By Jonathan Allen NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York police have begun handing out fliers to tourists in Times Square telling them that tipping the costumed superheroes and children's characters who pose for photographs is optional, and to call the 911 emergency number if they have complaints. The fliers are part of an aggressive crackdown after a string of arrests of people dressed as characters who have gotten into confrontations with tourists or police, including one dressed as Spider-Man charged last month with punching a police officer who intervened in a tipping dispute. "Tipping is optional," the fliers say in capital letters, printed in five languages in partnership with the Times Square Alliance, which promotes area businesses. "If you have any complaints, talk to a police officer or call 911." Police said they arrested three more characters on Saturday, the first day the fliers were handed out: men dressed as Spider-Man, Iron Man and Elmo.
By Scott Malone BOSTON (Reuters) - U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts on Monday called on members of the nation's largest group of attorneys to "rise above" the political disputes that have left Washington increasingly gridlocked in recent years. Roberts, a conservative justice who was the swing vote on a 2012 Supreme Court decision that upheld President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law, told members of the American Bar Association that they have a role to play in maintaining the public's faith in the U.S. political system. "We live in an era in which sharp partisan divides within our political branches have shaken public faith in government across the board," Roberts told a crowd of several hundred ABA members in Boston. "We in the judiciary must also look to the bar for broader assistance in maintaining the public's confidence in the integrity of our legal system." With polling showing Americans holding a low opinion of both President Barack Obama and Congress, Roberts, who was appointed chief justice in 2005 by then-President George W. Bush, said courts and lawyers must try to lift themselves above partisan passions.
By Laila Kearney NEW YORK (Reuters) - Barneys New York [DBWLDB.UL] has agreed to pay $525,000 to settle a lawsuit over claims that it targeted black and Latino customers for credit-card fraud checks and surveillance while they shopped in its luxury clothing stores, city officials said on Monday. The lawsuit followed claims last fall that the store falsely accused two African-American customers of credit card fraud at the Barneys store in Manhattan, sparking protests and calls to boycott the chain. "Profiling and racial discrimination remain a problem in our state, but not one we are willing to accept," New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement. "This agreement will correct a number of wrongs, both by fixing past policies and by monitoring the actions of Barneys and its employees to make sure that past mistakes are not repeated," he said.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The onetime chief of staff to former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell says he had no idea at the time that his boss had received thousands of dollars in gifts and loans from a wealthy businessman.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A federal judge has extended a months-long moratorium on executions in Ohio into next year as questions mount about the effectiveness of a new, two-drug combination being used to carry out the death penalty.