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Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

The State Department has formally announced that the Palestine Liberation Organization's office in Washington, D.C. will be closed due to Palestinian leadership's refusal to engage with the White House on its Middle East peace plan. 

Why it matters: This move further escalates the wave of sanctions imposed by the Trump administration against the Palestinians over the last few months — after the Palestinians chose to cut ties after President Trump's decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. This move is extremely severe because it wipes out any symbols of Palestinian sovereignty in Washington.

  • The State Department said the decision to close down the PLO office came because the PLO "has not taken steps to advance the start of direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel.  To the contrary, PLO leadership has condemned a U.S. peace plan they have not yet seen and refused to engage with the U.S. government with respect to peace efforts and otherwise."
  • Their statement also said the decision was made due "Administration and Congressional concerns with Palestinian attempts to prompt an investigation of Israel by the International Criminal Court."
  • Despite the harsh move, the State Department said that the U.S. "continues to believe that direct negotiations between the two parties are the only way forward" and that it is not retreating from the efforts to get an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

Go deeper

Prosecutors begin closing arguments in Chauvin trial

Steve Schleicher, an attorney for the prosecution in Derek Chauvin's trial, began closing arguments on Monday by describing in detail George Floyd's last moments — crying out for help and surrounded by strangers, as Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd for nine minutes and 29 seconds.

Why it matters: The jury's verdict in Chauvin's murder trial, seen by advocates as one of the most crucial civil rights cases in decades, will reverberate across the country and have major implications in the fight for racial justice.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
4 hours ago - Sports

European soccer is at war

Liverpool celebrating its 2019 Champions League victory. Photo: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Europe's biggest soccer clubs have established The Super League, a new midweek tournament that would compete with — and threaten the very existence of — the Champions League.

Why it matters: This new league, set to start in 2023, "would bring about the most significant restructuring of elite European soccer since the 1950s, and could herald the largest transfer of wealth to a small set of teams in modern sports history," writes NYT's Tariq Panja.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
5 hours ago - Economy & Business

2021's expected earnings blowout begins

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon. Photo: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

First-quarter earnings so far have been very strong, outpacing even the rosy expectations from Wall Street and that's a trend that's expected to continue for all of 2021. S&P 500 companies are on pace for one of the best quarters of positive earnings surprises on record, according to FactSet.

Why it matters: The results show that not only has the earnings recession ended for U.S. companies, but firms are performing better than expected and the economy may be justifying all the hype.