[Lahore] – 22 March 2024 – Allied Bank, in collaboration with Teamup Ventures, announces the third episode of its series of Fintech Hackathons. Following the success of the first two hackathons that witnessed the emergence of groundbreaking startups, Allied Bank and Teamup Ventures are once again bringing together innovators and entrepreneurs to drive digital transformation in the banking sector.

The Allied Bank Fintech Hackathon will continue its tradition of fostering innovation and collaboration among participants. With a focus on addressing key challenges and opportunities in the Fintech landscape, this year’s hackathon will feature four thematic areas:

  • Innovative Authentication Mechanisms
  • Transforming ‘myABL’ into an ‘Integrated Digital Platform’
  • Integrating Generative Artificial Intelligence to Improve Banking Services & Customer Experience
  • Leveraging SBP’s Raast Payment

The Hackathon will provide participants with a platform to develop and showcase innovative solutions that cater to the evolving needs of customers in the digital age. Allied Bank’s continued efforts to host these hackathons underscores its commitment to driving innovation and delivering exceptional digital experiences to its customers.

Reflecting on the success of the previous Hackathons, Mohsin Mithani, Chief Digital Officer at Allied Bank Limited, commented, The Fintech Hackathon has been instrumental in fostering innovation and nurturing emerging talent in the Fintech ecosystem. Such events provide an excellent opportunity to engage with the broader Fintech community and explore innovative solutions that can drive meaningful change in the banking industry. We look forward to seeing the groundbreaking solutions that participants will develop this year.”

Zouhair Abdul Khaliq, Founder and CEO at Teamup Ventures, echoed similar sentiments, stating, “The Allied Bank Fintech Hackathon has become a flagship event in the fintech community, providing a platform for collaboration, innovation, and entrepreneurship. We are excited to partner with Allied Bank once again and support the next generation of Fintech innovators.”

Applications for the 3rd Allied Bank Fintech Hackathon are now open, and interested participants can register at until 28th April 2024. Problem solvers and innovators from across the country are encouraged to apply, and selected participants will have the opportunity to compete for cash prizes worth a total of PKR 3 million, mentorship opportunities, and potential collaboration with Allied Bank Limited.

For more information about the 3rd Allied Bank Fintech Hackathon, please visit

About Allied Bank Limited: Allied Bank Limited is one of the largest banks in Pakistan, offering a wide range of financial products and services to individuals, corporations, and institutions. With a focus on innovation and digital transformation, Allied Bank is committed to delivering exceptional customer experiences and driving positive change in the banking industry.

About Teamup Ventures: Teamup Ventures is a leading innovation hub and venture builder dedicated to supporting startups and entrepreneurs in the Middle East and South Asia. Through its network of mentors, investors, and corporate partners, Teamup Ventures empowers startups to scale and succeed in today’s competitive market.

Dr. Kiran is a general practitioner who leads multiple health-related campaigns as she pursues her path to specialization. At some stage of life, 1 in 9 Pakistani women has become the patient of breast cancer. In Asia, Pakistan has the highest rate of breast cancer.

The biggest reason for the high prevalence of breast cancer in Pakistan is a lack of awareness which causes a delay in the detection of breast cancer and most women approach hospitals at advanced stages of cancer. Every October is recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, providing a chance to raise awareness for one of the major causes of death from cancer in women. Here, Dr. Kiran discusses risk factors, crucial self-examination techniques, and red flags.

Breast Self-Exam: How to Check for Breast Lumps & Changes

  1. Stand in front of a mirror.
  2. Put your arms down by your sides. Look for any changes in breast shape, breast swelling, dimpling in your skin, or changes in the position of your nipples.
  3. Raise your arms high over your head and look for the same things. Lastly, put your hands on your hips and press firmly to make your chest muscles flex. Look for the same changes again. Be sure to look at both breasts.
  4. Use your right hand to examine your left breast, then vice versa. With the pads of your three middle fingers, press on every part of one breast. Use light pressure, then medium, then firm.
  5. Feel for any lumps, thick spots, or other changes. A circular pattern may help you make sure you hit every spot.
  • Then, press the tissue nearest your armpit. Be sure to check under your areola (the area around your nipple) and then squeeze your nipple to check for discharge.
  • Repeat the steps on the other side.
  • When you lie down, your breast tissue spreads more evenly. This makes it a good position to feel for changes, especially if your breasts are large.
  • Keep in mind that your breast tissue extends to your armpit, collarbone, and top of your abdomen!

How Can I Lower My Risk?

You can do the following things to help lower your breast cancer risk.

