Mon, Aug 08, 2011 - Page 14 News List

Mass blindness claims raise eyebrows in Greece
希臘小島盲人津貼疑遭濫領 當局要查明

A tourist takes photos in front of Zappeion Mansion in Athens on July 27.
一位遊客七月二十七日在雅典扎皮翁宮前拍照。

Photo: Reuters
照片:路透

Greece, battling a crushing debt crisis, said last Tuesday it would probe a suspiciously high rate of blindness benefits claimed by hundreds of residents on one of its islands.

Deputy health minister Markos Bolaris ordered the investigation after more than 600 of about 30,000 residents of the Ionian Sea island were found to be pocketing the support grant, a government source told AFP.

“We do not know how many of these people are actually entitled to the benefits,” the official said, without naming the island or specifying the sums paid out.

Greek daily Ethnos said two percent of the island’s population had claimed the benefit for years, most of them since infancy.

Authorities will now scrutinize the entire Greek social welfare payroll, which costs the state 6.4 billion euros (NT$263.2 billion) a year, the daily said.

The Greek government is trying to limit social overspending as part of a program of cutbacks and austerity measures ordered under pressure from the EU and IMF after the country nearly went bankrupt last year.

Chaotic account-keeping has led to a massive waste of state funds for decades.

Last year, labor ministry officials revealed that millions of euros in retirement grants had been paid annually to long-dead pensioners.

The Panhellenic League for the Blind, one of the main groups representing people with a visual impairment in the country of 11 million citizens, says it has about 5,000 membes.

(AFP)

正力抗倒債危機的希臘當局上週二表示,針對一座小島上有高達六百位居民申領盲人津貼疑案,將進行調查。

根據政府人員告訴法新社的消息,副衛生部長馬爾寇斯‧波拉利斯在得知人口僅三萬人的愛奧尼亞海小島,被發現有侵吞政府的補助後,下令展開偵查。

這位消息位官員表示:「我們不知道真正符合申領該津貼資格的人數。」但此官員並未指明是哪一座島嶼,或是確切說明已給付的總金額。

希臘《民族日報》報導,該島上百分之二的人口已申領這項福利多年了,而且大部分從嬰兒時期就開始申領。

TODAY’S WORDS 今日單字

1. pocket v.

侵吞 (qin1 tun1)

例: The director of the charity finally admitted to pocketing the donations.

(這間慈善機構的主管終於承認侵吞捐款。)

2. scrutinize v.

嚴查 (yan2 cha2)

例: The police are scrutinizing every aspect of the case, leaving no leaf unturned.

(警方正嚴查這起案件的每個面向,任何細節皆不放過。)

3. impairment n.

障礙 (zhang4 ai4)

例: Experts are currently looking for ways to detect progression from Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) to Alzheimer’s disease.

(專家正試圖從輕度認知障礙的病程,找出診測阿茲海默症的方法。)


該日報報導,當局從現在起將嚴查整個希臘每年社會福利支出。希臘國庫每年要背負六十四億歐元(約新台幣兩千六百三十二億元)的社會福利支出。

希臘政府在去年瀕臨破產後,歐盟與國際貨幣基金一致施壓,因此希臘政府在其一項減少支出與財政緊縮計畫中,正試圖限縮社會福利的超支。

混亂的財政管理,數十年來,已對國庫帶來嚴重的浪費。

勞工部門官員去年披露,該國數百萬歐元的退休津貼,每年都付給有些早已過世的退休人口。

泛希臘盲人聯盟表示,其會員人數在這一千一百萬人口的國家,不過只有五千人。該聯盟是希臘代表盲人的重要組織之一。

(法新社/翻譯:林亞蒂)

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