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A Walmart store in Mountain View, California. Photo: Yichuan Cao/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Walmart will no longer display the Mississippi state flag in its stores, since it is the only flag in the U.S. to embed the Confederate battle flag, the AP first reported and Axios confirmed.

Driving the news: The NCAA announced on Friday that it would no longer hold championship events in Mississippi, due to the Confederate symbol's "prominent presence" on the state flag.

What they're saying: “Displaying state flags in our stores is a common practice nationwide. We know the design of the Mississippi state flag is being discussed by various stakeholders.  While the issue continues to be discussed, we’ve made the decision to remove the Mississippi state flag from display in its current form from our stores," Walmart spokesperson Lorenzo Lopez said in a statement.

  • “We believe it’s the right thing to do, and is consistent with Walmart’s position to not sell merchandise with the confederate flag from stores and online sites, as part of our commitment to provide a welcoming and inclusive experience for all of our customers in the communities we serve," he said.

The big picture: Weeks of protests against police violence and racism have sharpened the focus of a long-standing debate about the place for and relevance of Confederate-era monuments and iconography, Axios' Fadel Allassan reports.

  • Protesters in Virginia and Alabama have toppled Confederate statues in recent weeks, and the U.S. Marines issued a directive ordering the removal of public displays of the flag.

Go deeper: NCAA bans Mississippi championships over Confederate symbol in state flag

Go deeper

Aug 14, 2020 - Sports

NCAA postpones Division I fall championships

Photo: G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images

The NCAA announced Thursday that it has postponed Division I fall championships as individual conferences cancel their seasons due to concerns tied to the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Universities have tried to find ways to safely move forward with fall sports, a major source of revenue for schools. Fall championships for Division II and III were already put on hold.

Scoop: Biden admin call on Putin pipeline provokes GOP anger

Putin chairs a video meeting in July 2020. Photo: Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

A briefing between the State Department and congressional staff over Vladimir Putin's Russia-Germany gas pipeline got tense this week, with Biden officials deflecting questions about why they hadn't moved faster and more aggressively with sanctions to stop its completion.

  • The Biden officials also denied negotiating with the Germans over a potential side deal to allow the pipeline to be finished.
Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Biden: It's "not the time to relax" COVID mitigation efforts — Tracking coronavirus variants through sewage.
  2. Vaccine: FDA advisory panel endorses J&J COVID vaccine for emergency use — About 20% of U.S. adults have received first vaccine dose, White House says — New data reignites the debate over coronavirus vaccine strategy.
  3. Economy: What's really going on with the labor market.
  4. Local: All adult Minnesotans will likely be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by summer — Another wealthy Florida community receives special access to COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.
  6. World: Brazil's capital enters 24-hour lockdown as coronavirus cases surge.