AIG spokesman Nick Ashooh has defended the company -- which received $180 billion in U.S. taxpayer funds -- over criticism of its hiring of four PR firms. Michael Weisskopf reports that Sard Verbinnen & Co.
The energy company Entergy has hired yet another public relations firm to promote its Indian Point nuclear power plant in New York. Entergy's new firm is the Breaux Lott Leadership Group, which will "deal with nuclear issues as the license of its Indian Point facility ... is up for renewal." The firm's leadership, former U.S.
Wisconsin law sets two conditions that must be met before new nuclear power plants can be built in the state. One is that there must be "a federally licensed facility" for high-level nuclear waste. In addition, the proposed nuclear plant "must be economically advantageous to ratepayers."
It's a law that the nuclear power industry doesn't like. Given the near-death of the planned waste storage facility at Yucca Mountain, and the estimated $6 to $12 billion cost (pdf) of building one nuclear reactor -- not to mention the lack of interest from private investors and the tanking economy -- Wisconsin's law effectively bans new nuclear plants in the state, for the foreseeable future.
Earlier this year, the major U.S. industry group Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) registered four lobbyists in Wisconsin.
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.
Wal-Mart Stores plans to hire a few outside public relations firms to develop "fresh, emotional PR programming" promoting its grocery, health, clothing, home, hardware, auto and entertainment products, along with Wal-Mart's events, financial services and website. Edelman, which has been Wal-Mart's main PR firm for three years, is among the five or six finalists for the major account.
After years of bad press over no-bid contracts and massacres of Iraqi civilians, the private military contractor Blackwater Worldwide has changed its name to the cryptic "Xe" (pronounced "Zee"). In an eerily similar move, disgraced sub-prime mortgage lender Countrywide announced that its new name is the smooth-sounding "Bank of America Home Loans." Rounding out the triumvirate of chameleons, Baghdad's Abu Ghraib Prison, made infamous worldwide for the torture and abuses perpetrated inside its walls by both Saddam Hussein and the U.S. government, is changing its name to "Baghdad Central Prison."