  • Keep a healthy weight and exercise regularly.
  • Choose not to drink alcohol, or drink alcohol in moderation.
  • If you are taking hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills, ask your doctor about the risks.
  • Breastfeed your children, if possible.
  • Women between 40 and 44 have the option to start screening with a mammogram every year.
  • Women 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.
  • Women 55 and older can switch to a mammogram every other year, or they can choose to continue yearly mammograms.

Red flags in self-examination include:

  • A hard lump or knot near your underarm.
  • Changes in the way your breasts look or feel.
  • Dimples, puckers, bulges, or ridges on the skin of your breast.
  • A recent change in a nipple to become pushed in (inverted) instead of sticking out.
  • Redness, warmth, swelling, or pain.
  • Itching, scales, sores, or rashes.
  • Bloody nipple discharge.

Breast self-exam, or regularly examining your breasts on your own, can be an important way to find breast cancer early when it’s more likely to be treated. The best time to do a monthly breast self-exam is about 2 to 3 days after your period starts.

By Peter M. Toscano, Ed.D Superintendent, Lahore American School – Lahore, Pakistan

As the great American educator John Dewey said, “…education is not preparation for life but life itself.” These words resonate today when some schools may lose sight of their most essential function: guiding young children to live the best lives they can by reaching their highest potentials. This is especially true during the early years of a child’s life as this is a crucial time for development and growth. During this period children absorb a large amount of information and begin to develop lifelong skills. In order to start children on a path of success during their early years, experts agree that the most critical elements are creating meaningful experiences that connect concepts and skills, guided by the mindful observations of committed, caring educators.

Dewey viewed education through a similar lens as Vygotsky, Piaget and Montessori who all believed that children learn by doing, and envisioned the teacher’s role as one of a guide. To him and many of his contemporaries learning was contextual and hands-on. Play-based discovery was crucial in opening a child’s world and developing a connection to the tasks that require mastery for living in an advanced society.

He also felt that the factory style, cookie-cutter, method of education, where rote memorization and traditional testing dominate and student learning is top-down and monolithic, needed to change. Through the work of Dewey, the idea of “democratizing” education and focusing on individual needs began to take hold in the 1920s. This was the birth of student-centered education in the U.S. and it eventually led to the concept of emergent curriculum, which was rooted in the work of him and his famous contemporaries, during which teachers develop curricula dynamically, based on observing the actions of children and then introduce topics and lessons based on the needs and interests of the children.

Later the Reggio Approach for early years’ learning sprang up after the second World War in the small town of Reggio Emilia in Northern Italy. Its use of “Progettazione,” loosely defined as “planning,” espoused the same basic tenets of emergent curriculum, but added the component of documentation, in which teachers observe and document students’ activities while engaged in exploring. This is later used to determine learning activities, mirroring Dewey’s initial conception.

Most importantly, this ensured that educators’ planning and strategizing occurred almost simultaneously, helping to create a dynamic, student-centered learning environment that was constantly refreshed and driven by the needs and interests of each and all students. With the addition of a strong emphasis on the arts, both performing and visual, students were able to extend their learning and express themselves in various ways, helping to develop a more holistic interpretation of learning.

Subsequently, in order to initiate the vital exploratory component, models for vibrant, “open” learning zones that would give children exposure to various areas of interest started to be tested and would eventually become integrated in many schools worldwide. (The Reggio Approach describes the learning environment as the “third teacher.”) These became a significant piece in enhancing the process of exploring in the early development puzzle.

To my mind the biggest takeaway from these theories of early learning is that students should be active participants in their learning, have numerous activities and chances to explore a rich environment, and be encouraged to develop projects based on personal interests. Teachers should facilitate and guide, documenting students’ interactions, passions, and growth, while embracing their roles as “experts” in helping students make sense of their worlds by stressing the joy of learning and inculcating a strong moral compass to help build positive social/emotional interactions.

These elements merged with a strategic, interlocking structure can help create a vibrant, yet structured environment, that captures the best of emergent curriculum and Reggio-style note-taking by uniting them into a coherent, systematic learning thread. This approach is now being instituted at Lahore American School with the introduction of our Emergent/Experiential Early Years’ Learning Center, the first of its kind in Lahore.

Starting children on the path of bottom up, student centered learning means that we have the ability to instill a style of learning from an early age that is seeded in the theories of some of the greatest educational minds of the 20th century. Adopting this ideology in a student’s early years can develop a way of thinking that offers palpable, life changing benefits to students during their formative, developmental years, while laying the groundwork for deeper learning and creative innovation that will impact students not only through elementary school, but for the rest of their lives.

