King Charles III said Tuesday there could be “no excuse” for British colonial atrocities against Kenyans as he visited the country, but did not offer the apology demanded by some in the East African nation.
The move was reportedly in retaliation for the fast-food restaurant issuing free meals to Israeli troops
A pro-Palestine activist filmed himself releasing dozens of mice spray-painted in the colors of the Palestinian flag into a McDonald’s restaurant in the UK on Monday, several reports have indicated.
The brief video – which is captioned ‘Enjoy your rat burgers’ – has been viewed online at least 1.6 million times in the past 24 hours, and shows a man wearing a Palestinian flag on his head releasing the rodents into the fast-food eatery, prompting several shocked customers to scream and scurry away.
“Free f**king Palestine!” the unidentified man says as he returns to his car. “Boycott Israel! F**k Israel!”
The demonstration follows a decision by the chain’s Israeli operation to provide meals free of charge to Israeli troops amid the Jewish state’s renewed conflict with the Palestinian militant group Hamas, according to the Jerusalem Post.
On Sunday, McDonald’s stated that it was donating meals free of charge “to all those who are involved in the defense of the state, hospitals and surrounding areas.”
A man throws a bunch of mice into a packed McDonald’s in London to protest against Israel.
He shouts “Free Palestine” pic.twitter.com/Mzmb8AfQ0M
— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) October 30, 2023
About 1,400 people, many of whom were civilians, were killed in a Hamas incursion into Israeli territory, with more than 200 hostages also seized. In retaliation, Israel has launched an unprecedented bombardment of Gaza, with Palestinian officials saying that more than 8,300 have been killed in the besieged coastal enclave as of Monday.
“We are aware of an incident in our Birmingham Star City restaurant this evening where a number of mice were released by a member of the public,” a McDonald’s spokesperson told UK broadcaster LBC on Monday.
“Following the removal of the mice, the restaurant has been fully sanitized and our pest control partners have been called out to conduct a full inspection,” the statement added.
Animal welfare group Viva! Said on Tuesday that, while it is “deeply distraught” at the loss of life in the Middle East, “using poor mice and rats and setting them free in a McDonald’s is not the way to make a political point.” It added that the stunt amounts to nothing more than “animal cruelty, plain and simple.”
Gary Mond, chairman of the National Jewish Assembly, added to the Jerusalem Post that “from a political perspective, [the demonstration] is totally futile.”
“It will do nothing to bring any support to the ‘Free Palestine’ cause,” Mond added, claiming the movement was based on “Jew-hatred.”
UNICEF has decried the Israel-Hamas war, saying its worst fears about the staggering child death toll are being realized
The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has reiterated its call for a humanitarian ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war, saying the conflict is killing thousands of kids in Gaza and putting many more at risk from the violence and a water crisis.
“Gaza has become a graveyard for thousands of children,” UNICEF spokesman James Elder told reporters on Tuesday in Geneva, “It’s a living hell for everyone else.” He noted that more than 3,450 children in the Palestinian enclave have already been killed, and the death toll rises significantly every day.
Elder made his comments as Israel escalated its ground offensive in Gaza in response to the Hamas terrorist attacks that killed an estimated 1,400 people on October 7. Gaza’s water system also has been crippled by the conflict, contributing to an overall death toll of more than 8,000 in the territory.
“The threats to children go beyond bombs and mortars,” Elder said. He added that Gaza’s water production capacity has been cut to 5% of its normal level, putting more than 1 million children at risk of dying from dehydration. Many children have been sickened by drinking salty water out of desperation.
Elder noted that even before the latest war between Israel and Hamas, more than three-fourths of Gaza’s children were identified as needing mental health support because of the trauma they had faced. “When the fighting stops, the cost to children and their communities will be borne out for generations to come,” he said.
With Gaza’s children “living through a nightmare,” the UNICEF spokesman said, Israel must end its siege of the territory. He called for all access crossings into Gaza to be open, allowing for the safe passage of food, water, fuel, medical supplies, and other humanitarian aid. “And if there is no ceasefire – no water, no medicine, and no release of abducted children – then we hurtle toward even greater horrors afflicting innocent children.”
Israel’s government has blasted the UN, arguing that the body has not sufficiently condemned the atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7. West Jerusalem’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, announced on Monday that members of his delegation would respond by donning yellow stars, alluding to the labels that Jews were forced to wear during the Holocaust. “From this day on, each time you look at me, you will remember what staying silent in the face of evil means,” he said in a speech to the UN Security Council.
Lloyd Austin has urged the Senate to approve another $44 billion in military aid to Kiev
If the US stops funding Ukraine, Russia will win the ongoing conflict between the two countries, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday, making the case for $44 billion more in military and other aid to the government in Kiev.
