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THE INDIA TIMES, HINDUSTAN TIMES (India), BBC NEWS (UK)

Worldcrunch

CALCUTTA - At least 19 people have been killed and over a dozen critically injured in a fire that broke out early on Wednesday morning at an illegal market in the eastern Indian city of Calcutta.

It took three hours to contain the blaze, but rescue operations are ongoing. People may still be trapped in the old multi-story building that housed the paper and plastic Surya Sen Market in the crowded Sealdah district of the city, BBC News reports.

Toxic gases were released from the flammable materials present in the building, which hampered rescue efforts.

Initial reports suggest a short circuit may have caused the fire in an eatery on the first floor, but Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal, has hinted at a possible sabotage, according to the Hindustan Times.

"Who knows that some people deliberately set the place on fire with an ulterior motive. We have ordered an inquiry. The Calcutta Municipal Corporation, the fire department and the police will jointly conduct the inquiry and submit its report in three days," Mamata was quoted as saying by The Times of India.

There are many such illegal or "unplanned" buildings in Calcutta where fire safety measures are insufficient, if not nonexistent.

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Society

In Denmark, Beloved Christmas TV Special Cancelled For Blackface Scenes

The director of the 1997 episode complained that TV executives are being "too sensitive."

Screenshot of a child wearing apparent blackface as part of a vintage "TV Christmas calendar" episode on Danish TV

Screenshot of the controversial scene in a vintage episode of Denmark's traditional "TV Christmas calendar"

Amélie Reichmut

If there’s one thing Scandinavians take seriously, it’s Christmas. And over the past half-century, in addition to all the family and religious traditions, most Nordic countries share a passion for what's known as the "TV Christmas calendar": 24 nightly television episodes that air between Dec. 1 and Christmas Eve.

Originally, the programs were strictly aimed at children; but over the years, the stories evolved more towards family entertainment, with some Christmas calendars becoming classics that generations of Swedes, Danes, Norwegians and others have watched each year as national and family traditions in their own right.

But this year in Denmark, one vintage episode has been pulled from the air because of a blackface scene.

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