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Today in Italy For Members

Today in Italy: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday

Elaine Allaby
Elaine Allaby - [email protected]
Today in Italy: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday
Vatican Museums employees say they lack basic worker rights and protections. Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP.

Police target 142 suspects in mafia raid, Vatican Museums staff protest over treatment, 14 new beach destinations awarded Blue Flag status, and more news from Italy on Wednesday.

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Italy's top story on Wednesday:

Italian police on Tuesday targeted 142 suspected members of the Calabrian 'Ndrangheta mafia, they said in a statement, including clans involved in drug trafficking that are historically based in the southern city of Cosenza.

Around 109 people were detained following a dawn 'maxi' raid that involved Carabinieri federal police, local forces and specialist agents from the economic crimes unit, led by anti-mafia prosecutors from the city of Catanzaro, AFP reported.

The suspects are accused of crimes including 'Ndrangheta membership, "drug trafficking aggravated by mafia association", and other offences, according to the police statement.

Catanzaro's Public Prosecutor Vincenzo Capomolla told reporters that mafia groups were "asphyxiating" Cosenza's shopkeepers through extortion, on top of their primary activity of drug trafficking, according to AFP reports.

Vatican Museums staff protest over treatment

Forty-nine employees of the Vatican Museums have launched a petition over what they say are unfair working conditions, threatening legal action unless steps are taken to improve their situation.

The museums are an important source of income for the city-state, attracting some seven million visitors each year.

But longtime custodial staff say they lack basic worker rights and protections, and were made to pay back the salaries they received during Italy's Covid-19 lockdown by working off their 'debt', Corriere della Sera reported on Sunday.

The workers are represented by lawyer Laura Sgrò, who also acts on behalf of the family of missing Vatican City teenager Emanuela Orlandi in the ongoing investigation into her 1983 disappearance.

14 new Italian beach destinations awarded 'Blue Flag' status

14 Italian towns gained 'Blue Flag' status for their beaches for 2024, following the publication of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE)'s annual global rankings on Tuesday.

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The FFE awards the coveted label to the world's beaches that meet the highest water quality and environmental standards.

MAP: Which regions of Italy have the most Blue Flag beaches in 2024?

A total of 485 beaches across 236 Italian towns received the recognition this year, an increase on 458 beaches across 226 towns in 2023. Four towns - Ameglia and Taggia in Liguria, Margherita di Savoia in Puglia and Marciana Marina in Tuscany - lost the status.

The 14 new towns awarded the Blue Flag in 2024 are spread across the Liguria, Puglia, Sicily, Trentino Alto Adige, Campania, Calabria, Marche and Abruzzo regions, according to Skytg24.

Italy to push back 'sugar tax' to 2025

Italy's government is set to push back a controversial tax on sugary soft drinks from July 1st to the start of next year, financial newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Tuesday.

"We are currently making an effort to search, very laboriously, for financial coverage to postpone the entry into force" of the tax, Economy Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti told reporters.

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The tax, which was first introduced in the previous Conte government's 2020 budget law but has been repeatedly postponed, is designed to combat obesity and other health problems linked to excessive sugar consumption by encouraging consumers to seek out healthier alternatives.

But soft drinks companies petitioning the government to push back the deadline once again have warned it could lead to some 5,000 job cuts across the sector.

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