Is US President Donald Trump smarter than Rex Tillerson?

US President Donald Trump has challenged his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to “compare IQ tests” after former ExxonMobil chief called the President a “moron”.

The brawl started when an NBC story claimed Vice-President Mike Pence had to talk Tillerson out of resigning this summer and that the secretary of state had called Trump a “moron.”

Later, Trump told Forbes magazine: “I think it’s fake news. But if he (Tillerson) did (say) that, I guess we’ll have to compare IQ tests. And I can tell you who is going to win.”

US president Donald Trump hasn’t always had the smoothest of relationships with members of his Cabinet. However, his reportedly shaky relationship with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and their fairly public sniping at each other, is perhaps the worst yet.

However, the White House was quick to give a different direction to the Trump-Tillerson row. It says President Donald Trump was joking when he appeared to question his secretary of state’s intelligence.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that the president “never implied that the secretary of state was not incredibly intelligent.” She says: “He made a joke, no more than that.”

She also says the president has “100 percent confidence” in Tillerson. She said reporters “should get a sense of humor.”

But sources say a complete different picture. According to Bloomberg, quoting some White House officials, their relationship has deteriorated to the point of no return and that it is only a matter of time before Tillerson departs.

The Washington Post writes, Trump is irked by Tillerson’s arguments for a more traditional approach on policies, from Iran to climate change to North Korea and by Tillerson’s visible frustration when overruled.

Tillerson also has publicly complained about the White House blocking him from making key appointments.

After the Charlottesville violence, Tillerson had said Trump “speaks for himself”.

People close to Trump also told The Chicago Tribune that the president has grown increasingly dissatisfied with Tillerson and thinks he’s lacking in star power. He has also been labelled as a press-shy globalist who cannot understand the nationalist platform of Trump’s election campaign.

Another thorn in their relationship is Tillerson’s support for the Paris Climate Deal and Iran nuclear deal and differences over US policy of Afghanistan. Tillerson continues to advocate for the deal, much to the displeasure of Trump and others in the White House.

Last week The New York Times reported that Tillerson was astonished at how little Trump grasps the basics of foreign policy.

According to the newspaper, quoting sources close to the secretary of state, Trump has been irritated by Tillerson’s body language during meetings.

The Trump administration is acutely aware of the fact that it is losing its staff members steadily and therefore, a resignation from Tillerson would prove disastrous for the US administration.

Politico also reported that despite his problems with Tillerson, Trump isn’t planning to make any moves to get rid of him.  An adviser told Politico that with a sharp drop in Trump’s approval rating, he is loath to get rid of anyone.

Trump’s always been the world’s leading gladiator when it comes to IQ smackdowns. In 2016, he challenged London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, to compare IQ tests after Khan dismissed Trump’s take on Islam as “ignorant.” Trump has also boasted that he has a higher IQ than George W. Bush, Barack Obama, George Will, Karl Rove and the entire staff of the Washington Post.



Kashmir: Braid chopping terror has touched alarming level

I just called my mother. As usual, I call her around lunch time to chat about lunch recipe and ask her what she has prepared, but this time her tone was scary.

“Where are you,” I asked.

“I am outside the house, on a thatched roof of small store,” she replied.

I was amazed as it was her lunch and prayer time. And enquired why she was there.

She replied because it is easy to yell from here to our neighbours if braid choppers come.

I was dumstruck.

The new terror wave in Kashmir is called ‘braid chopping’. Dozens of braid chopping incidents have been recorded in last one month. Women walking on roads and sitting in houses face this new terror.

Initially, it started in far flung villages, slowly moved to towns and later to Srinagar. Other day, braid chopping had turned into beard chopping of a Maulvi sahib in our near village and private parts of a kid were cut.

What the hell is happening! Everyone has this question in his mind but no one has the answers. Not even the protectors of the state, called police. Police initially announced Rs 3 lakh reward for giving any tip off about braid choppers. As the intensity of braid chopping increased, the reward money also doubled to Rs 6 lakh.

The interesting part is when any braid chopping incident takes place, and if an alleged braid chopper is detained by the public, police appears out of nowhere within shortest time and take him to their custody—from there only God and Mehbooba Mufti knows where they are taken.

Today, there was a picture going viral on Facebook about a braid chopper from Nishat, Srinagar. The users had termed him as army personnel.

