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One-legged Australian performer Roya Hosini denied entry to Eiffel Tower, Paris catacombs

A one-legged Australian woman, who was denied entry to two tourist attractions in France due to safety concerns, is angry after being told that granting her entry to one of the landmarks would be like "letting a blind person fly a plane".

Roya Hosini, a performer from Melbourne, was born with one leg and has not used her prosthetic leg in years because she says it slows her down and hurts after just a few hours.

Ms Hosini travels the world working as a performer and is living in Brussels where she is taking part in theatre production FRONTX, using her crutches to send her spinning and spiralling into the air.

And while she has no problem rollerblading the streets of Paris on just one leg, getting into the city of love's tourist attractions has not been as easy.

Last year she was barred by guards from heading to the top level of the Eiffel Tower, despite buying tickets at the bottom with her crutches on full display.

"They said it was narrow and not safe and in case of an emergency … [I might be] blocking the traffic because I'd be going too slow," Ms Hosini said.

She said having to descend the tower in full view of everyone was humiliating and made her feel "like s***".

This month, Ms Hosini was barred entry into the city's catacombs, again over safety concerns.

"They're just so fixed on the rules and it's so ridiculous because it's not like humans come in [one] exact shape, size [and] ability," Ms Hosini said.

The catacombs are an underground chamber of tunnels decorated with the skulls and bones of French citizens.

The distance covered at the tourist site is 1.5kms with 130 steps down and 83 steps back up to street level.

"You can't just give one rule for people, especially people with disabilities," she said.

"Every case is unique, even every case that has one leg or every case that's in a wheelchair. Every case is separate, you cannot just generalise that rule.

"That's what made me furious."

She said she had to watch on while larger people, older people, younger people and children were all allowed entry.

Ms Hosini tried to argue her point with one of the guards, only to be told that granting her admittance would be like "letting a blind person fly a plane".

She said she spoke with a manager on the phone but that he hung up on her.

She said the guard refused to give his or his manager's name.

Ms Hosini said while she understood there were safety concerns in the event of an emergency, she wanted tourist officials to be able to exercise greater discretionary powers when it came to granting entry to people with disabilities.

Catacombs says guard's behaviour 'deplorable'

A spokesperson for the catacombs said the matter was only raised with them when they were contacted by the ABC.

"This is an unfortunate event that we deplore," they said.

"We do not tolerate this kind of behaviour; on the contrary, we try to welcome everybody in our sites.

"In case of a conflict with a visitor, the policy stands that the guard who has to enforce rules and procedures has to refer to his direct manager or to the site manager, which in this case didn't seem to have been done.

"Our official will take any measure necessary to start a disciplinary action."

The spokesperson said the physical aspect of the visit didn't allow disabled visitors. That included people with heart or respiratory problems, those of an anxious disposition, young children, and persons with reduced mobility.

The catacombs spokesperson said those details were conveyed on entrance boards, as well as on the website and brochures.

The catacombs spokesperson urged Ms Hosini to contact them so they could apologise to her directly.

The Eiffel Tower has not responded to a request for comment.

Varying levels of accessibility overseas

A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said there was information on its Smartraveller website to assist Australians with disabilities to prepare for overseas travel.

DFAT said it did so, recognising that accessibility provisions and regulations varied throughout the world.

Lonely Planet's accessible travel manager Martin Leng said while extra planning for people with disabilities was essential, tourism staff also needed to play their part.

"Disability awareness training among staff at tourist hotspots goes an awful long way in making the lives of people with a disability easier," he said.


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Laughs and sadness — The life of Australian consular officials in Thailand

THE man came to the Australian Embassy with a hat in hand asking for taxpayer support to pay for a lady of the night — fortunately, the request was declined.


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I actually worked for Australian Development Aid once upon a time. I was covering for them until they got an Australian volunteer program(me) started. I went to the embassy every month to get paid. The Aus embassy was beautiful back in the 1980s, before embassies turned into military fortresses. (Hanoi was the first to do that, after it took over Saigon's embassy in Bangkok. The friendly, inviting South Vietnamese embassy suddenly got surrounded by high walls with gun slits in them and a locked iron gate. You couldn't even peek inside. Those commie bastards had a bunker mentality, viewing everyone else as an enemy.)

