Jessica Jing Ren, 36, died after the double decker bus crashed into a railway bridge in Swansea.
The past few weeks have been difficult for the voters of the Peach State.
As the nation and the world watched, Georgia took center stage in a battle that will define our country in a very practical sense for the next four years. But also, in a larger sense, how this country will move forward into the future.
Like Americans in every other state, Georgians went to the ballot box on and in the weeks leading up to Nov. 3; to cast their vote for president, for senator, or maybe just the local town council.
A record 1.3 million voters cast ballots absentee by mail here. Another 2.7 million cast ballots in-person during Georgia’s gold-standard three weeks of early voting. Around 1 million waited on lines averaging a miniscule 3 minutes on Election Day.
By all accounts, Georgia had a wildly successful and smooth election. We finally defeated voting lines and put behind us Fulton County’s now notorious reputation for disastrous elections. This should be something for Georgians to celebrate, whether their favored presidential candidate won or lost. For those wondering, mine lost — my family voted for him, donated to him and are now being thrown under the bus by him.
Elections are the bedrock of our democracy. They need to be run fairly and, perhaps more important, impartially. That’s not partisan. That’s just American. Yet some don’t seem to see it that way.
When I took office, I committed to running elections in Georgia with integrity. After any election, half of the voters will be happy and the other half will be disappointed. But I wanted to make sure everyone felt confident in the process and confident in the outcome.
And as Nov. 3 came to a close, Georgia’s voters had every reason to be. Again, short lines on Election Day. Record turnout. Record early voting and record absentee by mail voting.
In the days that followed, a losing presidential campaign refused to accept the facts, following a playbook written by a failed gubernatorial candidate two years before. A failed senate candidate with nothing to do tried to undermine the integrity of Georgia’s elections. A self-described “attorney for the damned” took up the cause. An onslaught of fake news and unrepentant disinformation threatened to tear the fabric of our country apart. People on both sides of the aisle generated controversies out of nowhere to stir up trouble.
Incompatible bedfellows: I saw identity politics tear the Occupy movement apart. Economic leftists must ditch wokeness.
Even as Georgia embarked on its first statewide audit, a process that was only possible because of the state’s new printed paper-ballot system, those who requested the full hand recount triggered by the audit of such a close race lined up to undermine its credibility. Those who had so long been beneficiaries of the electoral process sought to tear it apart at its very foundations.
But still, integrity matters.
When the nation is caught in turmoil, as it has been through several presidential terms, the people of Georgia and their fellow Americans will look to leaders with integrity for guidance.
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Throughout my two years as secretary of state, I have fought repeatedly to uphold the integrity of elections in Georgia. We worked with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to strengthen signature matching for absentee ballot voters. We outlawed ballot harvesting and implemented a new voting system with printed paper-ballots that voters could hold and review before casting for the first time in nearly 20 years. We fought frivolous lawsuits from fringe groups and a failed gubernatorial candidate seeking to undermine laws passed by state legislators who were actually elected by the voters.
In times of uncertainty, when the integrity of our political system is most at risk, the integrity of our politicians is paramount.
Many of my fellow Republicans are men and women of integrity. They demonstrate it each and every day: fighting for their constituents, fighting for liberty, and fighting for fair and reliable elections.
In times like these, we need leaders of integrity to guide us through.
Brad Raffensperger is the secretary of state of Georgia.
You can read diverse opinions from our Board of Contributors and other writers on the Opinion front page, on Twitter @usatodayopinion and in our daily Opinion newsletter. To respond to a column, submit a comment to email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Georgia Secretary of State Raffensperger: Elections call for integrity
The visitors should have gone in front inside four minutes as Timo Werner inexplicably blasted over from close range with the goal gaping.
Hudson-Odoi’s low cross just needed to be steered into the net, but the German forward fired well over the bar from six yards out.
They did grab the lead midway through the first half though when Mason Mount’s pinpoint 50-yard pass behind the Rennes defence allowed Hudson-Odoi to sprint clear, before he showed excellent control and provided a cool finish past Alfred Gomis.
