Authors Posts by Sabreen Atiq

Sabreen Atiq

The author is a marketer who is currently exploring the world of Digital Marketing. She likes to write about important issues which people don’t like addressing.

Emma Watson Receives First Ever MTV Gender Neutral Award


Last night MTV presented Emma Watson with their first gender-neutral award. Watson won the prize for MTV Movie and TV award for her role in Beauty and the Beast.

MTV declared the Gender Neutral Award categories after actress Asia Kate Dillon pointed it out at the Emmys. The Emmys had contacted Dillon to ask her what she would like to be addressed as in the ceremony and the category she preferred to be nominated for – actor or actress?

In response, Dillon sent a letter to the organizers questioning why it was important to identify as either to be able to be nominated for her talent as an actor.

The Emmys explained their policy saying that anyone can be nominated under their preferred category for whatever reason.

Dillon was pleased with the response, “I found them to be 100% supportive,” she said.

At the time Dillon opted but the Best Actor category, claiming that the term ‘actor’ was more gender neutral than ‘actress’. Dillon was also the one to present Watson with her award.

MTV decided to take it a step further and dropped the separate gender categories completely.

This isn’t the first time award organizers have gone down this route; back in 2008, the National Television Awards removed the best actor/actress categories altogether and based categories on genre instead.

Watson competed with top actors like Logan actor Hugh Jackman and James McAvoy. Her movie Beauty and the Beast won big at the MTV awards, winning the Movie of the Year Award as well.

She happily accepted the award saying, that to her it “indicates that acting is about the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes,” and that gender is irrelevant.

Watson credited the award to her character, Belle, who, like her, is an intelligent, strong woman who dreams big and is not bound by the ways of her village.

Apple Sees Unprecedented Drop in iPhone Sales


Apple has sold fewer iPhones in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the number of sales in 2016 for the same period.

Apple, which is due to release a new phone later on this year, revealed that it has sold 50.8 million in the first quarter of the year – 1% less year on year.

The company’s CEO Tim Cook believes that the “pause” in sales is expected as people await the release of the new phone.

In the meantime, Apple’s shares dropped by 2% in the late hours of trading after it hit an all-time high on expectations of better results.

Earlier, Apple experienced an increase in revenue by 4.6% across its entire company, reporting revenues of $52.9billion.

The decline in sales was covered up by Apple’s services divisions – iCloud, Apple Pay and it’s App Store whose revenues spiked by 18%, making sales of $7billion.

Cook also pointed out the improved sales of the Apple Watch, Apple’s Airpods, and its Beats headphones.

For Apple, the post-Christmas time of the year is known for the crash in sales but such a drop has left investors dissatisfied since shares hit a record high on Tuesday in anticipation of strong earnings.

Tim Cook did try and draw attention to Apple’s Services Division as Apple Music, iTunes and Apple TV continue to grow – but Apple’s health is most accurately represented by the sales of its greatest contributor – its smartphones.

This year celebrates the 10th anniversary of the iPhone therefore there are a lot of expectations from this upcoming model. Customers and investors expect a significant improvement in the new phone – it can’t just be a simple upgrade of previous versions.

Reports from GlobalData found that the revenues from Apple’s iPhones have declined by a huge $7billion compared to the same period two years ago. The analysts at the firm believe that the iPhone line has matured and the lack of significant improvements in the newer versions has prevented Apple from recovering from the slump it experienced in the last fiscal year.

In addition, Apple faced a sufficient decline in sales in China last year as revenues from there sank by 14%, however, Tim Cook blames the drop on currency fluctuations.

To divert attention from the slow sales of its iPhones, Apple has said that its quarterly profit of $11 billion worldwide was higher by 4.9% of last year’s profits for the same period.

At the same time, the firm has promised to return a whopping $50 billion to its shareholders.

New Episodes of ‘Orange Is the New Black’ Stolen and Shared by Hacker

Orange Is The New Black Season 5

According to reports, a hacker illegally gained access to 10 new episodes of Netflix’s hit show Orange Is the New Black and has shared them over the Internet after attempting to blackmail Netflix into paying a ransom.