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British man dies from sea snake bite in Australia

A British man has died after being bitten by a sea snake on a fishing trawler in Australia, police have said.

The man, 23, had just pulled up a net off the coast of the Northern Territory when he was bitten about 09:00 local time on Thursday (23:00 GMT Wednesday).

Emergency crews were called to the boat, near island Groote Eylandt, but were unable to save the man.

It may be the first recorded death from a sea snake in Australia, according to researchers.

The man's body was taken to the mainland town of Borroloola on Thursday. Northern Territory Police said a post-mortem would be conducted.

A British High Commission spokesperson said: "We are supporting the family of a British man who has died in the Northern Territory and are in contact with the Australian authorities."

Sea snakes are highly venomous, but because of their limited contact with humans, bites are relatively rare.

Australia is home to 30 of 70 known species, according to the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

Blanche D'Anastasi, who researches the animal at James Cook University, said she believed Australia had no previously recorded deaths from sea snakes.

Associate Prof Bryan Fry, from University of Queensland, described it as a "tragically unlucky accident".

"By and large they are very gentle animals, and people do go scuba diving with them all the time," he told the BBC.

"But in a fishing trawler situation, where they've been potentially dragged through the water in a net, they will come up injured and perhaps looking to lash out."

Sea snakes are often encountered by fishing crews in the region, Ms D'Anastasi said.

According to research published last year, snakes were responsible for 27 deaths in Australia between 2000 and 2013.



I spent my first month in Thailand at Prachuab Khirikhan, and I never really felt comfortable swimming with sea snakes around me. You'd see them quite near you at times.




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I know one guy that survived, he was bitten in the Phillipines, apparently only a glancing bite, he was able to make it back to NZ for treatment, many years later he met his death in the Phillipines, fell off a roof he was building for his wife's family. He was 84. One of life's nice guys.

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Australia considers forcing new migrants to live in rural areas


The Australian government has unveiled a proposal to force new migrants to live outside Sydney and Melbourne.

The policy would aim to ease congestion in Australia's two biggest cities while boosting regional areas, Population Minister Alan Tudge said on Tuesday.

The government may introduce visa conditions to limit where some migrants live for up to five years, he said.

However, some experts have questioned whether the idea is enforceable and likely to achieve its goals.

Currently, about two-fifths of Australia's 25 million people live in Sydney and Melbourne.

Though Australia's population growth rate ranks 77th globally, according to the World Bank, it is high among OECD nations - rising by 1.6% last year.

The growth has been driven largely by migration, with most people settling in Melbourne, Sydney and south-east Queensland, according to the government.

That has contributed to infrastructure and congestion problems, with Melbourne and Sydney each expected to exceed eight million residents by 2030.

What does the government say?

"Settling even a slightly larger number of new migrants to the smaller states and regions can take significant pressure off our big cities," Mr Tudge said in a speech on Tuesday.

The proposal is not detailed at this stage, but such visas could carry a "geographical requirement... for at least a few years".

Other incentives would also be offered, Mr Tudge said, in the hope that migrants would remain in regional areas permanently.

Such visa restrictions would not extend to migrants on family reunion or employer-sponsored visas, he said.

The Labor opposition said the idea should be considered, but raised concerns about its lack of detail.

Immigration and population experts told the BBC that such measures would not necessarily reduce congestion in cities.

"There is a strong argument for the government to redirect new migrants to the bush... but there needs to be sufficient employment for them, and that's the big Achilles heel of the whole idea," Prof Jock Collins from the University of Technology told the BBC.

Prof Peter McDonald, a demographer at the University of Melbourne, said the issue extended beyond migration.

"In Australia, the population growth has run ahead of infrastructure - we have been slow to put in the appropriate systems such as public transport networks that are needed for large cities."

And former Australian Border Force chief, Roman Quaedvlieg, questioned whether the policy could be enforced.

However, said Prof Collins, research showed that migrants had thrived in smaller communities with strong employment.

"Most of them have really liked living there in the bush, and said they had a warm welcome," he said.



Can you imagine the international outcry if Trump had proposed and idea like this?  :hmmm:



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