Fashion on fleek at third Hum Style Awards

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Updated 06 September 2018

Fashion on fleek at third Hum Style Awards

  • Event is considered one of the most important for stars from Pakistan’s entertainment industry
  • Top points fetched for monochrome magic and quirky ensembles

LAHORE: It was a night of sartorial elegance where old world charm met the best in fusion attire from the East.

The third annual Hum Style Awards (HSA), hosted by the Hum Network, saw the crème de la creme of Pakistan’s entertainment industry put their best foot forward for an evening of fashion and glamour in Karachi, on Saturday. 

Fashion police were quick to mark the stars on their lists of best and worst dressed, with actors Sabah Qamar and Mawra Hocane scoring the highest points on the charts.

Qamar dazzled in her black Elan gown -- complete with layered tulle, black bead and sequin work, a bustier top and sheer strap detailing – with her hair pulled back and the 90s-inspired make up on fleek.

Hocane, a close second, hit all the right notes in her pale pink chikankari saree by Indian designer Label D. 

Both subtle and sensuous, the ensemble’s sheer sleeves and elegant draping made for Hocane’s look to be the most-talked about on social media.

And while many attendees played it safe by opting for the usual colors and cuts, a handful threw caution to the wind by experimenting with different styles. 

Model Noor Bhatti was one among them. In a bright-green, off-shoulder dress -- paired with minimal accessories -- she floored the crowds with her effortlessly-chic look.

The men were not ones to disappoint either, with a majority opting to go monochrome. Actor and choreographer Osman Khalid Butt ruled the roost in a well-tailored, light-weight periwinkle suit offset with a printed silk tie. 

Following closely on his heels was actor and model Nabeel Zuberi who chose the lighter end of the palette with a shiny jade green suit, which he wore with a crisp black shirt while sporting a well-coifed do.

With most actors opting to ape modern silhouettes and designs, actor Azfar Rehman and make-up artist Shoaib Aziz stuck to their roots in their heavily-embroidered blue sherwani-inspired jacket and an all-white salwar kameez.

Bonus points for actor Emaad Irfani who stood out, for all the right reasons, in his sugar and spice ensemble, coupled with a serious pair of glasses.

Two engineers help fight Lebanese farming foe

Updated 19 August 2019

Two engineers help fight Lebanese farming foe

  • Early-warning system lets farmers know when to protect their crops from fruit flies
  • Mobile app tells them the best time to spray pesticides to halt their advance

DUBAI: An award-winning startup led by two female Lebanese engineers has created an automated early-warning system that allows Middle East farmers to protect their crops against the Mediterranean fruit fly, one of the world’s most destructive pests.

Fruit flies can devastate entire harvests and have infested over 300 types of vegetables, fruits and nuts globally, causing financial ruin to countless farmers in the Arab world.

However, an ingenious system designed by Nisrine El Turky, a computer engineer and university professor, and Christina Chaccour, an electrical engineer, will tell farmers via text messages and mobile app of the best time to spray pesticides to halt the pests’ advance.

“Many Lebanese farmers weren’t able to export apples because the quality of their produce wasn’t good enough,” said El Turky, co-founder of IO Tree.

“So many I met were desperate to sell a crate of apples for $2 (SR7.50), which is nothing. I wanted to help the sector by better integrating technology.”

Farmers were found spraying too much pesticide to try to kill fruit flies. (Shutterstock)

She began by investigating the difficulties that farmers faced, attending workshops and seminars, and visiting farms. She found the main problem was that farmers were spraying too much pesticide to try to kill fruit flies.

“I found a way that could reduce the use of pesticides and increase production.”

El Turky began working on the IO Tree concept in February 2018 and swiftly built a working prototype, which she showed to Chaccour, who promptly joined the company as a co-founder.

IO Tree’s technology is being tested on farms in Lebanon and the Netherlands. There are two prototype machines — one for indoor use and another for outdoor. The machines can be placed in an orchard, field or greenhouse.

“We need to ensure that the prototype functions in all conditions. Outdoors, there is sun, dust, rain and other weather factors that could disrupt its operation,” said El Turky, who still works up to 10 hours a week as a lecturer at Lebanon’s Notre Dame University.

Using machine learning and artificial intelligence, the machine’s sensors monitor indicators such as temperature and moisture, as well as studying plant stress.

The system can detect and identify pests, providing data on the likely scale of an imminent pest invasion and the best action the farmer should take to combat it. Information is conveyed to the farmer via IO Tree’s app.

“If you’re using pesticides, our app will tell you the best pesticide to use to tackle that problem, the quantity you need and when to spray.”

IO Tree’s sensors use machine learning to measure plant stress. (Supplied photo)

EL Turky said her technology had shown over 90 percent accuracy in identifying medflies.

“Machine learning means that every day the system becomes more accurate,” she said.

“We’re also working on identifying other pests, but medfly is our main target. Once medflies arrive at a farm, they will eat everything.”

IO Tree will enable farmers to use fewer pesticides, reducing environmental damage, while produce will be in better condition and can command a higher sales price.

“By using fewer pesticides, farmers will be better able to preserve biodiversity: Spraying kills a lot more insects than just pests,” she said. IO Tree has initially targeted all types of fruit trees, plus tomatoes and cucumbers, and the product will be launched commercially in September.

“We’re aiming at farmers directly,” said El Turky.

IO Tree’s services will be sold via subscription. After a farmer signs up for one year initially, the company will install its machines at the farm. The number of machines required per acre depends on crop type, crop yield, land topography and other factors.

The company’s initial target market is the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, though it also plans to expand to Europe and eventually worldwide.

The product’s potential has helped IO Tree win a string of startup competitions. It was selected to represent Lebanon GSVC 2019 (Global Social Venture Competition) at the University of California, Berkeley.

IO Tree also joined Lebanon’s Agrytech accelerator, which provided $44,000 in funding, and schooled the fledgling entrepreneurs in how to create and manage a startup.