Dr. Amir Raza is a Pakistani surgeon who graduated from Nishtar Hospital Multan and hails from village Babi in Taunsa. He is trained as a laparoscopic surgeon and treated a woman at London’s Chelsea and Westminster Hospital by using robotic surgery. Robots completed 12 significant tasks in a single day, breaking the previous record.

By using robotic surgery to cure a patient, Dr. Amir Raza paved the way for the treatment of millions of women with endometriosis, a condition that affects fertility.

The most cutting-edge approach to abdominal surgery is called robotic surgery. In this procedure, the doctor controls the instruments from a distance while performing the procedure by creating a hole in the patient’s abdomen. 

Dr. Raza is a well-known endometriosis expert, a condition in which women experience pelvic and menstrual discomfort that seriously impairs their ability to conceive. The illness also has an impact on the intestines, bladder, and nerves in addition to the pelvic organs. Tens of millions of women worldwide struggle with this ailment, which affects them from early adulthood through old age.

 Today, Raza is regarded as one of the top surgeons in the world for complex pelvic diseases and endometriosis. He also oversees a large group of multi-specialty surgeons as the director of the renowned International Centre of Endometriosis at Cromwell Hospital in London. In addition, Raza is the founder and director of the CCMIG Chelsea Centre for Minimal Access Surgery, which runs laparoscopic courses on a national and international scale all over the world. He travels to give laparoscopic gynecology courses in the Middle East, Pakistan, Africa, and Europe.

Speaking to news channels, Dr. Amer Raza said: “Since Covid, our National Health Service (NHS) has been under huge pressure of long waiting times. We have pioneered the most efficient strategic planning to do the most number of operations with the help of robotics in two days. Robotics technology allows a doctor to complete the operation in a shorter time with more safety and accuracy than a conventional approach. I am very excited that we have achieved this landmark and that our efforts will help women of all age groups.’’

“Robotic surgery is now attracting the attention of clinicians and patients alike due to its benefits. The technique will be adopted in hospitals across the world and many robotic systems are being introduced in the health sector. Endometriosis causes debilitating symptoms including chronic pelvic pain, fatigue, and fertility problems. Surgery can help to provide pain relief.”

Dr. Raza said that he and his team developed a care model that scheduled preoperative work, robotic surgery, and postoperative discharge. With robotic surgery, the team can complete the procedure more quickly than with a traditional laparoscopic approach. This allows them to perform more surgeries each day.

“The new technique also causes less blood loss and the recovery period is significantly faster. We were assisted by a team of 20 staff members who worked very efficiently to enable us to do this,” said the British Pakistani doctor.

Dr. Amer Raza said he owes a lot to Pakistan and will be working with doctors and hospitals in Pakistan to introduce robotic technology to help women. “I look forward to working with doctors in Pakistan. Britain has thousands of doctors from Pakistan who are doing great work in the NHS. I am glad that the British press has highlighted my contribution which is a credit to Pakistan,” he said.

According to statistics from the NHS, there are presently 500,000 women in the UK on a waiting list for gynaecology care, and more than 5,000 of them have been on it for longer than 18 months. The NHS has a large backlog of patients, and the only way to handle it is through structure, strategic planning, and advanced robotic surgery.

On Wednesday, it was disclosed to the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that, despite efforts to reduce it, circular debt in the gas sector has increased over the past year.

The committee, which met with Noor Alam Khan as its chairman, also requested information about the benefits given to senior government officials, such as the prime minister, ministers, and judges of the higher court. The petroleum secretary briefed PAC. He told the committee that the circular debt of the petroleum sector was Rs1,200 billion in the last year, which had now risen to Rs1,700 billion.

“A plan has been prepared to get rid of the circular debt of the petroleum sector,” the secretary said. “The Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Energy are working on it,” he added.

It has been decided to swap the institutions’ assets, he added, adding that dues of between Rs300 and Rs400 billion will be paid in place of power plants. Additionally, he claimed that a rise in petrol prices had resulted in a Rs250 billion debt reduction.

The meeting’s chair questioned the secretary about why the PAC’s directive to relax the restriction on new gas connections had not yet been implemented. The summary in this regard was presented to the federal cabinet, but it was rejected, the secretary responded.

Noor Alam Khan ordered that PAC’s recommendations would be sent to the Prime Minister’s Office for the lifting of the ban on gas connections. Khan also directed the gas utilities not to collect the increased meter rent from the gas consumers.

The chair expressed satisfaction with the recent reduction in the prices of petrol and diesel and stressed the need for bringing the prices further down. “It’s [prices of petroleum produce] still too much, the lower it is, the better,” he added.

