Nine things for PR pros to know Wednesday morning, 8.27.2014

Massive Time Warner Cable outage; Burger King makes its case that Tim Hortons deal wasn't a tax-cutting move; Former NYT comms leader to move to Alibaba.

1. Time Warner Cable customers around the country were reporting widespread Internet service outages on Wednesday morning. The company offered updates on its TWC Help Twitter account, but did not give an ETA on when service would be restored.

2. Robert Christie, the former New York Times Co. and Dow Jones & Co. communications leader, tweeted Tuesday night that he is joining Alibaba Group as its VP of international media at the beginning of next month. He will relocate to San Francisco. Christie joined Burson-Marsteller last fall.

3. Amid a customer uproar, Burger King is claiming that it is taking over Tim Hortons and relocating its corporate headquarters to Canada in an effort to grow globally, not because it is a tax-cutting move. If that wasn’t a tough enough sell, BuzzFeed explained Tuesday night how companies with Canadian bases avoid taxation on profits made overseas.

4. Gap released statistics late Tuesday showing that it pays women equally to men and that nearly half of its EVPs and other executives are women. Nationwide, women earn about 82% of what men make, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. The retailer released the data as its neighboring technology companies in Silicon Valley are under fire for the lack of diversity in their ranks.

5. Apple is planning to release an iPad with a nearly 13-inch screen next spring, noticeably larger than current editions, according to a report by Bloomberg News. The company is also widely expected to unveil larger iPhones this fall.    

6. Top Republican congressional investigator Darrell Issa has ordered the Labor Department to produce records on its public affairs spending, which he has derided as "frivolous" and a "misuse of agency resources."

7. Freelance journalist Peter Theo Curtis arrived back in the US on Tuesday night after he was released by an al Qaeda branch in Syria. Qatar’s government brokered his release.

8. International Monetary Fund chief Christine Legarde is under investigation by French authorities about her role awarding compensation to a businessman in 2009, when she worked for the government of then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy. She has denied wrongdoing.

9. Snapchat has received a valuation of nearly $10 billion as Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers has agreed to invest in the disappearing message service. Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that the platform is planning to diversity its offerings with news, TV and movie clips, and ads.

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