The 6 stories PR pros need to know on Thursday morning, 3.23.2017

The latest on the London attack; Verizon, AT&T join Google ad boycott; Mercury names six agency leaders as partners; Nominations open for PRWeek's 40 Under 40 2017; and other news to know.

Leading Thursday morning’s news cycle: The latest on the London attack
The man who drove a sport utility vehicle into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and then stabbed and killed a police officer outside Parliament on Wednesday acted alone and was inspired by international terrorism, Met police acting deputy commissioner Mark Rowley told news outlets. Investigations are continuing into the attack that left at least four dead, including the alleged assailant and a policeman, and injured 40. Seven arrests have been made. Facebook activated its safety check feature in London following the incident. BuzzFeed posted a story about misinformation various media outlets were spreading about the attack. The Metropolitan Police comms operation moved into high-alert mode on Wednesday.

Donald Trump Jr. criticizes London mayor after attack
"You have to be kidding me?!" Trump Jr. tweeted in the immediate aftermath of the attack, as he linked to a September 2016 article from The Independent, and paraphrased its headline as: "Terror attacks are part of living in big city, says London Mayor Sadiq Khan." The article featured Khan’s reaction to New York’s Chelsea bombing last year, in which he asked Londoners to be correspondingly "vigilant." President Trump, meanwhile, spoke to British Prime Minister Theresa May Wednesday and called the attack "big news." White House press secretary Sean Spicer applauded the response of British law enforcement officials and promised U.S. support. 

Verizon, AT&T join Google ad boycott
AT&T and Verizon said they will stop advertising on YouTube and Google’s display network until they are reassured their ads won’t play ahead of videos with objectionable content. They are the latest companies to pull advertising from Google’s display network amid concerns that company does not do enough to prevent ads from appearing next to extremist, racist, or otherwise offensive content.

New this morning from PRWeek
Mercury has named six agency leaders in California, New York, and Washington, DC, as partners. The people elevated to partners are Tracy Arnold, Paul Bauer, John Gallagher, Glenn Gritzner, John Lonergan, and Duncan McFetridge. They will join the partnership team, which runs the firm and is led by CEO Kieran Mahoney.

Nominations open for PRWeek’s 40 Under 40 2017
PRWeek is now accepting nominations for its 2017 40 Under 40 list, which celebrates the best young PR talent in North America. The deadline for entries is April 19. Go here for more information.

In other news: GOP fails to reach healthcare deal; Twitter reacts to Team USA's win over Puerto Rico in World Baseball Classic final; Apple responds to hacker’s threat; Alaska Airlines is retiring Virgin America and people are heartbroken

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