Nine things for PR pros to know Wednesday morning, 9.15.2014

Second healthcare worker tests positive for Ebola in Dallas; Journalists try to work around White House changes to pool reports; AbbVie and HP call off potential deals; Michelle Obama's 'Turn Down for What?' parody.

1. A second healthcare worker who treated a patient with Ebola at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas has tested positive for the disease, state officials said early Wednesday morning.

The news comes as nurses at the hospital accused it of shoddy practices for containing the disease, saying they worked without appropriate protective gear amid unclear protocols from the hospital.

The US government, meanwhile, is setting up a rapid-response team to help hospitals in hours after a patient tests positive for Ebola, with the CDC’s chief acknowledging that such a system could have helped with earlier cases.

President Barack Obama is scheduled to hold a conference call on Wednesday with leaders from the UK, Germany, Italy, and France to discuss Ebola and other significant international issues.

A majority of Americans (56%) said the country is ready for an Ebola outbreak, but only one in 10 said it is "very prepared," according to an NBC News /Wall Street Journal poll.

2. Journalists covering the White House are testing new ways to distribute pool reports amid complaints that the Obama administration, which distributes the write-ups, is heavy handed in demanding changes to them.

3. Drug-maker AbbVie is reconsidering its $54 billion takeover of Irish pharma company Shire — a deal that would allow it to move its tax base to Europe — after the US put rules in place making it more difficult for companies to set up "tax inversion" deals. Shire shares dropped precipitously Wednesday morning in London trading on the news. Bloomberg News called AbbVie’s cold feet "the biggest casualty of the US crackdown on so-called tax inversions."

4. HP has ended merger talks with EMC after weeks of spinning its tires, Reuters reported Tuesday night. HP said earlier this month that it was planning to split into two companies: one making PCs and printers and the other focused on business products such as data servers. Corporate comms experts explained the do’s and don’ts of talking about a corporate split to PRWeek last Friday.

5. Qualcomm has embraced CSR — the British maker of chips for Bluetooth and other wireless devices, that is. The acquisition is worth $2.5 billion.

6. Bill Simmons is set to return to ESPN on Wednesday after serving a three-week suspension for  criticizing National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell on his podcast. What happens next "could become something of a litmus test for the rising power of individual brands in a rapidly shifting media landscape," according to The New York Times.

7. Toyota said Wednesday morning that it is recalling 1.7 million cars for brake problems and possible fuel-component defects.

8. Job cuts at CNN began in New York and Washington, DC, on Tuesday. About 170 layoffs and 130 buyouts are expected.

9. First lady Michelle Obama was asked by a presidential impersonator during a Tuesday Twitter Q&A, "On average, how many calories do you burn every time you turn up?" Her response, posted on Vine, quickly became a social media sensation: #TurnipForWhat.

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