Many analysts term this new wave of terror as a diversionary tactics by intelligence agencies. Last week, the first death due to braid chopping fear was reported when a nephew threw brickbat at his uncle, after misunderstanding him braid chopper.

I don’t know when this terror will be stopped but I hope the incompetent Jammu and Kashmir police—who is good only for firing pellets and bullets—prove their competency by finding out the braid chopping gang.

Kashmir: Netizens react to ‘caste apartheid’ practiced by Asiya Andrabi

Irfan Rashid

New Delhi: The social media is Kashmir is abuzz with strong reactions against pro-Pakistani separatist leader Asiya Andrabi a day after it was reported that she has denied marriage of her elder son on the basis of caste.

After The Daily Mail reported the difference between Dukhtaran-e-Milat chief and her son Muhammad bin Qasim, Kashmiri youth took to Facebook and condemned the caste based discrimination.

Facebook users compared her caste politics with Hindu Brahmanism where upper caste Brahmans don’t marry with lower caste people. Shabir Hassan Bhat, a Facebook user posted, “Is Asiya imbibing a practice of Brahmans. Then it is disgusting and most shameful. It is caste apartheid.”

People questioned the separatist leader for rejecting a girl for her son on the basis of the basis of the caste as Asiya belonged to a ‘Peer’ caste and the girl reportedly is daughter of a ‘tailor’ based in Srinagar.

Javiad Lone, a Kashmiri Facebook user commented, “If this is true then Asiya is hypocratic lady. I do remember when she used to accompany with her burkha clad women to thrash couples in parks. How can she beat others while her son was involved in same trade.”

Besides for her stand to merge Kashmir with Pakistan, Asiya is famous for her conservative Islamic activities like preaching purdah to Kashmiri girls and visiting public parks to impart moral values to the young couples.

Muhammad bin Qasim, the son of the separatist couple Asiya Andrabi and Dr Muhammad Qasim Faktoo who is in jail for last 24 years, was recently also in news when he supported Dangal girl Zaira Waseem after her mother Asiya had earlier advised the actor to “return from the filth of Bollywood.”

The 26-year-old Qasim who was studying in Malaysia and now pursuing MBA in Australia initially branded the entire Kashmiri community as ‘ignorant’ for targeting Zaira. “Jaahil Qawm hae Kashmir (the Kashmir community is ignorant). We are only pushing her away, #Zaira is an intelligent, bright and awesome kid who needs us!” he had said.

Registration for UPSC civil service prelims exam to close today

New Delhi: The registration process for the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) civil services preliminary examination 2017 will close on Friday at 6pm.

The UPSC civil services prelims 2017 notification was released on 22 February.

The examination to fill approximately 980 vacancies has been preponed this year and will be held on 18 June. Candidates will be issued an e-admit card three weeks before the commencement of the exam through the UPSC official website (

Aspirants who have not yet applied can apply on the UPSC official website till tomorrow evening.

UPSC civil services preliminary examination 2017 notification

Putting stop to the rumours in coaching centres, the Lok Sabha was informed on Wednesday that there is no proposal currently under consideration of the government to give more weightage to general studies in the civil services examination.

MoS for personnel, public grievances and pensions Jitendra Singh said the report of B.S. Baswan committee is under the consideration of the UPSC and its recommendation on the report are yet to be received.

The civil services exam is conducted in three stages: Preliminary (objective type) for the selection of the candidates for the main exam, civil services main exam (written) for the selection of candidates for the personality test and finally the personality test.

Path to spirituality

Many a time, we are overwhelmed with joy for no reason. At times, we remain silent and motionless even after receiving news of happiness. Actions and reactions are inherent in the nature that have been given to a man. It is all up to him how he wants to use these natural gifts or how not.
Similarly, there is a very important weapon of a man called consciousness. You are termed as conscious if you can differentiate between bad and evil, respect and dishonour, logic and fault, living and dead. Yes, many times it becomes very hard to differentiate between the living and the dead. The one whom you call living, god calls them dead in Quran because they can’t differentiate between oppression and embrace simply good and bad.
You don’t always need to take a tough path of spirituality to understand spirituality itself. As rightly put forth by a Kashmiri mystic, whom hindus call Lalleshwari and muslims call Lal Ded: “I will weep and weep for you, O Mind; (my Soul) The world hath caught you in its spell. Though you cling to them with the anchor of steel, not even the shadow of the things you love. Will go with you when you are dead. Why then have you forgot your own true self?”
The biggest reason of spirituality has always been from the thoughts of death, which inevitably forced a man to remember god. The curiosity of this force pushed Lord Buddha and Lord Mahavira to set their foot outside the kingdoms that were given to them on a platter. There is something which forced them to denounce the riches and comfort. Similarly, Lord Ram was exiled to the forests and in turn learnt lessons of life and death. Prophet Muhammad spent days and nights in a Cave in Mecca called Hira where he was enlightened.
It has been established that spirituality exists in all the religions, but what you need to reach there is a path — a path leading towards greater good.