Gomis saved brilliantly from Mount, but it was Mendy who was the busier of the two goalkeepers. He was finally beaten on 85 minutes as Guirassy was left unmarked at a corner and powered his header into the net.
It looked to have sealed a point for the home side, but when Rennes gave up possession just outside their box, Hakim Ziyech set up Werner, whose shot was saved by Gomis, only for Giroud to head in the rebound.
Meanwhile, a squabble over seating arrangements on the team bus cost Club Brugge forward Emmanuel Dennis a place in the squad for Tuesday’s clash at Borussia Dortmund, Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws reported.
The 23-year-old Nigerian stormed off the bus after being told he was not allowed to sit in his preferred seat due to social distancing measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the report said, and he did not make the trip to Germany.
Brugge manager Philippe Clement said in his pre-match news conference on Monday that Dennis was fit but unavailable for selection due to disciplinary reasons.
“He didn’t follow the club’s rules, that’s all I want to say about that … I prefer to concentrate on the players who are available to me,” Clement added.
Dennis, who joined Brugge in 2017, scored twice in their 2-2 Champions League draw at Real Madrid last season.
He also netted in the Belgian club’s victory over Zenit St Petersburg in their opening group match in Europe’s elite club competition this season.
Brugge are third in Group F with four points from three games, behind leaders Dortmund and Italy’s Lazio.
Sports news, results and expert commentary delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up to the Herald‘s weekday newsletter here and The Age‘s weekly newsletter here.
Elderly patients and businesspeople in a regional Victorian community are frustrated at remaining cut off from Adelaide, their closest capital city, even as other travel restrictions begin to be lifted.
While South Australian Premier Steven Marshall this week indicated his state’s hard border with Victoria could be softened in a fortnight’s time, a requirement to self-isolate on arrival in South Australia could scotch hopes of an immediate return to normality for those who commute between Mildura and Adelaide.
A backlog of patients in north-west Victoria awaiting medical treatment has been gradually building in the months since South Australia closed its border earlier this year, with visiting specialists refused exemptions from mandatory quarantine requirements on their return home.
“More patients are now suffering because of those policies than [COVID-19] itself, and that’s not right,” Dr Arthur Karagiannis, an Adelaide eye surgeon who has been treating people in Mildura since 2004, said.
Many patients with glaucoma, diabetes and cataracts have waited weeks or months to see him; some unable to drive in the meantime.
“The reality is even before COVID, [many of these patients] can’t travel,” Dr Karagiannis said.
“Your postcode should not determine the access of treatment.”
Dr Karagiannis’ applications to be exempt from South Australia’s mandatory quarantine requirements have been rejected, despite including a COVID-safe plan whereby he would stay on the New South Wales side of the Murray River on trips to Mildura, change gowns between patients, and avoid contact even with other clinical staff during break times.
He said medical specialists would “present no material risk to the people of South Australia if we go [to Mildura]”.
“The reason why we’ve become a lot more upset about the decision is we know that an orthodontist has been granted an exemption but not the rest of us and that is just completely outrageous,” Dr Karagiannis said.
“And we can’t get a reply as to why one health professional can go to Mildura and not self-isolate, whereas the rest of us have to self-isolate.”
A spokeswoman for SA Health said: “Exemptions are considered on a case by case basis and take account of local epidemiology including evidence of community transmission,” she said.
It’s not only medical patients who feel isolated by South Australia’s stance on treating Mildura like the rest of Victoria.
Michael Scheiffers began commuting to Mildura each week from his home in the Adelaide suburb of Aberfoyle Park when he took a job at a motor dealership in the regional centre in July last year.
He hasn’t been able to return to South Australia since authorities revoked his essential worker permit just as Victoria’s second wave began to take hold mid-year.
“I’ve got a 12-year-old daughter in Adelaide, so I haven’t seen her for basically six months out of 10 this year,” Mr Scheiffers said.
