"Fast food companies including McDonald's and Coca-Cola are helping to fund a multimillion pound advertising campaign urging Americans to eat more healthily," reports the Guardian. Burger King, Heinz, Kelloggs, Kraft, Nestle, Pepsi, Procter & Gamble, Monsanto, and Unilever Bestfoods are also funding the $2.4 million campaign, code-named "Activate."
Former reporters for the Taliban news service describe how they were ordered to inflate figures of civilian casualties from the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan. Casualty estimates today still range from a low of 1,000 to a high of around 3,000. Some of the former Taliban reporters are still at work, now for the new government. Mohammed Ismail Qanay "keeps a photo of himself from his days as a reluctant co-conspirator in the Taliban's propaganda factory, when he was required to wear the tunic and pantaloons, a turban and a flowing beard.
Advertising Age's Bob Garfield in his Ad Review column gives the ad campaign created by Qorvis Communications for the Embassy of Saudi Arabia zero stars. "The ads are signed 'The People of Saudi Arabia,' but that's a lie," Garfield writes. "And so is the premise. For decades, the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia and other so-called 'moderate' Arab states has been a deal with the devil. We sponsor their corrupt, repressive, authoritarian regimes with cash and weaponry. They sell us oil. Such unholy alliances, dictated by Cold War realpolitik, were bound to create backlash ....
The Independent of England has obtained a copy of a secret internal memorandum circulating in the UK's Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which proposes an "urgent" change in the law by November to crack down on objections to the genetically modified crops.
A Turkish court has sentenced a journalist to a suspended prison term of 20 months for writing that ordinary Turks have litle hope for a fair trial. Meanwhile, the head of the international journalist group Reporters Without Borders has been banned from entering Turkey, after the group called Turkey's top general a "predator of press freedom."
"The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia has paid Qorvis Communications $3.8 million since it signed a one-year $200,000 a-month contract on Nov. 14 with the 15 percent Patton Boggs-owned PA shop," trade publication O'Dwyer's PR Daily reports. "The bulk of those outlays ($2.9 million) were for advertising services to position the Kingdom as a trusted ally of the U.S. and a partner in President Bush's 'war on terror.' QC, in turn, paid its advertising contractor Sandler-Innocenzi $2.5 million for work on the ads.
Argentina's Ministry of Economy is paying Zemi Communications $300,000 a year for media relations, reports O'Dwyer's PR Daily. Meanwhile, current President Eduardo Duhalde asked the World Bank to let it delay repaying $800 million in loans that come due this week according to a New York Times article. "Zemi Communication's job is to pitch the Ministry's revitalization efforts with financial institutions and the international press," O'Dwyer's writes.
William Nash, a retired U.S. Army major general, was one of the members of the United Nations fact-finding mission assigned to investigate what happened in Jenin during the Israeli incursion into the Palestinian refugee camp last month. Unfortunately, the team never got a chance to do its work. "Israel's need for clarification turned to obstruction and then to blockage. Our mood in turn changed from bemusement to frustration to anger," Nash writes.
"The Philippines Dept. of National Defense is relying on Weber Shandwick to keep in touch with the Pentagon, White House, Congress and various federal agencies under a two-year contract worth $20,000 a month," reports PR trade publication O'Dwyer's. "The Philippines has the second biggest deployment of U.S.
"To generations of Israeli fans, Yaffa Yarkoni has been 'the Singer of the Wars.' Whenever troops marched into battle, they could be sure Yarkoni would follow. Clad in fatigues, she raised spirits at the front with her rousing renditions of patriotic songs," writes Mary Curtis.