‘Baed’ Eid Mubarak

All over the world, it is “Eid-ul-Adha.” In mainland India, it is “Bakr Eid,” and in my home — Kashmir — it is “Baed Eid,” which means big Eid. The day symbolises the sacrifices of prophet Ibrahim, his son prophet Ismail and Ismail’s mother Hajara. One night, Ibrahim saw a dream where he was asked to sacrifice his 13-year-old son, Ismail. But he sidelined it for three nights, thinking it was a distraction from the devil. But once he became sure that it was a commandment from the god, he confided to his wife and took his son away from home. Then he revealed the whole story to his son — who later became a prophet – and Ismail replied: “Please tie my hands when you sacrifice me otherwise I may shake and ooze my blood on your clothes after which god will get angry with me.” About this learned, intellectual and obedient son, Allama Iqbal questioned, who taught all this to Ismail? Certainly god. “Yeh Faizan-e-Nazar Tha Ya Ke Maktab Ki Karamat Thi, Sikhaye Kis Ne Ismaeel Ko Adaab-e-Farzandi,” wrote the famous poet. It was not easy for Ibrahim to even think of sacrificing his first son, who was born when he was 86 years old, as per the Quran, and 100 years old, as per the Bible. But god was only testing Ibrahim to see whether he was willing to put aside everything for the sake of god to obtain larger things from the almighty. God didn’t really want any human sacrifice. The moment Ibrahim got ready to sacrifice his son, a sheep suddenly appeared from nowhere and a hidden voice asked Ibrahim to sacrifice the sheep, instead of his son, as he had passed the god’s test. That is why it’s written in Quran: “It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches allah, but it is piety from you that reaches him.”
This is the first time that I am not celebrating Eid at my home. I hope the fire in Kashmir douses soon, and the beautiful valley resumes as the abode of sufi saints Lal Dedc and Noor ud-Din.

Malware attacks on banking, social sites likely to rise

Irfan Rashid

New Delhi

Banking malware could become a big concern for security experts and users of mobile internet banking. With almost all banks developing dedicated apps for banking, hackers could lev­erage this to trick users and generate illegitimate cash to fuel their intentions, said Quick Heal Technologies in a report here on Thursday.

According to the Quick Heal’s second quarter threat report, detection of trojans, worms, infectors and exploits has been on the rise. The combined figure of adware and potentially unwanted programmes (PUA) category detection is 28 per cent on an average, it added.

Sharing details, Sanjay Katkar, MD & CTO, Quick Heal Technologies, said; “We consider creating awar­eness around IT and cyber security as our prime responsibility and therefore, we have been releasing threat reports periodically.”

He said malware attacks on social networking sites are likely to increase in the near future. By 2018, there could be about 2.55 billion users of the social network. Given the sheer volume of user interaction, such sites become easy targets for online scammers and cyber criminals, he added.

While adware remains one of the major malware, dominance of the ransom­ware family showed no res­p­ite even in this quarter. Locky ransomware continued to maintain its dominance by encrypting files on the infected system and adding the “.locky” extension to them. Due to a lack of decryption possibility, .locky is considered one of the most dangerous ransomware.

Katkar said: “At Quick Heal, our teams constantly monitor the threat landscape and develop solutions to counter these threats. Our threat reports are an attempt towards building safe and secure IT environments and online experiences. We are constantly innovating to equip our consumers and enterprises to monitor and prevent these threats and safeguard their critical data.”

PUA and adware are suspected to be laced with destructive functionalities including damaging or crashing boot sector records of infected computers. Additionally, adware is most likely to be used for delivering ransomware into the targeted systems.

As per the report, “Ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) is another trend which is taking momentum. In RaaS, malware authors sell ransomware along with a customisable kit through the online black market. Interested people can register and download them for free or a nominal fee. Once the ransomware file is customised as per the requirement, it is then spread through the desired infection vectors.”