Other than Orange is the New Black, the hacker has stolen XXX: Return of Xander Cage, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Season 1 of Bill Nye Saves the World.

These shows were scheduled to be released by Netflix from June 9 onwards.

The hacker claims to have also stolen shows from cable networks including ABC, National Geographic, and FOX.

Netflix has spoken to Entertainment Weekly regarding the incident, saying that it was “aware of the situation”. The company claims that a production vendor used by many large TV studios had its security compromised and that relevant law-enforcement entities are taking action.

The FBI too has been involved in the investigation that began in late 2016 when the shows were stolen.

The hacker who identifies as The Dark Overload had previously targeted hospitals and other healthcare institutions. On April 29th, a message was released by the hacker on Pastebin, scolding Netflix for failing to pay the demanded ransom.

To make matters worse, the hacker has allegedly provided evidence to cyber security news site that proves that the hacker has 34 more unreleased shows and films.

Experts and security officials worry that the cyber-attack may inspire other hackers to do the same. It is well-known that pirated content that is yet to be released causes the greatest monetary damage to media companies.

It’s Now Easier for Mentally Ill People to Purchase Weapons

Thousands of Americans with mental illness could buy guns after Trump strikes down Obama's rule against it (Getty) DELRAY BEACH, FL - JANUARY 05: A customer shops for a handgun at the K&W Gunworks store on the day that U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington, DC announced his executive action on guns on January 5, 2016 in Delray Beach, Florida. President Obama announced several measures that he says are intended to advance his gun safety agenda. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Image: Getty Images

In all this talk about what Donald Trump has not been able to achieve in his infamous 100 days, we overlook what he did get done. Well if you didn’t already know, Donald Trump signed a resolution that blocks a rule imposed by the Obama administration that prevented mentally ill people from buying guns. Since its implementation, the rule blocked around 75,000 purchases of weapons by those deemed mentally unfit to be carrying them.

The rule was put into place after Sandy Hook tragedy, where elementary students and their teachers lost their lives in a mass shooting by 20-year, Adam Lanza, who suffered from mental health issues. Lanza was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder which led him to first shoot his mother and then march to the school where she taught. At the school, Lanza managed to shoot 20 students between the ages 6-7years old and six of their teachers before shooting himself.

The tragic incident went down as the worst shooting in the history of the US until the Pulse nightclub shooting. The Obama administration responded by introducing the rule, enforced more stringent background checks and placed bans on semi-automatic weapons that could limit the chances of such attacks from taking place.

The new rule demanded Social Security Administration share the list of beneficiaries that suffered from mental illnesses and needed third-party individuals to manage their weapons.

The rule was met with harsh criticism from the Republican Party, the National Rifle Association, and the American Civil Liberties Union. They claimed that the new rule branded those that suffered from mental conditions and infringed upon their rights to bear arms as a citizen of the USA.

Those that disagreed with the rule and wanted it to be repealed like Senator Charles Grassley, said that the regulations consist of “vague characteristics that do not fit into the federal mentally defective standard” and bans them from bearing arms and availing their constitutional rights.

Chinese Workers producing Ivanka Trump Clothing Get Paid $62 a week


Ivanka Trump has not been having the best week. Earlier, the First Daughter was booed on stage in Germany in a failed attempt to sell her father, Donald Trump, as an advocate for women’s rights and “champion of families”.

A hot topic at the W20 summit was how women can maintain the balance between their careers and their families. Ivanka faced some tough questions from the group of journalists present as they as they questioned her role in the White House and who exactly she is representing as the First Daughter; her father, American people, or her business. Ivanka was quick to defend herself saying that her business was certainly not what she was representing in the White House.

She admitted that she was still “unfamiliar” with her new role in the White House, claiming that she’s carefully listening and learning, identifying ways where she can make a positive impact for the American people.

Even though German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, encouragingly nodded at Ivanka’s answers but the crowd wasn’t having it. They booed and hissed as Ivanka classed her father as a “tremendous champion of supporting families”.

