Iraq’s conflict-affected youth learning how to code

The startup says that they want Iraqi students to “take control of their lives” by learning how to code. (Courtesy Twitter)
Updated 05 September 2018
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Iraq’s conflict-affected youth learning how to code

  • The organization is looking to expand its training for conflict-affected youth across the Middle East
  • The startup initiative is well timed as the technology industry in Iraq is growing

DUBAI: A tech-based startup that has been helping young Iraqis to support their country’s digital economy by teaching them how to code, is looking to expand in other Middle East countries, London daily Evening Standard reported.

Re:Coded, founded in 2016 to assist conflict-affected youth in penetrating the technology industry, is currently working with young students in Iraq, offering courses in computer coding.

“We launched as a coding school to try and upscale youth here and bring them more towards a digital economy especially in Iraq where a lot of the jobs are provided by the government,” Zahra Shah, program manager of the organization, said.

The initiative is well timed, as the startup and tech industries in Iraq are growing, according to Shah.

She said young Iraqis were showing a great interest in technology, but many of the schools lacked the facilities to help harness their potential.

“We started a school to cater to that need for youths to have access to that education. Even the students that learn computer science at university, they're not learning properly how to become computer programmers, it's very theoretical. We fill that gap by teaching android app development," Shah added.

And now the organization, which aims for at least 40 percent female participation on its projects, is looking to expand its reach across Iraq, and introducing the boot camps to other countries in the Middle East.

Students have the option of joining Re:Code’s five-month boot camps or the tech entrepreneurship academy, where after graduating they will be assisted to land jobs, start their own startups, or even become teachers themselves.

"In our last boot camp, we had 35 students, of those students that were looking for full-time employment, around 90 percent of them have gone into employment especially in the local economy,” Shah said.


Porsche first German carmaker to abandon diesel engines

Updated 23 September 2018
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Porsche first German carmaker to abandon diesel engines

  • The company would concentrate on its core strength, ‘powerful petrol, hybrid and, from 2019, purely electric vehicles’
  • But Porsche promised it would keep servicing diesel models on the road now

BERLIN: Sports car maker Porsche said Sunday it would become the first German auto giant to abandon the diesel engine, reacting to parent company Volkswagen’s emissions cheating scandal and resulting urban driving bans.
“There won’t be any Porsche diesels in the future,” CEO Oliver Blume told the newspaper Bild am Sonntag.
Instead, the company would concentrate on what he called its core strength, “powerful petrol, hybrid and, from 2019, purely electric vehicles.”
The Porsche chief conceded the step was a result of the three-year-old “dieselgate” scandal at auto giant Volkswagen, the group to which the luxury sports car brand belongs.
VW in 2015 admitted to US regulators to having installed so-called “defeat devices” in 11 million cars worldwide to dupe emissions tests.
It has so far paid out more than €27 billion in fines, vehicle buybacks, recalls and legal costs and remains mired in legal woes at home and abroad.
Diesel car sales have dropped sharply as several German cities have banned them to bring down air pollution — a trend that Chancellor Angela Merkel was due to discuss with car company chiefs in Berlin later Sunday.
Stuttgart-based Porsche in February stopped taking orders for diesel models, which it had sold for nearly a decade.
Blume said Porsche had “never developed and produced diesel engines,” having used Audi motors, yet the image of the brand had suffered.
“The diesel crisis has caused us a lot of trouble,” he said, months after Germany’s Federal Transport Authority ordered the recall of nearly 60,000 Porsche SUVs in Europe.
Blume promised that the company would keep servicing diesel models on the road now.
According to the paper, Porsche also faces claims of having manipulated engines to produce a more powerful sound with a technique that was deactivated during testing.
Blume acknowledged that German regulators had found irregularities in the 8-cylinder Cayenne EU5, affecting some 13,500 units.
Merkel, Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer and heads of German auto companies were due to meet in Berlin later Sunday to discuss steps to avoid more city driving bans.
The German government hopes to see one million fully electric and hybrid vehicles on the road by 2022, up from fewer than 100,000 at the start of this year.