SWC’s Fast Five

A flag is retired while the Boeing 737 Max takes flight again, Russia is said to pay for American soldier deaths, companies boycott Facebook and chronic under funding of public health departments continues as the pandemic rages.

So, here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1 The last state flag in the U.S. that includes the Confederate battle emblem will be retired.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signed a bill this week to retire the last U.S. state flag to feature the Confederate battle flag. The governor’s action follows the state legislature’s passage of the bill Sunday following weeks of racial justice protests across the country.

2 FAA approves tests flights of the Boeing 737 Max.

Grounded in 2019 after two fatal crashes that killed 346 people, certification flights conducted by Federal Aviation Administration pilots will get under way as early as next week. If the flights are successful, it could still be months before the planes are deemed ready to fly again.

3 Intelligence reports say Russia offered bounties to the Taliban for killing American soldiers.

The White House denies that President Trump was briefed on intelligence assessments as early as the beginning of 2019 that Russia secretly offered the Taliban money for the deaths of Americans.

4 Facebook ad boycott goes global.

What started as a campaign by a coalition of civil rights organizations, #StopHateforProfit” called on major corporations to halt advertising on Facebook in July due to its failure to address proliferation of hate on its platforms. Even with a nearly 9 percent decline in stock price, it remains to be seen if this can move Facebook Inc to change.

5 Public health spending continues to tank.

Spending for state and local health departments dropped by 16 and 18 percent respectively since 2010. In the midst of a pandemic, county budget cuts loom across the country for a system already underfunded and under threat.