NEW ORLEANS

Fire claims lives of eight squatters in warehouse

The deadliest city blaze in decades killed eight homeless squatters who were burning debris in an abandoned warehouse to stay warm Tuesday, authorities said.

Firefighters said they could not tell the ages or genders of those who died because their bodies were so badly burned. A 23-year-old man who escaped told the American Red Cross he could not get back in to help his friends because of the smoke, agency volunteer Thomas Butler said.

The Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office said it was uncertain when the dead would be identified. However, a group of young people sitting on the steps of an abandoned house near the scene later Tuesday said the dead included three women and five men.

WASHINGTON

First-class stamps all going the way of ‘forever’

Rummaging around for 1- and 2-cent postage stamps when postal rates go up is heading the way of the Pony Express. Beginning in January, all new stamps good for 1 ounce of first-class mail will be marked as “forever.”

The move is designed to help customers cope with postage increases, a U.S. Postal Service official told The Associated Press on Tuesday. The official requested anonymity to discuss a policy that hasn’t been announced formally.

CHICAGO

Bill Clinton warned not to take sides in mayor’s race

Congressman Danny Davis has a message for former President Bill Clinton: Don’t take sides in the Chicago mayor’s race – or else.

Davis, a longtime friend of Clinton, warned the ex-president on Tuesday that he could jeopardize his “long and fruitful relationship” with the black community if he campaigns for former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel instead of one of the two leading black candidates running – Davis or former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun.

The warning highlights the stakes in what is gearing up to be a contentious race for mayor in the nation’s third-largest city. About a dozen people have made it on to the ballot to replace retiring Mayor Richard M. Daley, who is bowing out after more than 20 years in office, giving candidates their first real shot at Chicago’s top job for the first time in two decades.

In a news release, Davis, a Democrat from Chicago’s West Side, said Clinton’s relationship with the black community may be “fractured and perhaps even broken.”