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

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Today in Italy: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday
Italy's Lombardy regional council has rejected calls for a smog 'state of emergency' in the region. Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP.

Northern and central Italy hit by heavy rains, Lombardy rejects calls for smog state of emergency, Italy rules out sending ground troops to Ukraine, and more news from around Italy on Wednesday.


Italy's top story on Wednesday:

Veneto under red alert as storms batter northern Italy

Parts of Italy's northern Veneto region were under a 'red' level weather warning on Wednesday as heavy rains battered the area.

Italy's fire service said on Wednesday morning that it had carried out more than 60 rescue operations in the region.

Train services between Milan and Venice were disrupted due to flood risk between the Vicenza and Padua train stations, with Vicenza's mayor describing the city's situation  as "very critical".

An orange weather alert was issued for neighbouring Emilia-Romagna, while 14 other regions received low-risk yellow warnings.

Lombardy rejects calls for smog 'state of emergency'

The right-wing majority governing Lombardy's regional council on Tuesday rejected calls from opposition parties to ask the government to impose a national state of emergency over the area's high levels of air pollution.

"Requesting a state of emergency for smog is bad for Lombardy and discredits the work of our entrepreneurs and farmers," said Environment Councilor Giorgio Maione.

Lombardy routinely ranks among the most polluted regions in Italy; data published by a Swiss company last week sparked a controversy after it ranked Milan, Lombardy's regional capital, as the third or fourth most polluted city in the world.

Councillors for the Five Star Movement and Democratic Party, who made the request, accused the council of denying that the region has a pollution problem.


Italian family freed from captivity in Mali

An Italian couple and their adult son who were taken captive in Mali in May 2022 have been released and were due to arrive back in Rome on Tuesday, Italy's government said.

Rocco Langone and Maria Donata Caivano, in their 60's, and Giovanni Langone, in his 40's, were kidnapped from outside their home in the Malian city of Koutiala by a "jihadist faction", according to a statement from the government.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's office blamed the kidnapping on a faction linked to the Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM), which is connected to Al-Qaeda, AFP reported.

"I want to express my heartfelt congratulations for the release of our three compatriots kidnapped in 2022 in Mali," Meloni said, thanking Italy's foreign intelligence service, AISE, for its "extraordinary work, alongside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which achieved this difficult result". 

Italy rules out sending ground troops to Ukraine

Italy's government on Tuesday said it would not deploy ground troops in Ukraine, following French President Emmanuel Macron's refusal to rule out doing so.


"Since the start of Russia's aggression two years ago, all the allies have been unified over the support to offer Kyiv," the government said in a statement, as reported by AFP.

"This support does not envisage the presence on Ukrainian territory of troops from European or NATO states."

Speaking to reporters while on a trip to Zagreb, Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said Italy needed to be "very cautious because we must not make people think we are at war with Russia."


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