International

Coke Busted for Promoting Myths

The Australian government's consumer watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), has forced Coca-Cola to take out advertisements in national newspapers to correct its misleading advertisements. In October 2008, Coca-Cola ran full-page ads featuring a prominent Australian actress, Kerry Armstrong.

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Australian Police Unspun

After pleading guilty to counts of perjury and three of disclosing a confidential hearing, the former media director for Australia's Victoria Police, Stephen Linnell, has been fined $A5,000 and sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for two years. Linnell, a former journalist, became a friend of the then-assistant commissioner, Noel Ashby, after being appointed media director in 2003. In May 2007, Ashby was a suspect in an investigation by the Office of Police Integrity (OPI) into the leaking of confidential information.

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Six Years Later, Iraqis Ready for the U.S. to Leave

Six years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, "violence and insecurity are no longer the main concern of most Iraqis," according to a poll conducted for the BBC and other news organizations. The poll results (pdf) show that Iraqis' top personal concerns are unemployment and rising prices.

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Branding El Salvador's New President

The narrow election win of Mauricio Funes as President of El Salvador has spurred extensive media coverage on the political success of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, a center-left party that has its roots in the guerilla movement of the 1980s. However, none of the media coverage mentions the role of the Washington D.C.-headquartered political consulting firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner.

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Cayman Islands Searching for Friends in High Places

Fleishman-Hillard (F-H) is busy trying to open doors for Cayman Islands government ministers keen to lobby members of the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. With the U.S.

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No Credit for Bankers

The former chairman of the banking and insurance group HBOS, Lord Stevenson, and chief executive Andy Hornby, along with the Royal Bank of Scotland's Sir Tom McKillop and Sir Fred Goodwin, appeared before a British parliamentary committee and profusely apologized for their role in the financial meltdown of the banks they had directed. If the four thought their apologies would garner sympathy, they misread the public mood.

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Consultants Rush in to Help Russia

St. Basil's Cathedral on Red Square, MoscowThe public relations firm Ketchum, which "works with the highest levels of Russia's Government and the state-owned energy monopoly Gazprom," has hired the Alston & Bird lobby firm to work on the account. The lobby firm "of former Senate Majority Leaders Bob Dole and Tom Daschle will deal with trade, energy, economic and politico-military issues at a $35K-a-month rate," at least through the end of May 2009, reports O'Dwyer's. Russia paid Ketchum $2.9 million from August 2008 to January 2009. The PR firm helped Russia finesse its invasion of Georgia in August 2008 and its cutting off natural gas supplies to Ukraine. The firm secured a CNN interview for Vladimir Putin, "coordinated President Dmitry Medvedev's Council on Foreign Relations event (in November 2008), organized a meeting for Washington reporters with Kremlin spokesperson Alexey Pavlov and arranged a Wall Street Journal meeting with Gazprom deputy chairman Alexander Medvedev." Previously, Ketchum placed Russia-themed paid supplements in the Washington Post and helped Putin become Time magazine's "Person of the Year" for 2007.

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South Korea Seeks the Calming Influence of Spin Doctors

The Korean Ministry of Labour has appointed Fleishman-Hillard (F-H) to "develop a strategic communications campaign to address pressing labour-related issues within the domestic market," reports Media magazine. David Blecken reports that F-H will run a one-year campaign which will "aim to maintain social harmony by building a greater level of understanding between the government, business community, unions, employees and other related interest groups." The South Korean Embassy in Washington D.C.

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Thin Veil of "Patriotism" May Extinguish Chinese Cigarette Billboards

Pedestrians pass by "Love our China" cigarette billboard (from Shenzhen Daily)Patriotic billboards around Shanghai, China carry the Chinese expression for "Love our China." The message, however, uses a variation for the word China, "Chungwa," which happens to be identical to the name of a

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