Eight things PR pros need to know on Wednesday, 11.12.2014

International regulators fine major banks; US journalists feel dissed by Chinese president; Nowling joins Finn Partners in Detroit.

1. Regulators from the US, UK, and Switzerland fined major banks such as JPMorgan, Citibank, UBS, and the Royal Bank of Scotland a combined $3.4 billion on Wednesday morning for trying to manipulate foreign-exchange markets.

2. Walmart issued a memo to local managers last month, urging them to improve the retailer’s dairy, meat, and produce sections. One challenge faced by Walmart, according to analysts: too few employees in its stores.

3. President Barack Obama and his counterpart from China agreed to landmark measures to combat climate change on Wednesday, adding to trade and military agreements already reached during this week’s APEC summit.

Then at a joint press conference — a rarity for Chinese leaders — things got awkward. Asked about his country’s strict policies on foreign journalists, President Xi Jinping refused to immediately answer a question from an American reporter, calling on a Chinese journalist instead. US-based scribes covering the summit complained about the snub on Twitter.

4. Bill Nowling, the chief press aide for Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr, is stepping down to join Finn Partners, where his first job will be to find the firm permanent office space in the city. The agency launched operations in the Motor City earlier this year.

5. Toyota is recalling nearly 362,000 cars around the world, including 170,000 Camry models, to fix three separate defects.

6. Spotify has responded to Taylor Swift’s defection from the music-streaming service by emphasizing that it does indeed reimburse artists generously. CEO Daniel Ek said the company has paid out $2 billion to artists since its launch in 2008.

7. Expect a lengthy court battle between the federal government and cable and Internet giants over the Obama administration’s decision to regulate the Web like a public utility. The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit has rejected two previous Federal Communications Commission rulings on Net Neutrality, according to Reuters.

8. Yahoo agreed to buy digital video advertising service Brightroll for $640 million in the company’s first deal since earning more than $9 billion via the sale of part of its stake in Alibaba Group. 

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