Planet Charity: Belgian minister blacks up for charity event

Plus: Mitt Romney steps into the boxing ring, and embarrassment for an Australian telethon

Planet Charity: stories strange but true
Planet Charity: stories strange but true

You might think that if you were a foreign minister you would be acutely aware of all the ways you might cause offence to people. Sadly, that doesn't seem to apply to Didier Reynders, who holds the aforementioned position in Belgium. He caused a bit of a stink when he blacked up at a charity rally in Brussels last month. The event is run by an association called Les Noirauds (the Blacks), which was founded in 1876 and raises money for children's charities by getting people to dress up as 19th century African nobles. Reynders said that he blacked his face only as part of the age-old tradition of the event.

Whereas Reynders took a verbal battering for his actions, Mitt Romney, the defeated Republican candidate in the 2012 presidential election, is in line for a physical beating in the US after agreeing to step into a boxing ring for charity with the former heavyweight world champion Evander Holyfield. The stunt, which takes place in Salt Lake City, the state capital of Utah, on 15 May, will be in aid of Charity Vision, which supports people with sight problems in developing countries. Romney said: "It will either be a very short fight, or I will be knocked unconscious." He seems not to have considered the possibility that both statements might turn out to be true.

In Australia, broadcasters were left red-faced after a caption flashing up the names of donors to a charity telethon in aid of the Royal Children's Hospice in Melbourne highlighted a $32.38 donation from a generous soul called Hugh G Rection. Whatever you say about him, he's an upright fellow.

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