The committee was also informed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would discuss the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline issue with the US ambassador upon his return from Washington.

The officials gave the PAC an update on the collection of overdue amounts from several oil corporations. Noor, however, informed the officials that the PAC had instructed them to recover the debts and not to engage in negotiations with the businesses.

The committee was informed by the audit officers that as of November 30, 2021, there was Rs. 1,270 billion in circular debt for gas. Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) was not carrying out its directives, according to Auditor General Ajmal Gondal.

A pioneering operation was carried out on an unborn child by a medical team from Boston Children’s Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Recently, an amazing brain operation was performed for the first time in the United States.

Derek and Kenyatta Coleman are from Louisiana. Their pregnancy was considered to be normal before a strange finding was made at their 30-week scan. They were then faced with the decision of whether to treat their unborn child.

Doctors found Baby Denver had a vein of Galen malformation, a rare blood vessel abnormality inside the brain, during a routine ultrasound when she was developing normally inside her mother. With this illness, many infants get heart failure or brain damage and frequently pass away. Denver’s heart was actually having trouble, and the abnormality was growing to hazardous proportions.

So, using ultrasound guidance, an amniocentesis-style needle, and tiny coils placed directly into the abnormal blood vessels to stop blood flow, a team from Boston Children’s and Brigham was able to repair her malformation while she was still inside the uterus at 34 weeks of pregnancy. The procedure was part of an FDA-approved clinical trial.

When type 2 diabetes has progressed to an advanced stage, the pancreas is unable to make adequate insulin. Doctors typically advise daily insulin shots at this period to control blood sugar levels.

But according to research, one of the biggest obstacles preventing people with type 2 diabetes from using insulin is a fear of needles.

Robert Langer, a professor at the Koch Center for Integrative Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, and his colleagues want to make insulin treatment more tolerable by fundamentally altering the way it is administered.

Using microneedles to deliver the drug

The group developed a brand-new pill formulation that consists of a biodegradable capsule that also houses an insulin microneedle. The stomach wall receives a direct injection of insulin when the pill is swallowed. The researchers think that this method of medicine delivery will be painless because the stomach lining lacks any pain receptors.

Scientists first created millimeter-sized microneedles to pierce the skin without inflicting pain. The microneedle used in this investigation had two parts: a compressed insulin-filled tip that pierces the stomach wall and a biodegradable shaft that secures the tip.

The needle is attached to a compressed spring and a disc made of sugar within the capsule. When the capsule is ingested, the sugar disc dissolves. The microneedle can then inject into the stomach wall after the spring is released as a result of doing this.

What prevents the microneedle from shooting off in the incorrect direction and missing the stomach wall, despite the deceptively simple appearance of this mechanism?

“As soon as you take it, you want the system to self-right so that you can ensure contact with the tissue,” says Giovanni Traverso, an assistant professor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.

Taking inspiration from tortoise shells

The answer came from an unexpected source. The leopard tortoise, which is indigenous to Eastern and Southern Africa and has a high-domed shell, is an expert at self-righting.

The researchers employed computer modeling to create the capsule, using design cues from the shape of the tortoise shell. The capsule’s ability to self-right itself ensures that the needle makes contact with the stomach wall regardless of how it enters the stomach.

Alex Abramson, a doctoral student at MIT and the study’s first author, says that it is crucial to have the needle in direct contact with the tissue when it is injected. Also, the device would not change from its preferred orientation if a person moved, or their stomach grumbled.

Insulin enters the bloodstream after the microneedle tip dissolves after being injected into the stomach wall. This process took around an hour in the current investigation, although the researchers can somewhat regulate the rate by how they prepare the microneedle.

The researchers have demonstrated that they can use this technique to give doses as high as 5 milligrams thus far. The capsule itself does not have any negative effects while it travels through the digestive system.

The capsule system is still being developed further. The research team is optimistic that this new design will put an end to a number of medications that can only be administered intravenously at this time.


Diabetes: Could a pill replace insulin injections? (no date) Medical News Today. MediLexicon International. Available at: (Accessed: March 9, 2023).

One of the most consumed meals worldwide is instant noodles, also known as ramen. These days, there are countless brands and variations of these ready-to-cook meals available at every grocery store.

Instant noodles are, regrettably, extremely unhealthy. They are heavy in carbohydrates, contain a lot of preservatives, and have very little nutritious value. Many people habitually consume them without being aware of the health concerns.

Look more closely at the negative impacts of quick noodles below.

