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Photo: Milos Bicanski/Getty Images

Seattle became the first major U.S. city to ban plastic straws and utensils on Sunday — a conservation move that officials hope will decrease plastic waste and encourage behavioral changes, per the Seattle Times.

Why it matters: The idea has been gaining traction worldwide as plastic waste pollutes the world's oceans and harms marine animals, but Seattle is by far the largest U.S. municipality to enact such a ban. Other U.S. towns like Malibu, Davis and San Luis Obispo in California, as well as Miami Beach and Fort Myers in Florida have passed similar ordinances banning plastic straws.

Outside the U.S., Scotland plans to ban plastic straws by the end of next year, and Taiwan is banning single-use plastic items, including cups, straws and shopping bags by 2030. British Prime Minister Theresa May made a similar pledge earlier this year to end the nation's avoidable plastic waste within the next 25 years.

  • Per the Strawless Ocean campaign, drinking straws are too lightweight to make it through industrial recycling sorters. They frequently end up getting blown in the wind, ultimately ending up in the ocean.

Go deeper

UN report: Pandemic set to cost global tourism $2 trillion in 2021

A tourist in front of the Eiffel Tower on November 25, 2021 in Paris. Photo:Chesnot/Getty Images

A new United Nations report warns that global tourism will see only modest revenue gains in 2021 after last year's historic losses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why it matters: Tourism revenues in 2020 fell by more than half from the previous year — a significant blow to the global economy, according to analysis by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

2 federal judges temporarily block Biden vaccine mandates

President Biden delivers remarks on the Omicron COVID-19 variant at the White House on Nov. 29. Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

The Biden administration was temporarily blocked from enforcing COVID-19 vaccine mandates for millions of workers by federal judges in two states on Tuesday.

The big picture: The orders, by federal judges in Kentucky and Louisiana, come one day after a federal judge in Missouri halted the mandate, which has a Jan. 4 deadline, in 10 states.

2 hours ago - World

Honduras elects first female president

Honduran President-elect Xiomara Castro, of the Libertad y Refundacion (Libre) Party, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, on Sunday. Photo: Inti Ocon/Getty Images

Former Honduras first lady Xiomara Castro is set to become the country's first female president president, after the ruling party conceded defeat in the country's elections on Tuesday night, per AP.

Why it matters: The democratic socialist and her Libre Party have broken a 12-year run for the conservative National Party, which U.S. prosecutors alleged fostered a "narco-state," note Axios' Latinos' Marina E. Franco and Russell Contreras.