December 13th, 2023 – GIGABYTE Technology, an IT pioneer whose focus is to advance global industries through cloud and AI computing systems, and elevate user experiences with hardware innovation, is coming to CES with the “Future of COMPUTING” theme which aims to highlight the product performance that enables successes in an AI-empowered and green-conscious era.

GIGABYTE will make its presence with product lineups that fast-track the transformation of the tech landscape. By delivering massive computing resources from the cloud and data centers to the edge and end users, GIGABYTE’s innovative products drive agile operations and faster time-to-insight for businesses and experts in diverse markets, also providing an enjoyable and immersive experience for consumers.

GIGABYTE showcases its all-around expertise with the most powerful AI/HPC servers, advanced cooling solutions, industrial PCs, autonomous vehicle technologies, gaming and creator products. The spectacular exhibits will be held from January 9th to 12th, at Booth #9637, North Hall, Las Vegas Convention Center.

Unlock Endless Possibilities in AI with GIGABYTE’s AI/HPC Servers 

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At CES 2024, GIGABYTE and its subsidiary, Giga Computing, will present the latest AI/HPC server lineup. Incorporating top-notch GPU and accelerators, GIGABYTE offers versatile solutions turbocharging the most demanding AI workloads, such as generative AI, large-scale language model training, metaverse, digital twins, rendering and 3D graphics, showcasing the essential data center solutions for tomorrow’s AI.

GIGABYTE’s server products address diverse IT deployment scenarios. GIGABYTE will exhibit a storage server tailored for large language models, an Arm server for cloud-native deployments, and an edge server optimized for 5G applications. These diverse servers will empower various industries to embrace future opportunities with flexible and pain-free IT upgrades.

The Advanced Cooling Solutions, AIoT, and Automotive Technology Exemplify GIGABYTE’s Well-rounded Expertise

As a leading expert and integrator for advanced cooling solutions, GIGABYTE will exhibit its portfolio of single-phase immersion cooling and direct liquid cooling systems at CES. These solutions exemplify GIGABYTE’s commitment to providing sustainable, energy-efficient data center solutions. GIGABYTE’s solutions are widely trusted by the world’s leading enterprises and institutes including global semiconductor giants, telecom companies, and research centers.

GIGABYTE’s advanced cooling solutions support the latest CPU/GPU technologies from AMD, Intel, and NVIDIA, providing a diverse range of server options suitable for various IT deployment strategies and unlocking the maximum potential of CPUs/GPUs. The optimized server performance is accompanied by reduced energy consumption, providing exceptional sustainability benefits and a favorable total cost of ownership. 

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GIGABYTE’s comprehensive technologies extend the reach of computing power from data centers to connected applications close to end users. Industrial PCs facilitate process automation in manufacturing plants and outdoor signages, delivering top-tier performance under harsh environments. Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and vehicle telematics facilitate a highly intelligent autonomous driving experience. These hardware innovations demonstrate GIGABYTE’s role in facilitating AI-driven digital transformation.

The Gaming and Creator Lineups Push the Frontier of Performance and AestheticsIn addition to enterprise products and solutions, GIGABYTE will showcase an exciting array of computer product lineups, encompassing AORUS, AERO, and GIGABYTE laptops, motherboards, graphics cards, and OLED gaming monitors. Notably, the new flagship AORUS gaming laptops will feature a sleek, revamped design, coupled with powerful performance, a captivating edge-to-edge display, and seamless integration of next-gen AI applications, promising an unparalleled gaming experience. Creators will find delight in the AERO 14 OLED laptop’s professional 2.8K OLED HDR display, featuring world-class color calibration and exclusive AI eyecare technology. Console players will be amazed by the world’s first 48-inch 4K/120Hz OLED monitor and how it delivers a lifelike audio-visual delight. For DIY computer enthusiasts, the motherboards and graphics cards will win their hearts with user-friendly designs and robust performance for resource-intensive features.

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