Mr Scheiffers described the border block as “incredibly frustrating”, given Mildura has had just one case during Victoria’s second wave.
His partner Claire Aberle decided to join him in Mildura in late August fearing they would otherwise be separated for months.
Staying together away from their Adelaide home has proven costly for the couple, who had to rent a unit in Mildura and buy new whitegoods.
Having now “run out of money”, Ms Aberle will return to Adelaide once the hard border is lifted, even if that means completing 14 days in quarantine.
But Mr Scheiffers’ day job means he has to wait for a fully open border to join her.
“Fourteen-day quarantine doesn’t work for lots of us that work across the border and the more people you talk to, the more people you realise actually do do that,” Mr Scheiffers said.
Mildura’s only privately-operated bus link to Adelaide, Tambray Coaches, announced its closure mere days before Mr Marshall’s announcement, unable to afford to continue operating amid heavy restrictions.
It was a blow that prompted Mildura’s state MP Ali Cupper to declare her region needed better transport links to Melbourne because it could no longer rely on its historic links to South Australia.
More buoyant is Qantas, which is understood to be preparing to launch direct flights between Mildura and Adelaide once restrictions end.
But Tambray Coaches’ 34-seater bus can only fit 12 passengers under social distancing rules, and South Australia’s requirement for mandatory quarantine when the border does reopen would prevent people making day or weekend trips, at least initially.
“It’s not profitable to be able to run unless there is free travel, no restrictions, between Victoria and South Australia,” coach operator Tony Prowse said.
“All this sort of stuff is still just not enough to be getting excited about for me, and it’s probably too late for me to say I have the reserves to get the business up and running again.
According to a source familiar with the incident, the vehicles were a “Trump Train group.”
These groups are known in parts of the state and organize events that involve their cars with flags and Trump paraphernalia and drive around to show support for the President.
The group began yelling profanities and obscenities and then blockaded the entire Biden entourage.
At one point they slowed the tour bus to roughly 30 km/h on Interstate 35, the campaign official said.
The vehicles slowed down to try to stop the bus in the middle of the highway.
The source said there were nearly 100 vehicles around the campaign bus.
Biden staffers were rattled by the event, the source said, though no one was hurt.
Neither Mr Biden nor his running mate, California Sen Kamala Harris, were on the bus.
Staffers on the bus called 911, which eventually led to local law enforcement assisting the bus to its destination.
The Biden campaign, out of what was described as an abundance of caution, ended up canceling an event scheduled for later that day in Austin, the aide said.
Texas State Rep. Rafael Anchía told CNN’s Ed Lavandera that Wendy Davis was on the bus.
Davis is a former state senator who is challenging Rep Chip Roy for the Texas Hill Country area congressional seat.
“Rather than engage in productive conversation about the drastically different visions that Joe Biden and Donald Trump have for our country, Trump supporters in Texas today instead decided to put our staff, surrogates, supporters, and others in harm’s way,” Biden campaign Texas communications director Tariq Thowfeek told CNN.
“Our supporters will continue to organize their communities for Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and Democrats up and down the ballot, and to the Texans who disrupted our events today: We’ll see you on November 3rd,”
Meanwhile, Joe Biden is making his final stand on the “blue wall” that President Donald Trump toppled four years ago.
The Democratic presidential nominee is spending Sunday campaigning in Philadelphia. He’ll speak early in the afternoon at a “Souls to the Polls” event aimed at getting Black church attendees to vote, and then hold a drive-in rally in the evening.
It comes after he spent Saturday in Michigan campaigning with former President Barack Obama, and Friday in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa – visiting a region that Hillary Clinton’s campaign was accused of ignoring, only to watch several states once considered reliably Democratic slip away in Election Night stunners four year ago.
Mr Biden’s decision to focus his final days of campaigning on northern battlegrounds showed that – while polls show him with narrow leads in other battleground states across the Sun Belt – his campaign believes winning back enough White, working-class voters to rebuild the “blue wall” of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin represents his clearest path to 270 electoral votes.
