US politics

Donald Trump names General James 'Mad Dog' Mattis his defence secretary

The US president-elect said the former marine was the closest the country had to famed World War II commander General George Patton.

United States President-elect Donald Trump has chosen former marine General James Mattis as his defence secretary. Mattis has served in Iraq and Afghanistan. “He is our best,” Trump said while announcing his choice. He said Mattis was the closest the country had to World War II commander General George Patton.

Mattis has been vocal about his reservations against Barack Obama’s Middle East policy. He had said that Iran was “the single most enduring threat to stability and peace in the Middle East”. Mattis had retired in 2013. According to existing rules, a retired military officer cannot serve as defence secretary for at least seven years after retirement, TIME reported.

This is not Trump’s first controversial nomination to a key post since he won the US presidential election against Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton on November 8. On November 30, Trump selected Georgia Congressman and orthopaedic surgeon Tom Price as his health and human services secretary. Besides, Indiana health policy consultant Seema Verma was chosen for the post of administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The selection of Price, a known critic of Obamacare, has put the future of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in doubt. However, Price’s nomination needs to be confirmed by the Senate. If confirmed, Price’s department will have an annual budget of more than $1 trillion. With that amount, it will look into health programmes, monitor agencies that regulate food and drugs and sponsor biomedical research.

Democrats severely criticised the selection of Price. “Nominating Congressman Price to be the HHS secretary is akin to asking the fox to guard the hen house,” said New York Senator Chuck Schumer. Cecile Richards, President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, told The New York Times that Price “poses a grave threat to women’s health” and warned that that as health secretary he “could take women back decades.”

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Following a mountaineer as he reaches the summit of Mount Everest

Accounts from Vikas Dimri’s second attempt reveal the immense fortitude and strength needed to summit the Everest.

Vikas Dimri made a huge attempt last year to climb the Mount Everest. Fate had other plans. Thwarted by unfavourable weather at the last minute, he came so close and yet not close enough to say he was at the top. But that did not deter him. Vikas is back on the Everest trail now, and this time he’s sharing his experiences at every leg of the journey.

The Everest journey began from the Lukla airport, known for its dicey landing conditions. It reminded him of the failed expedition, but he still moved on to Namche Bazaar - the staging point for Everest expeditions - with a positive mind. Vikas let the wisdom of the mountains guide him as he battled doubt and memories of the previous expedition. In his words, the Everest taught him that, “To conquer our personal Everest, we need to drop all our unnecessary baggage, be it physical or mental or even emotional”.

Vikas used a ‘descent for ascent’ approach to acclimatise. In this approach, mountaineers gain altitude during the day, but descend to catch some sleep. Acclimatising to such high altitudes is crucial as the lack of adequate oxygen can cause dizziness, nausea, headache and even muscle death. As Vikas prepared to scale the riskiest part of the climb - the unstable and continuously melting Khumbhu ice fall - he pondered over his journey so far.

His brother’s diagnosis of a heart condition in his youth was a wakeup call for the rather sedentary Vikas, and that is when he started focusing on his health more. For the first time in his life, he began to appreciate the power of nutrition and experimented with different diets and supplements for their health benefits. His quest for better health also motivated him to take up hiking, marathon running, squash and, eventually, a summit of the Everest.

Back in the Himalayas, after a string of sleepless nights, Vikas and his team ascended to Camp 2 (6,500m) as planned, and then descended to Base Camp for the basic luxuries - hot shower, hot lunch and essential supplements. Back up at Camp 2, the weather played spoiler again as a jet stream - a fast-flowing, narrow air current - moved right over the mountain. Wisdom from the mountains helped Vikas maintain perspective as they were required to descend 15km to Pheriche Valley. He accepted that “strength lies not merely in chasing the big dream, but also in...accepting that things could go wrong.”

At Camp 4 (8,000m), famously known as the death zone, Vikas caught a clear glimpse of the summit – his dream standing rather tall in front of him.

It was the 18th of May 2018 and Vikas finally reached the top. The top of his Everest…the top of Mount Everest!

Watch the video below to see actual moments from Vikas’ climb.


Vikas credits his strength to dedication, exercise and a healthy diet. He credits dietary supplements for helping him sustain himself in the inhuman conditions on Mount Everest. On heights like these where the oxygen supply drops to 1/3rd the levels on the ground, the body requires 3 times the regular blood volume to pump the requisite amount of oxygen. He, thus, doesn’t embark on an expedition without double checking his supplements and uses Livogen as an aid to maintain adequate amounts of iron in his blood.

Livogen is proud to have supported Vikas Dimri on his ambitious quest and salutes his spirit. To read more about the benefits of iron, see here. To read Vikas Dimri’s account of his expedition, click here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Livogen and not by the Scroll editorial team.