The Daily Fix: Chinese Billionaire Serenades Homeless, Chaos Erupts in Iraq, and McDonald's Pays for Gas Leak

Takepart.com

Thu, 19 Jun 2014 11:07:37 PDT

Chen Guangbiao is an eccentric Chinese billionaire who wants America to know that his country's one-percenters are not all corrupt fat cats who blow wads of cash on Ferraris.

That's why he's offering to buy 250 homeless people a fancy lunch in Central Park, the New York Post reported.

Chen says he will bus regulars of the New York City Rescue Mission to the Loeb Boathouse and treat them to an appetizer of sesame-crusted tuna, a beef fillet entrée, and berries with crème fraîche for dessert.

Homeless people outside the mission voiced enthusiasm for the idea of a hot meal—shelters often serve sandwiches and other cold dishes. 

The magic doesn't stop there. The recycling kingpin will also give attendees $300 in gifts and personally serenade them with the anti-hunger ballad "We Are the World." Move over, Lionel Richie.

"I want to spread the message...that there are good philanthropists in China and not all are crazy spenders on luxury goods," Chen told the South China Morning Post.

The announcement came via a full-page advertisement in The New York Times, which can cost up to $175,000. In the advertisement, a photo of Chen shows him adorned with medals.

The ad also says he wants to establish a $300 million "U.S.-China philanthropic fund" to improve Sino-U.S. relations. 

Though that sum is impressive, the scale of the media attention Chen's free lunch stunt is getting is far greater than the onetime impact the meal will have for 250 homeless people. On one January night in 2013, there were more than 600,000 homeless people in the United States.

In other news...

Chemical Weapons Taken: Sunni extremists have taken over Saddam Hussein's premier chemical weapons production facility, Al-Muthanna, but U.S officials say the weapons there are old, contaminated, and hard to move. (via Wall Street Journal)
  Sabers Rattle: Iraq's descent into chaos has stoked tensions between neighboring Iran and Saudi Arabia. Iran's president says Iran will defend Shiite holy sites in southern Iraq. Saudi Arabia is warning to stay out of it. President Obama says it's not America's place to choose Iraq's leaders. (via The New York Times)
  American Apparel Disrobes: CEO Dov Charney was ousted Wednesday by the company's board of directors after ongoing investigations into several instances of sexual assault. (via Los Angeles Times)
  McDonald's Pays: A former employee who was fired for reporting a gas leak is getting $10,000. (via Consumerist)
  Texas, Forever: Gov. Rick Perry is authorizing "surge operations" along the border with Mexico to stop illegal crossings into the U.S. (via Los Angeles Times)
  The Opposite of Infamous: Actors Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield are trying to promote causes they care about while ducking paparazzi. (via People)

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