Increase chances of heart disease:

According to a study that was featured in a prestigious nutrition journal, women who regularly use instant noodles are at an increased risk of developing metabolic disorders like diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and heart disease.

The instant noodle used by women twice or three times a week increases their risk of having a heart attack or stroke. The substantial amount of fat and oil needed to make these noodles is the cause.

May raise blood pressure:

Significant quantities of sodium are present in instant noodles. (4) An important risk factor for hypertension and related heart disease is excessive salt consumption.

May contain monosodium glutamate

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is frequently used as a flavour enhancer in instant ramen brands. When ingested in large quantities, MSG can be extremely dangerous. It may result in obesity, high blood pressure, cardiac problems, etc.

May cause indigestion

Instant noodles are hard on your digestive system and tough to digest. These noodles are difficult for your stomach and intestines to digest. As a result, they stay in the stomach longer than necessary. Frequent eating of these noodles may harm your digestive system and cause bloating, inflammation, reflux, acidity, and other problems.

Can cause weight gain

Saturated fats are recognized to be harmful to health. This kind of fat is highly prevalent in instant noodles. Saturated fats can contribute to unwanted weight gain, clog your arteries, cause cardiac problems, and raise your body’s levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Offer low nutritional value

The typical ingredient in instant noodles is refined flour, which has a very low nutritional value and nearly no fiber, minerals, or vitamins. It is loaded with starch that can cause obesity, heart disease, diabetes, etc., when consumed regularly.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has become widely used in modern society. The usage of AI in self-driving cars and voice recognition has an impact on how we conduct our daily lives. A recent study, however, discovered that children performed critical psychological tasks better than AI.

According to a recent study from New York University that was published in the journal Cognition, infants may be better than artificial intelligence to understand the motivation behind a person’s gestures. This study highlights the need of developing current technology and pinpointing AI’s limitations because it clearly showed the distinction between cognition and computation.

“Adults and even infants can easily make reliable inferences about what drives other people’s actions,” said an assistant professor in New York University’s Department of Psychology and the paper’s senior author, Moira Dillon, PhD. “Current AI finds these inferences challenging to make.”

Because of the original idea of children and artificial intelligence competing against one another on the same tasks, researchers are now better able to characterize neonates’ intrinsic understanding of other people and make suggestions for how to incorporate such knowledge into AI.

As seen by the way they view and perceive others, babies are fascinated by others. In addition, they have rudimentary communication skills and human emotional understanding. The ability of infants to articulate specific preferences and set goals aids in the development of human social intelligence.

More than 80 11-month-old babies were used in the study to examine the differences between infants and AI. The group compared infants to artificial intelligence and watched how they responded to a “state-of-the-art learning-driven neural-network model.” The group employed the “Baby Intuitions Benchmark” (BIB), a set of six exercises that test people’s psychological realism.

BIB was developed to compare the performance of newborns and machines and, more crucially, to provide an observed basis for creating humanistic AI. Infants watched videos on Zoom that included simple, animated shapes bouncing around the screen. By pulling items from the screen and making additional actions, human behavior, and decision-making were replicated.

Also developed, taught, and put to the test were learning-driven AI devices, which help computers recognize patterns and emulate human intellect. The researchers discovered that infants could recognize human-like intentions in simple actions and animated shapes. Despite the continuous contextual changes, they had to recognize the retrieval of identical objects on the screen. Infants gave moving things longer looks that suggested recognition.

Yet, there was no indication of recognition from AI tools. As of right now, it appears that only humans have this capacity for thought. It enables us to collaborate and interact with others.

Dillon concluded: “A human infant’s foundational knowledge is limited, abstract, and reflects our evolutionary inheritance, yet it can accommodate any context or culture in which that infant might live and learn.”

Due to differences in exchange rates between markets, IT exports for January 2023 were only $190 million, according to the sources.

According to the sources, in January 2023, exports of computer services decreased by 20% and those of telecom services saw a 35% decline. Moreover, the exports of computer software and consulting services for software fell by 25% and 15% MoM, respectively.

The decline in IT exports is mostly a sign of a decline in global IT spending. Gartner, a technology research, and consulting firm have revised its growth forecast for IT spending from an earlier 5.1% to 2.4% in 2023 in its most recent report.

Separately, in January 2023, Pakistan’s textile exports fell by 12% annually to $1.36 billion. In January of the preceding fiscal year, textile exports were at $1.55 billion on an annual basis.

Data from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) show that the textile industry’s exports decreased by 8% between July and January. Comparing the $10.8 billion in textile exports from July to January to the $10.93 billion in the same period last year.

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