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Get your fax right: Bungling officials spark Japan nuclear scare

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Bungling Japanese officials sparked a nuclear scare after a violent, late-night earthquake by ticking the wrong box on a fax form — inadvertently alerting authorities to a potential accident.

Employees of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), operator of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata — where the 6.4-magnitude quake struck — faxed a message to local authorities seeking to allay any fears of damage.

But TEPCO workers accidentally ticked the wrong box on the form, mistakenly indicating there was an abnormality at the plant rather than there was no problem.

One official filled out the form, and it was checked by a colleague before being sent.

Many Japanese government departments and companies still rely on fax machines for communication.

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TEPCO’s Tokyo headquarters noticed the mistake, and a correction was published 17 minutes after the original release, the firm’s Tokyo-based spokesman told AFP.

Kashiwazaki city mayor Masahiro Sakurai saw the incorrectly filled-out form and immediately directed staff to check what was happening.

The mayor hit out at TEPCO, which also operated the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant — site of the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl — when an earthquake and tsunami struck in 2011.

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“When a real earthquake is happening, not a drill, this is a massive error,” Sakurai told local reporters, according to the Mainichi Shimbun daily.

“It is extremely poor on their part to make errors in the most important and basic information at a time of crisis,” he said, according to the Asahi Shimbun newspaper.

TEPCO apologised and vowed not to make the same mistake.

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The late-night quake prompted a tsunami advisory, but only small ripples of 10 centimetres (three inches) were recorded.

The government said up to 26 people were injured — two seriously, although not life-threatening.


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Trump’s racism is ‘disqualifying’ for him to remain as president: former White House lawyer

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Former acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal explained on MSNBC on Thursday why he viewed President Donald Trump's racist attacks on four women of color in Congress as disqualifying.

Anchor Brian Williams read a quote from Susan Glasser of The New Yorker.

"Half of the country is appalled but not really sure how to combat him; the other half is cheering, or at least averting its gaze. This is what a political civil war looks like, with words, for now, as weapons," Glasser wrote.

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Lawrence O’Donnell reports on the growing movement for the impeachment of President Donald Trump

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Anchor Lawrence O'Donnell reported on the growing movement for the impeachment of President Donald Trump during Thursday evening's "The Last Word" on MSNBC.

"The House of Representatives conducted a symbolic vote on a hastily written impeachment resolution by Democratic Congressman Al Green in reaction to the president’s tweeted comments that the House of Representatives voted to condemn as racist," O'Donnell reported. "The impeachment resolution had nothing to do with the [Robert] Mueller investigation and referred only to the president being unfit for office because of the language that he has used recently about members of Congress and immigrants and asylum seekers."

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Video proves how far the Trump’s GOP has gone from the era of Ronald Reagan and HW Bush

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The immigration policies of Donald Trump’s presidency would have no room for his GOP predecessors Ronald Reagan or George H.W. Bush—who both embraced work visas, family unification, easy border crossings and a better relationship with Mexico.

That counterpoint can be seen in a very short video clip from the 1980 presidential election where Reagan and Bush—who became Reagan’s vice president for two terms before winning the presidency in 1988—were asked about immigration at a campaign debate in Texas. Their responses show just how far to the right the Republican Party’s current leader, President Trump, and voters who have not left the GOP to become self-described political independents, have moved on immigration.

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