The 7 stories PR pros need to know on Wednesday morning, 12.9.2015

2015 PRWeek Hall of Fame honored; Dow, DuPont eye merger; Trump statements criticized abroad and at home; Chipotle pushes back against E. coli reports; More on Volkswagen's emissions crisis; Yahoo scraps Alibaba stake sale, could spin off core business instead.

Meet the 2015 class of the PRWeek Hall of Fame
The 2015 class of the PRWeek Hall of Fame was honored Monday night in New York City. Mike Fernandez, David Finn, Joele Frank, Ginger Hardage, Betsy Plank, and Gary Sheffer were recognized. Go here for tributes to the six inductees.

Dow, DuPont could tie up, then split up
DuPont and Dow Chemical are in advanced merger talks towards a deal that could create a chemicals giant with a combined market value of $120 billion. The two companies would merge, then split up into various businesses, according to Reuters.

Trump statements criticized abroad
Donald Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims entering the US has met widespread criticism abroad, with a "Ban Trump" petition gaining steam in the UK. The candidate sat down with Barbara Walters to clarify the remarks. BuzzFeed’s editor said it’s ok to call The Donald a racist.

Comments draw condemnation from the White House
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest took the rare step of wading into the presidential election on Tuesday, saying Trump’s remarks disqualify him from the presidency. He got in a few zingers about Trump’s hair and "carnival barker routine," as well.

Chipotle clarifies cause of Boston incident
Mexican food chain Chipotle pushed back against reports to say it is norovirus, not E. coli, that is responsible for members of the Boston College men’s basketball team getting sick. Health officials are still looking for the cause of the recent E. coli outbreak in the Pacific Northwest.

Report: VW hid emissions problem in 2004
Years before the emissions scandal plaguing the company came to light, Volkswagen hid problems with an emissions part in some of its vehicles form US regulators in 2004, according to The Wall Street Journal, citing internal documents from the automaker.

Yahoo scraps sale of Alibaba stake
Investors concerned about tax risks have forced Yahoo to scrap its proposed sale of its stake in Alibaba Group. It’s another blow for embattled Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who has struggled to turn around the company’s fortunes. The company could spin off its core business instead. 

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