“It’s time for Donald Trump to pack his bags and go home,” Mr Biden said on Saturday night in Detroit.
CNN polls released on Saturday showed Biden with a 52% to 44% lead in Wisconsin, one of the nation’s leading hot spots in the coronavirus pandemic as cases spike there, and a 53% to 41% advantage in Michigan.
Mr Trump barnstormed Pennsylvania on Saturday, holding rallies in Newtown, Reading, Butler and Montoursville.
“We win Pennsylvania, we win it all – you know that, right?” Mr Trump said on Saturday night in Butler.
He praised his administration’s response to the pandemic, claiming a vaccine would “end the pandemic once and for all,” and that the country is “now just weeks away from the mass distributing of a safe vaccine.”
A woman has been arrested after allegedly setting fire to a teenager’s hair on a bus in Adelaide’s northern suburbs earlier this year.
The incident occurred along Heytesbury Road in Davoren Park on June 29 and was unprovoked, SA Police said.
An investigation by police, with assistance from the public, has led to the arrest of a 49-year-old Davoren Park woman.
She has been charged with aggravated assault causing harm.
Footage from the time of the incident shows a woman entering the bus at the Elizabeth Shopping Centre Interchange.
The woman sits directly behind the victim before reaching over the seat and setting her hair alight.
A friend of the victim helped to extinguish the fire which left the teenager with minor burns to her scalp.
The Davoren Park woman has been banned from using public transport for three months and will face the Elizabeth Magistrates Court in December.
It follows other incidents on Adelaide’s public transport this year including alleged physical and racial attacks on passengers and drivers.
Passengers on board a bus in Glenelg East were left terrified and forced to duck for cover as a man used roadworks equipment to smash windows on a public bus in June.
Footage of another altercation in August circulated on social media showing a young man verbally abusing three young women.
A Sydney bus driver has been found guilty of dangerous driving occasioning death over a double fatal collision in the city’s south.
Luis Rojas, 50, told a jury he was “blinded” by the lights of oncoming traffic when his empty state transit bus ran into the back of a motor scooter at Kingsgrove in January last year.
Chen Guan Wei and Su-Po Hsu were killed after the two men were thrown from the scooter and into the path of other vehicles.
The jury watched a three-and-a-half minute CCTV video showing Rojas not wearing his seatbelt, playing music on his phone, pushing buttons on a ticket machine and re-adjusting his rear-view mirror before the collision.
It took jurors just over a day to find the bus driver guilty of two counts of dangerous driving occasioning death.
Rojas stared at the ceiling and then closed his eyes before the verdict and gave no visible reaction to the outcome, but one of his supporters began to sob in court after the verdict.
During the District Court trial, Crown Prosecutor Roger Kimbell argued Rojas chose to multitask and demonstrated a “continuous course of dangerous driving” before the incident.
“What it was, based on the evidence, was an accident waiting to happen,” he said.
The CCTV included the moment of impact and a loud, sudden bang in the video caused jurors to jump in their chairs.
The court heard both victims wore high-visibility clothing and their scooter was stationary with an indicator blinking, waiting to turn.
Defence barrister Varinder Pawar conceded his client, who has 12 years of experience as a bus driver, did some things behind the wheel which he wasn’t meant to.
But Mr Pawar argued the series of separate actions were not “interconnected” as to amount to dangerous driving.
He urged the jury to decide the case on the moments just before the smash, rather than the minutes recorded in the CCTV, and said the rear-view mirrors had become misplaced.
“The mirrors were an actual problem which required the accused to divide his attention between the road and the mirrors,” Mr Pawar said.
The Crown said Rojas made no mention of being “blinded” by headlights during a 40-minute interview with police after the crash.
“I didn’t see them [the victims],” he told officers.
Driver Ting Ting Zhu recalled being “terrified” when one of the scooter riders was thrown under her car before she saw a motionless person “folded” and stuck beneath one of the tyres.
The maximum penalty for dangerous driving occasioning death is 10 years in jail.
