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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The Peace Corps formally notified members of Congress this week that it will withdraw volunteers from China starting in June, according to a statement from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)

The latest: In what could be another sign of worsening relations between China and the U.S. — amidst an 18-month trade war — the University of Maryland said on Friday that it will close its Confucius Institute, the earliest of its kind in America.

Background: The Peace Corps' retreat from China follows a December report from the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) that determined there is a "strong argument" that China committed "crimes against humanity" in its northwestern region of Xinjiang.

What they're saying: "U.S. taxpayer dollars should not be used to bolster Communist China through the Peace Corps, and I’m glad they no longer will," Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, top Republican of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement on Friday.

  • "Today’s decision by the Peace Corps to withdraw its volunteers from China confirms what we all know — China is no longer a developing country," Rubio said in his Thursday statement.

Go deeper: The stakes of a swift U.S.-China decoupling

Go deeper

Updated 14 mins ago - World

Myanmar military fires UN ambassador after anti-coup speech

Photo: Peerapon Boonyakiat/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Myanmar's military regime on Saturday fired the country's ambassador to the United Nations, Kyaw Moe Tun, a day after he gave a pro-democracy speech asking UN member nations to publicly condemn the Feb. 1 coup, The New York Times reports.

The latest: Kyaw Moe Tun told Reuters later on Saturday, "I decided to fight back as long as I can."

1 hour ago - Axios on HBO

Preview: "Axios on HBO" interviews White House Senior Advisor Cedric Richmond

On the next episode of "Axios on HBO," Axios co-founder Mike Allen interviews White House Senior Advisor Cedric Richmond.

  • Catch the full interview and much more on Sunday, February 28 at 6 pm. ET/PT on all HBO platforms.
2 hours ago - World

Italy tightens COVID restrictions as experts warn of growing prevalence of variants

Health workers prepare vaccine doses in Iseo, Italy. Photo: Stefano Nicoli/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Italy on Saturday announced it was tightening restrictions in five of the country's 20 regions in an effort curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Driving the news: The announcement comes as health experts and scientists warn of the more transmissible coronavirus variants, per Reuters.