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The first cruise ship in Venice since the beginning of the pandemic. Photo: Luca Zanon/Awakening/Getty Images

Italy's government on Tuesday announced it will ban large cruise ships from sailing into Venice after declaring the city's lagoon a national monument.

State of play: Italy's Council of Ministers said the ban, which will take effect on Aug. 1, will help protect the city's "environmental, artistic and cultural heritage."

The ban applies to ships that weigh over 25,000 tons. Cruise ships "that have sailed into Venice’s harbor can be nearly four times that weight," the Washington Post writes.

The big picture: The government was under pressure from Venice residents and from the United Nation's cultural protection agency, UNESCO, which declared the lagoon a World Heritage Site in 1987. The agency had demanded that Italy ban large ships from the lagoon with the "utmost urgency."

  • City residents had been rallying on small boats, carrying signs on the waterfront that read, "No big boats," the New York Times reports.

What they're saying: The ban "constitutes an important step for the protection of the Venetian lagoon system," Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said in a statement.

  • UNESCO celebrated the government's decision, saying that Venice "has been facing complex and systematic problems for many years, such as the impact of high tide and wave motion on the foundations of historic buildings, the negative effects of mass tourism on the ecosystems of the lagoon" and housing changes that led to the mass departure of its residents.

Go deeper

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings sues Florida over law banning vaccine passports

Photo: Richard Tribou/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

One of the world's biggest cruise companies filed a federal lawsuit in Florida on Tuesday over a law that bans vaccine passports, Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: Norwegian Cruise Line had threatened to pull its ships from Florida ports after Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a bill in May barring businesses from requiring customers' proof of vaccination.

Biden says presidency "will be determined" by outcome of spending plans

President Biden walks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after addressing the House Democratic caucus on Thursday. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden told the House Democratic caucus Thursday "my presidency will be determined" by the votes he wants in the next week on his $1.75 trillion social safety net expansion and $1.2 trillion infrastructure package.

Driving the news: Biden made the comment, according to a source in the room, as he tried to rally support for the $1.75 trillion package. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi acted immediately, calling for a vote on the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill later in the day.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
33 mins ago - Energy & Environment

China declines to speed emissions cuts in new UN pledge

A view of the skyscrapers in the haze in Shanghai, China, in December 2020. Photo: Feature China/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Chinese leaders are sticking with a prior target to bring the country's carbon emissions to a peak before 2030, according to documents filed with the United Nations Thursday under the Paris climate agreement.

Why it matters: The new documents come just days ahead of the UN climate summit (COP26) in Glasgow. China is by far the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter, and its emissions path is key to whether the temperature-limiting goals of the Paris agreement can remain within reach.

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