The men from Sydney’s west are out to break a 17-year premiership drought against Melbourne on Sunday night and if they succeed then the celebrations (socially-distanced, of course) will be worth the wait.
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This week, Penrith legends Ryan Girdler and Craig Gower reflected on how they celebrated their 2003 premiership when they beat the Roosters in the decider. Talking to Triple M Sydney’s Moonman in the Morning, Girdler told a wild story about the team trying to get to Penrith Park to present the trophy to fans two days after the grand final.
Full of booze and with a severe lack of sleep, the Panthers allegedly wandered out of a pub several kilometres from the park with no idea how they were going to get to their destination.
Girdler said there were “22 of us walking along the side of the road, a little bit worse for wear” until a school bus approached and stopped just ahead of the pack.
The way the former NSW centre remembers it, the bus driver kicked all the kids off the bus, asked a lady waiting nearby to look after the students and gave the Panthers a lift before turning around and picking the kids back up after he’d done his civic rugby league duty.
Seventeen years on, Girdler may have added some mayonnaise to that story and on Wednesday, champion Penrith halfback Gower spoke to Moonman in the Morning to clear up some of the details.
As Gower put it, the bus escapade was “more of a hijacking” and the players wanted to be taken to another pub, not the park. “I was the one who actually stopped that bus,” he said. “We were partying at the time.”
The former captain explained how his teammates convinced a young journalist to join them for the grand final celebrations so he could write a story. After getting kicked out of a club, Gower said the Panthers filled a taxi full of alcohol and headed to a mate’s place to carry on the party before the bus incident took place.
Instead of being invited on with open arms, Gower said: “I was more saying, ‘You need to take us to the pub, we need to get there’.”
After conflicting versions of the brilliant grand final bender, Aussie comedian Lawrence Mooney tracked down the original source, finding “Bob the Bus Driver” to deliver the facts.
“I proceeded out on my normal run and I thought, ‘Gee, there’s a lot of fellas on the road’ and I thought they might have been partying,” Bob told Triple M on Thursday.
“When I got closer to them I thought, ‘They’re the Panthers’.
“Craig Gower came up to the window and said, ‘You know who we are, don’t you?’
“They all commandeered me and they all got on the bus.”
Fortunately, Bob had been a Panthers supporter since the 1960s and knew he needed to step up. He radioed his bosses, who gave him the all-clear to abandon his usual route and help the bleary-eyed players out.
Bob pinpointed Penrith greats Mark Geyer and Greg Alexander as the “controllers” of the whole operation and suggested Gower was more affected by the festivities than most of the others.
However, Bob denied kicking any kids off the bus to make room for the players.
Only time will tell if this year’s celebrations — should the Panthers beat the Storm — reach the great heights of 2003.
A primary school bus driver in Western Australia’s South West region has been charged with allegedly blindfolding a 14-year-old girl, driving her somewhere and sexually assaulting her twice.
The principal of a primary school in WA’s South West has told parents sex charges laid against a bus driver did not relate to his work.
Cleve Maynard Pain has appeared in Bunbury Magistrates Court charged with assaulting a 14-year-old girl.
It is alleged the 51-year-old met the teenager online via an instant messaging app and arranged to meet her in person.
He allegedly met her earlier this month and blindfolded her before driving her to a location where he sexually assaulted her.
Police say he blindfolded her again and drove her back to where he collected her.
He has been charged with two counts of sexual penetration of a child over 13 and under 16, one count of intent to expose a child to indecent material and one count of possessing child exploitation material.
The WA Education Department has said the man drove a bus for one public primary school, not a high school.
The ABC understands the principal of the primary school has written to parents saying “It is understood the charges do not relate to his duties as a bus driver”.
The principal said, “I understand this news may be concerning to families and as such, when available, I will provide as much information as I am able to.
“If you have concerns about your child, you may wish to contact WA Police directly”.
A replacement driver was arranged so there would not be an impact on the service.
Police say their investigation is ongoing.
Cleve Maynard Pain is due to appear in court again on October 26.