To make matters worse for Ivanka, last night The Fair Labor Association’s audit revealed that workers in the factory that manufactures Ivanka Trump clothing were only making a mere $62 per week after punching in 60 hours of work.

Clothes for G-III Apparel Group Ltd. are manufactured in the same factory. G-III Apparel Group also manufactures clothes for Donna Karan, Kenneth Cole, Calvin Klein and Karl Lagerfeld. The Fair Labor Association did not specifically state which brand’s project was being worked on at the time of the audit.

G-III claims that its facilities are routinely audited by internal teams along with outside parties like The Fair Labor Association.

The Fair Labor Association, on the other hand, claims that its auditor has 24 different violations under the UN International Labor Organization. The work that was being done over time, exceeded the legal time limit. As per the law, workers can only work for 36 hrs in overtime but in this facility, they were putting in 42hrs overtime per month. In some months the overtime hours could go up to 82hrs.

The facility isn’t in violation of minimum wage, the workers were given wages of about $255-$284 per month.

Ivanka Trump did address the issue of unequal pay in the workplace in the W20 Summit. She had stepped down from her business to take an official position in the White House as an advisor to her father.

Ivanka’s involvement in her father’s administration is clearly costing her brand. A couple of months ago Nordstrom discontinued her brand due to poor sales; as a result, the value of Nordstrom’s stocks went up.

Yesterday, news surfaced that the Ivanka Trump brand was being sold under another brand name – Adrienne Vittadini at discount retailer store, Stein Mart. The reasons for this have not been disclosed. The store could have done it to avoid bias against the brand or the brand could have renamed itself in order to avoid being associated with a discount store.

Donald Trump has been pushing the idea of bringing manufacturing jobs back to America and buying American products, yet, the majority of his brand’s products are produced overseas, namely in China (which he has spoken very aggressively about). In addition to China, the Trump brand’s products are also produced in Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Just last week, Trump signed executive orders that force Federal Agencies so they prioritize American products.

He’s been pushing other American companies to manufacture in the US despite facing high costs of production. When it comes to his own companies, however, he appears to have excused himself.

Facebook’s Violent Video Problem


Facebook has a growing violent video problem and there is pressure mounting for the platform to tackle it.

Two days prior to Mark Zuckerberg’s F8 (Facebook’s annual software conference) speech, a video of an elderly man being murdered was posted on Facebook by his assailant. In within a matter of minutes, the assailant confessed to the murder on Facebook Live. Around an hour before Zuckerberg was due to speak, police announced that the murderer had taken his own life following a nationwide hunt that had begun.

Zuckerberg admitted that a lot of work needed to be done to prevent such instances from repeating.

Facebook has guaranteed a review of the tools used to report inappropriate material on the platform. It has also hinted at possibly using artificial intelligence to stop the spreading of such content.

As difficult as it may be, Facebook needs to come up with a solution quickly to combat the problem.

Just two weeks after the Cleveland murder, a Thai man streamed a video of the murder of his baby daughter on Facebook Live before killing himself. This brutal video was on Facebook for over 24 hours before it was removed.

The two murders have brought to light Facebook’s inability to control the Live content that is streamed on it. Facebook has a massive 2 billion active users every month. Any of these 2 billion users can post whatever content they want. For the content to be reviewed by Facebook’s team, it needs to be flagged by enough users.

Although Facebook has a procedure to remove offensive content that has been posted on the website, policing Live content is incredibly difficult, if not impossible.

Facebook isn’t the only social media platform that has to deal with this problem, Twitter and YouTube have the same problems. Not everyone using social media platforms will use it correctly. Facebook, however, does have the largest user base therefore can provide the most visibility.

For Facebook specifically, this is a sensitive issue because Zuckerberg had set his mind on prioritizing video content in the future. He has previously said that we are entering the “golden age of video”. He expected people to be sharing at least one video every day in the very near future – but turns out not everyone can be trusted with the ability to share a video.

To make matters more challenging, it is difficult to identify what videos need to be taken off the website. Earlier, Facebook received backlash for removing videos related to social movements like Black Lives Matter due to some videos being violent.