“I can guarantee that, without our support, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin will be successful,” Austin told the senators. “If we pull the rug out from under them now, Putin will only get stronger and he will be successful in doing what he wants to do.”
Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken were asking the lawmakers to approve President Joe Biden’s $106 billion supplemental funding request, which has bundled the Ukraine funding with aid to Israel and Taiwan, among other things.
Of the proposed $44.4 billion for Ukraine, $12 billion would go towards buying weapons and $18 billion would be spent on replacing weapons the US has already sent Kiev.
Cybersecurity, “intelligence support” and “enhanced presence” of US troops in Europe would cost another $10.7 billion, while $3.7 billion would be spent to “expand production capacity in our industrial base,” according to Austin’s opening testimony.
Both cabinet secretaries embraced the White House’s new talking points for Ukraine aid, portraying it as a way to support the US economy by expanding industrial production and creating new jobs for Americans, though it has done neither so far. The US has already spent $43.9 billion on “security assistance” to Kiev since February 2022, by the Pentagon’s own reckoning.
Austin’s argument echoed the one made by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky to congressional Democrats last month, according to a feature published in Time Magazine on Monday. If the US does not send Ukraine more aid, “we will lose,” Zelensky reportedly said.
The article also quoted Zelensky’s aides, who described him as delusional, unwilling to accept that Kiev is “out of options” and “not winning,” while issuing orders that some line commanders have begun to refuse.
Meanwhile, according to Time, even if the US and its allies could somehow supply Kiev with all the weapons and ammunition it needs, Ukraine has run out of men to use them.
A hearing on US aid requests for West Jerusalem and Kiev has been repeatedly halted by demonstrators demanding a ceasefire in Gaza
A US Senate hearing on emergency aid requests to back Israel and Ukraine in their conflicts with Hamas and Russia, respectively, has been repeatedly disrupted by protestors demanding that President Joe Biden’s administration press for a ceasefire in Gaza.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had to pause his testimony during Tuesday’s hearing several times as protestors screamed, chanted, held up signs, and were eventually removed by security officers. In one case, a man yelled at Blinken to “stop supporting the genocide and ethnic cleansing of the people of Palestine.”
Each time he was interrupted, Blinken stopped speaking and blankly stared straight forward, without reacting to the demonstrators. He testified in support of Biden’s request for Congress to approve $106 billion in emergency security funding, including $14.3 billion for Israel and $61.4 billion for Ukraine.
At one point, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray reacted to the disruptions by saying, “I do recognize that people feel very passionately, but I ask that we have order in this hearing room and respect our speakers. We will move forward with the hearing and allow people here and the American people to hear from their witnesses.”
One woman was pulled from the room as she held up a sign demanding “no more money for Israel” and saying the senators should be ashamed for failing to call for a ceasefire in Gaza. “The world is calling for a ceasefire,” she yelled. “The American people don’t want to support this brutal war.”
Protestors for CodePink disrupt Anthony Blinken over Israel’s war on Gaza. pic.twitter.com/hbk1L0VAhe
— Lowkey (@Lowkey0nline) October 31, 2023
As she stood and screamed, other demonstrators held up their hands, showing red paint on their palms and the words “Free Gaza” written on their arms. Multiple protestors later stood up, holding signs and chanting, “From Palestine to Mexico, all the walls have got to go.”
The disruptions came as protestors around the world and observers, ranging from Pope Francis to Amnesty International, have called for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ruled out the possibility of pausing his country’s incursion in Gaza, telling reporters on Monday that “calls for a ceasefire are calls for Israel to surrender to Hamas, to surrender to terrorism, to surrender to barbarism. That will not happen.”
Netanyahu said Hamas started the war with its terrorist attacks on October 7, and Israel intends to win it. “Today, we draw a line between the forces of civilization and the forces of barbarism,” he added. “It is a time for everyone to decide where they stand. Israel will stand against the forces of barbarism until victory. I hope and pray that civilized nations everywhere will back this fight.”
More than 8,000 Palestinians and 1,400 Israelis have been killed since the latest escalation in Gaza began. Proponents of a ceasefire have cited high civilian casualties. At the same time, family members of some of the hostages kidnapped by Hamas have argued that pausing the fighting would allow more time to negotiate their release. Netanyahu responded that only Israel’s ground offensive in Gaza creates the possibility of saving the hostages because Hamas won’t give them up unless it faces fierce pressure.
The Biden administration, for its part, reiterated its opposition to a ceasefire on Monday. “We do not believe that a ceasefire is the right answer right now,” White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters.
Health ministry in Gaza says more than 50 people were killed in the attack on Tuesday and 150 others were wounded.
Drought has allowed sea water to advance up the Mississippi River, putting drinking water and other resources at risk.
Ethnic rebel groups launched coordinated attacks on military outposts near the border with China.