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Social Security Scam: "Blind" Italian Woman Caught Driving

IL MATTINO (Italy)

Worldcrunch

ROME - With some quick thinking, she might have found a good response when the Carabinieri officers pulled her over.

Here's my seeing-eye dog's license...

It's a Google expand=1] car...

Oh, am I in the car? I thought this was the elevator...

Apparently the 66-year-old woman from the central Italian town of Ariccia wasn't quite as quick on her feet as she'd been sly with the state. Busted! Authorities caught it all on videotape (see below): the woman who'd been claiming blindness since 2005 in order to collect a monthly 800-euro check was merrily driving her car around town, the daily Il Mattino reports.

It's certainly not the first time someone in Italy thought that faking a disability was a short cut to easy money. Legendary Italian comic actor Roberto Benigni puts on his best moves in the film Johnny Stecchino when an insurance company auditor comes to check on his unusual (invented) malady.

In real life, it's no joke. Police, who had first videotaped her crossing the street alone and signing paperwork, estimate that the woman had accumulated some 65,000 euros over the years. She was arrested on fraud charges.

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Indigenous Women Of Ecuador Set Example For Sustainable Agriculture

In southern Ecuador, a women-led agricultural program offers valuable lessons on sustainable farming methods, but also how to end violence.

Photo of women walking in Ecuador

Women walking in Guangaje Ecuador

Camila Albuja

SARAGURO — Here in this corner of southern Ecuador, life seems to be like a mandala — everything is cleverly used in this ancestral system of circular production. But the women of Saraguro had to fight and resist to make their way of life, protecting the local water and the seeds. When weaving, the women share and take care of each other, also weaving a sense of community.

With the wrinkled tips of her fingers, Mercedes Quizhpe, an indigenous woman from the Kichwa Saraguro people, washes one by one the freshly harvested vegetables from her garden. Standing on a small bench, with her hands plunged into the strong torrent of icy water and the bone-chilling early morning breeze, she checks that each one of her vegetables is ready for fair day. Her actions hold a life of historical resistance, one that prioritizes the care of life through the defense of territory and food sovereignty.

Mercedes' way of life is also one that holds many potential lessons for how to do agriculture and tourism better.

In the province of Loja, work begins before sunrise. At 5:00 a.m., the barking of dogs, the guardians of each house, starts. There is that characteristic smell of damp earth from the morning dew. Sheep bah uninterruptedly through the day. With all this life around, the crowing of early-rising roosters doesn't sound so lonely.

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