Italy OKs aid mega-package for flooded north, with museum ticket surcharge to help pay for it

ROME (AP) — The Italian government has approved more than 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion) in aid for the flood-stricken region of Emilia-Romagna in the north. Premier Giorgia Meloni said the assistance approved at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday includes suspension of tax and mortgage payments through August for those who suffered flood damage. The flooding last week claimed at least 14 lives. Twenty-one rivers overran their banks and hundreds of landslides were triggered by a heavy concentration of rainfall, which couldn’t be absorbed by terrain that had been parched by a lack of rain for weeks. To help fund the aid, the government is considering temporarily raising state museum ticket prices by 1 euro ($1.1) and holding a special lotto game.