Seven things for PR pros to know Friday morning

Calm emerges in Ferguson, Missouri; SeaWorld to expand habitats for Orcas; Starbucks to give workers more flexibility; Coca-Cola invests in Monster; Chuck Todd to host 'Meet the Press;' Alibaba film studio finds accounting issues.

Seven things for PR pros to know Friday morning

1. The scene in Ferguson, Missouri, shifted dramatically last night after the state’s governor put its Highway Patrol in charge of policing the town instead of local police. Capt. Ron Johnson and other officers were photographed marching with protestors, replacing the heavily armed police presence that patrolled Ferguson in the nights that followed the Saturday shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.

People around the country protested Brown’s shooting on Thursday.

The incident has sparked concern from politicians on both sides of the aisle about the increased use of military tactics and weaponry by local police. Avowed Libertarian Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) wrote a piece for Time condemning the tactics.

2. The Hong Kong-based film studio that Alibaba Group acquired two months ago, Alibaba Pictures, said early Friday that it will delay its earnings report for the first six months of the year due to possible accounting issues. The news raises the question of whether Alibaba acquired too many companies before its US IPO, which is planned for next month, according to various outlets.

3. SeaWorld is set to announce on Friday that it will expand its habitats for killer whales. Earlier this week, it blamed negative publicity over its treatment of Orcas for sagging quarterly earnings.

4. Starbucks said it is changing its scheduling policies to give workers, especially parents, more flexibility. The announcement came after The New York Times reported on the breakneck pace of the life of a 22-year-old barista and mother.

5. Ford is recalling more than 83,000 cars and SUVs, saying a malfunctioning part could cause them to roll away or lose power while parked. The recall includes Ford and Lincoln models.

6. Coca-Cola said Thursday evening that it is acquiring a 16.7% stake in Monster Beverage for more than $2 billion. Some brands will switch sides. Coca-Cola drinks Full Throttle and Play are among those that will shift to Monster, while Hansen’s and Hubert’s will move to Coca-Cola.

7. Chuck Todd was named the new host of Sunday morning news staple Meet the Press,  as NBC News relieved David Gregory of the role after months of speculation about his job. Todd will take over on September 7, while Gregory will leave the network.

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