Planet Charity: Obama shuns the Ice Bucket Challenge

Plus: Australian lothario gives up sex for charity and China's Red Cross Society hopes to benefit from impostor's televised apology

Planet Charity
Planet Charity

In the US, the Ice Bucket Challenge, in which people have a pail of freezing water tipped over their heads and challenge three friends to do the same and/or make a donation to charity, has been attracting the attention of just about everyone who has ever been, or would like to become, famous.

Celebrities including the actors Tom Cruise and Ben Affleck and the singer Lady Gaga are just a few of those who have taken part, but President Obama obviously felt he was cool enough already – he shunned the ice bucket in favour of a donation to a motor neurone disease charity.

In Australia, a former Lothario has succeeded in his challenge to give up sex for a year, raising £50,000 for Free to Shine, an Aussie charity that saves young Cambodian girls from the sex trade. Peter Lynagh, from Melbourne, said the idea grew out of a bet he made with his housemate, who had said Lynagh could not go without sex for a week. "I came close to breaking it," he said. "I started seeing a girl and I think she was just enjoying the fact I wasn't trying to get in her pants." Fair dinkum, sport.

In China, the Red Cross Society was hoping to benefit from a televised apology from Guo Meimei, who had caused donations to the charity to plummet after she appeared on the internet three years ago with her Maserati sports car, handbags and jewellery, while falsely claiming to be the manager of one of the charity's subsidiaries. She now stands accused of trying to set up an illegal casino in Beijing, and issued a tearful apology from prison for her actions. The charity has launched a Forget About Guo Meimei campaign in a bid to restore its fortunes.

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