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The Olympic Rings installation in Odaiba Marine Park, Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Stanislav Kogiku/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

North Korea's sports ministry announced Tuesday that it's decided to pull out of this summer's Tokyo Olympics "to protect athletes from the global health crisis caused by the coronavirus."

Why it matters: North Korea is the first country to withdraw its team from the Games because of pandemic concerns.

  • South Korea's Unification Ministry said it had hoped to use the event to improve inter-Korean relations, which have deteriorated amid an impasse on nuclear talks with the U.S., AP notes.

The big picture: COVID-19 has already delayed the Olympics by a year.

  • Japan's government is forging ahead with its plans to hold the event in the summer, despite local concern about an uptick in coronavirus cases and a sluggish vaccine rollout.
  • Officials have said there will be "ample anti-virus measures" in place at the Olympics, per AP.

Flashback: North Korea gets bafflingly positive coverage at Winter Olympics

Go deeper

Updated Apr 5, 2021 - World

India surpasses 100,000 new COVID cases in 1 day for first time

A health worker collecting a swab sample in New Delhi, India, on Sunday. Photo: Amal KS/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

India's Ministry of Health confirmed 103,558 new COVID-19 infections on Monday.

Why it matters: It's the first time the country has reported over 100,000 new coronavirus cases in one day. India is the second country after the U.S. to reach that milestone.

Bernie Sanders: U.S. must recognize that "Palestinian rights matter"

Sen. Bernie Sanders. Photo: Stefani Reynolds via Getty Images

The United States must encourage an immediate cease-fire in the Middle East and adopt an "evenhanded approach" that recognizes Palestinians and Israelis have a right to "live in peace and security," Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) wrote in a New York Times opinion on Friday.

Driving the news: Violence escalated this week after Israelis intensified efforts to evict Palestinians from their homes in Jerusalem. Hamas fired rockets and Israel massed troops, leaving more than 125 Palestinians and seven people in Israel dead.