Currently the site continues to rely on its users flagging objectionable content but this isn’t a sufficient solution. Those individuals that Facebook is depending on to flag the content, would have to have viewed some of the content in order to determine whether it is appropriate. By the time enough people have flagged the content, the video has already spread.

Even if Facebook does manage to use AI to remove objectionable content, it does not stop deranged individuals from posting such content on the platform.

The World gets its First Malaria Vaccine


The world’s first ever malaria vaccine will be launched in three African countries next year, Ghana, Malawi, and Kenya. The vaccine trains the immune system to attack the malaria parasites after one has been bitten by an infected mosquito.

According to the World Health Organization, the numbers of malaria incidents have significantly lowered in the past decade, hundreds of thousands of fatal incidents still occur across the world. Although it can be treated in countries with inadequate health care, malaria is considered a major cause of death. The new RTS-S vaccine should reduce unnecessary fatalities due to malaria but its feasibility in the poorest parts of the world are a concern.

To be immune to malaria, you are required to take the vaccine 4 times. The first three shots will be given during the course of 3 months. The final shot will have to be taken after a gap of 18 months.

The vaccine is a big step for health care however its usability in the real world is questionable since the funds are so limited in countries where the vaccine is most needed.

The WHO has decided to run a trial on the vaccine to see if the vaccine is in fact viable. The vaccine will be introduced to Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi next year. During the trial period, it will also examine effectiveness along with the safety of the vaccine. The information received by the trial will aid the WHO in making decisions about the wider use of the vaccine.

The pilot consists of 750,000 kids between the age of 5 and 17 months. Around half the children will get the vaccine in order to test its effectiveness. In the previous testing, the vaccine was able to prevent 4 in 10 cases of malaria which is much lower than vaccine for other conditions. The vaccine does lessen the most serious cases of malaria by a third and reduces the needs for hospital treatment and blood transfusions, however, its effectiveness reduces significantly if the fourth dose is not given.

Ghana, Malawi, and Kenya were chosen for the pilot study as they already have programs that are currently attempting to control the spread of malaria.

Even though the cases of malaria have dropped in the last decade, there are still around 212 million new cases every year out of which 429,000 result in fatalities.

Snapchat rejects claims that CEO did not want to expand to ‘poor India’


A few days ago, a former employee of Snapchat revealed that the CEO of Snapchat, Evan Speigel, foolishly commented that India was “too poor” for Snapchat to expand its base there. The comment was brought to light in a lawsuit filed by Anthony Pompliano, which accuses Snapchat of manipulating user data and misleading advertisers.

Pompaliano claims that the comment was made in a meeting in 2015 where officials at Snapchat were discussing the expansion of the app to lucrative geographies. In the meeting, Pompaliano then shared that the App had not been performing to its full potential and suggested that they expand to other countries. Speigal then responded by saying: “This app is only for rich people – I don’t want to expand into poor countries like India and Spain.”

The company has since denied the claims saying, “Obviously Snapchat is for everyone. It’s available worldwide to download for free,” and called the allegations “ridiculous”. The company has even gone to say that these false allegations are just a publicity stunt by Pompaliano who has been using the lawsuit to malign the company because he was unable to secure a job since his termination at Snap Inc. The company is even denying allegations of manipulating user data and deceiving advertisers.

There are currently around 4 million Snapchat users in India. In response to the derogatory comments made my Speigal, India’s social media users reacted over the Internet as #UninstallSnapchat and #BoycottSnapchat trended on Facebook and Twitter. The rating of the app has also fallen on the App Store due to the negative ratings being given to it.

India is the emerging market for technology businesses with a staggering 432 million Internet users and an even larger amount of people waiting to be connected (about 750million potential users).

Despite India being such a huge market for tech giants, its proven to be a difficult market to enter and make use of. Last year, Facebook’s plans of providing free mobile internet to hundreds of millions of Indians failed as it was considered a violation of net neutrality.

Earlier this year, Amazon was forced to pull out doormats from its store that represented the Indian Flag. India’s foreign secretary, Sushma Swaraj had even gone as far as threatening to revoke the visas of the company’s employees.

