The 9 stories PR pros need to know on Tuesday morning, 7.7.2015

Report: Japanese authorities to release Julie Hamp; WPP buys German PR firm; Starbucks to hike prices; Indiana Democrats want more details about state's work with Porter Novelli.

1. Prosecutors in Tokyo are planning to release Julie Hamp from prison and will not charge the former Toyota communications leader due to lack of criminal intent, according to Japan’s Kyodo News service. She resigned from the top communications job at Toyota earlier this month after being arrested on drug charges in June.

2. WPP has bought a majority stake in German PR agency Nicole Weber Communications. The firm is based in Hamburg and has about 30 staffers, as well as clients such as Opel and Olympus. It was founded in 1996.

3. Starbucks is hiking prices on products by an average of 5 to 20 cents apiece. However, the price of some hot beverages will jump by 3.5% in some locations in the greater Seattle area.

4. Indiana Democrats are demanding Governor Mike Pence release details about the state’s work with Porter Novelli. Indiana parted ways with the firm, hired in the wake of outage over its "religious freedom" law that was passed and then altered about three months ago, late last week.

5. President Obama outlined the White House’s new strategy for taking on the Islamic State at a Monday press event at the Pentagon. He stressed that the fight will go on for a number of years and the critical role of US allies.

6. Florida State quarterback De’Andre Johnson was dismissed from the university’s football team after a video emerged showing him punching a woman last month at a bar in Tallahassee.

7. Bill Cosby admitted purchasing quaaludes in order to give them to young women he wanted to have sex with in a 2005 deposition, according to documents obtained and reported on by the Associated Press on Monday.

8. The US victory over Japan in the Women’s World Cup final on Sunday night was the most watched soccer match in US history, seen by nearly 27 million viewers. Team sponsor Nike was also one of the tournament’s big winners.

9. South Carolina’s senate took a preliminary vote to remove the Confederate flag from the State House grounds on Monday. The measure has one more vote to go on Tuesday in the body before moving to the state’s House of Representatives.

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