US politics

United States: Donald Trump sacks Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo will succeed Tillerson while Gina Haspel will become the first woman to run the spy agency.

United States President Donald Trump on Tuesday sacked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. In a statement, the White House announced its decision to nominate Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo to replace Tillerson.

CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel will succeed Pompeo, becoming the first woman to run the spy agency if confirmed.

Trump reportedly told Tillerson to step down last Friday, forcing the diplomat to cut short his Africa trip and return to Washington, The Washington Post reported.

Trump praised both Pompeo and Haspel in a statement released to The Washington Post, and lauded Tillerson too. “Finally, I want to thank Rex Tillerson for his service. A great deal has been accomplished over the last fourteen months, and I wish him and his family well.”

The Post quoted unidentified White House officials as saying that the president, who has had major differences in opinion with Tillerson, believes that the diplomat is “too establishment” in his thinking. Trump reportedly felt it was important to remove Tillerson now as he gets ready for talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

News reports speculating about Tillerson’s removal first surfaced in December 2017, with The New York Times saying that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly had put together the plan to remove the diplomat.

The relationship between the president and the former Exxon chief became strained after Tillerson reportedly called Trump a moron at a July 20, 2017, meeting at the Pentagon where other Cabinet members were present. Responding to this, Trump had said: “I think it is fake news, but if he did that, I guess we will have to compare IQ tests. And I can tell you who is going to win.”

In August 2017, Tillerson had publicly distanced himself from Trump’s response to a neo-Nazi march in the US state of Virginia, saying the president only “speaks for himself”. Trump had also criticised Tillerson for attempting diplomacy with North Korea, and has often undercut him on Twitter.

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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.

Play

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.