The ride hailing service Uber, too has been struggling in India as it has been hit hard by local competition which have been fighting for adjustments in economic policies that protect them from American companies.

Ford Unveils America’s First Ever Hybrid Police Car


Ford’s Police Responder Hybrid Sedan will be America’s first pursuit-rated hybrid police car.

Mainstream Hybrid cars such as Toyota Prius or Chevrolet Volt can be seen in neighborhoods across the USA, their primary function isn’t high-speed chases.

The Police Responder is like the Ford Fusion Hybrid with some specific changes made to cater to the needs of the Police Force. These changes include a better engine cooling system, a stronger suspension system, and sturdier brakes along with skid plates at the bottom of the car to protect its mechanical components when the cars drive over curbs.

This fall, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, and the Michigan State Police will examine the pursuit vehicles to determine whether they are sufficient for the police force to use during high-speed chases across the country. Based on Ford’s internal testing, Ford is confident that the vehicle will pass all tests conducted by the agencies and claims that the vehicle should be should be available next spring.

Other than boasting about the vehicle’s strength and speed, Ford claims that the cars are also fuel efficient than the current police cars, going as far as to claim that that these hybrid cars will save $3,900 on fuel per vehicle. The new hybrid’s fuel economy is almost twice that of a non-hybrid Police Interceptor.

Ford states that almost 60% of the on-duty time by police cars is spent idle; the Police Responder barely uses any gas when idle.

Even the interiors of the cars have been altered to accommodate the police. The cushions of the front seats are made to carry police equipment such as belts and gun holsters. There are no seatback or door pockets in the backseat area so suspects aren’t able to hide weapons or contraband in them. To protect the policemen sitting in the front, there are anti-stab panels placed behind the front seats. Knowing that the police force’s cars can get messy, Ford has made the interiors very easy-to-clean.

Ford’s Police Responder Hybrid Sedan is meant for urban use. Ford’s Taurus-based Police Interceptor is still recommended for chasing cars on the highway since it is armed with a turbocharged V6 engine.

Donald Trump Tells Female Staff How to Dress


Donald Trump is working hard to win over women.

No, that’s a lie. He’s found a way to further irk them because the Women’s March wasn’t a good enough depiction of their hatred for him.

A recent report revealed that Donald Trump, leader of the Free World, has apparently ordered his female staffers to “dress like women” when at work.

Sources within the White House reported that Trump briefed White House staffers on how he expects them to be dressed. He requires all his employees to “have a certain look” and “be sharply dressed” at all times. All of which is standard and acceptable to ask of employees. But while Trump ordered his male staff to keep their hair well-groomed and wear a branded tie, he demanded that his female staff “dress like women”.

In a huge scandal last year, it was revealed that Trump’s close friend Roger Ailes, Former Chairman of Fox Television Stations, had openly barred his female subordinates from wearing pants.

Although Trump did not explicitly say that the women in his staff cannot wear pants, women who worked in the field with him during his campaign admitted that they “felt pressure to wear dresses” to impress him, according to sources.

It is unclear what Donald Trump means when he says “dress like women”. His favorite daughter, Ivanka Trump leads a large clothing empire for strong career women but both she and his wife Melania, are rarely seen in trousers.

Ivanka Trump is almost always seen in her standard, upscale office-wear dresses, and chic heels. Melania may not look like she’s headed to work but she too is always seen in figure-hugging, pencil dresses paired with the Louboutin heels.

Of course, Donald Trump’s comments did not go down well with the women of the 21st century and they were quick to jump on to Social Media to express their thoughts.

In no time, hashtag #DressLikeAWoman was trending on Twitter as thousands posted their photos to show Trump how today’s professional women dress at work.

Many circulated photos of iconic women such as Tennis star Serena Williams and Game Of Thrones warrior Brienne of Tarth in her armor. Racing car driver Leilani Munter posted a photo of herself in her racing gear on the track.

Female firefighters, soldiers, surgeons, pilots, policewomen and many more took to Twitter to make a point that there is no one way that women dress at work. They excel in all fields and are second to none.

Here’s hoping Donald Trump gets the message.