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The Australian and international news stories you need to know today, Tuesday June 9.


Prince Andrew says he’s made offers to help police, but authorities say he’s lying.

Prince Andrew’s legal team has hit back at allegations he provided “zero co-operation” to US authorities investigating convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, saying he has made three offers of help.

The US Department of Justice has submitted a mutual legal assistance (MLA) request to the UK’s Home Office, to quiz Prince Andrew as a witness in a criminal investigation into the disgraced financier’s offending.

“The Duke of York has on at least three occasions this year offered his assistance as a witness to the DOJ (Department of Justice),” Prince Andrew’s lawyers said in a statement on Monday.


“Unfortunately, the DOJ has reacted to the first two offers by breaching their own confidentiality rules and claiming that the duke has offered zero co-operation. In doing so, they are perhaps seeking publicity rather than accepting the assistance proffered.”

Andrew’s public life was left in tatters after a disastrous television interview last year about his friendship with Epstein, which saw him accused of showing little empathy for the financier’s victims.

Prince Andrew stepped back from royal duties but became the focus of US authorities who wanted to question him about the financier, who took his own life in his jail cell while awaiting trial for sex trafficking.

WATCH: A snippet of the controversial Newsnight interview. Post continues after video.


Video by BBC
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Four days after last year’s interview, the duke said in a statement he was “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required”.

But Geoffrey Berman, who is leading the Epstein inquiry, told reporters in March the prince had “completely shut the door on voluntary co-operation and our office is considering its options”.

Berman has hit back at the prince’s latest claims, once again declaring them as false.


“Today, Prince Andrew yet again sought to falsely portray himself to the public as eager and willing to cooperate with an ongoing federal criminal investigation into sex trafficking and related offenses committed by Jeffrey Epstein and his associates, even though the Prince has not given an interview to federal authorities, has repeatedly declined our request to schedule such an interview, and nearly four months ago informed us unequivocally – through the very same counsel who issued today’s release – that he would not come in for such an interview,” he said in a statement released by his office.

WA Indigenous prisoner critical after being ‘body-slammed’.

An Indigenous woman is in a critical condition in a Perth hospital, after an incident at Bandyup Women’s Prison in Western Australia at the weekend.

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The Department of Justice said the inmate had been found trying to access a vending machine and was ushered back to her cell, but it rejected reports she was “body slammed” by a guard.

“The hospitalisation the following day appears to be related to an existing medical condition,” the department said in a statement on Monday.

The Corrective Services Commissioner referred the matter to the professional standards division for review and the investigation is ongoing.

“A preliminary assessment has found no evidence of any unreasonable force,” the department said.

Minneapolis pledges to abolish police force, as BLM protests continue.

Minneapolis city council members have pledged to abolish the police force, whose officer knelt on the neck of a dying George Floyd, as the biggest civil rights protests in more than 50 years demanded a transformation of US criminal justice.

Demonstrations have continued to sweep the country over the weekend. While there was violence in the early days, the protests have lately been overwhelmingly peaceful.

The high-spirited atmosphere was marred late on Sunday, when a man drove a car into a rally in Seattle, and then shot and wounded a demonstrator who confronted him.

Last night, Trump criticised the boss of the National Football League, America’s biggest sport, who, in a sign of a cultural shift, swung behind protesting players and adopted their slogan “Black Lives Matter”.

READ: In 2016, Colin Kaepernick silently ‘took a knee’. Four years later, people are finally listening.

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Nine members of the 13-person city Minneapolis council pledged on Sunday to do away with the police department in favour of a community-led safety model, though they provided little detail.

“A veto-proof majority of the MPLS City Council just publicly agreed that the Minneapolis Police Department is not reformable and that we’re going to end the current policing system,” Alondra Cano, a member of the Minneapolis council, said on Twitter.


In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters he would shift some funds out of the city’s vast police budget and reallocate it to youth and social services. He said he would take enforcement of rules on street vending out of the hands of police, accused of using the regulations to harass minorities.

Eighty per cent of Americans believe the situation in the country is spiralling “out of control” according to a recent poll for NBC News and The Wall Street Journal. 

Australian authorities say it’ll take a week to see if weekend protests sparked a second virus wave.

Health authorities won’t know for at least a week, whether coronavirus cases will rise as a result of mass Black Lives Matter protests across Australia over the weekend.

Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer Annaliese van Diemen confirmed yesterday the events had increased the risk for cases.

“In terms of potential outbreaks related to the protest, it really will be at least a week and probably closer to two weeks before we have an idea of whether there’s been any transmissions or outbreaks related to that,” she said.

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The impact will take its time to show due to incubation periods, people developing symptoms, getting tested and waiting for results, she added.

More than 10,000 protesters flooded Melbourne and Brisbane’s CBD. At least 20,000 turned out in Sydney.

Victorian kids back to school.

The last wave of Victorian students, who have been learning from home, are set to return to schools where special safety measures are being put in place to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Years three to 10 students will be back at their desks on Tuesday, after a staged return to in-class teaching saw the youngest and most senior pupils return in May.

Staggered start and finish times and making drinking fountains out-of-bounds are some of the changes introduced in schools, but a focus has also been put on public transport.

Victoria recorded just two new cases on Monday.

Childcare fees back from July 13.

Parents will have to pay childcare fees again from July 13 as demand grows for services.

The government will also stop JobKeeper payments to the sector on July 20, despite Prime Minister Scott Morrison promising the wage subsidy would be in place for all workers until the end of September.

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Instead, every childcare operator will share in a $708 million transition package, equivalent to a quarter of their revenue from the pre-coronavirus period.

childcare
Parents to pay child care fees in mid-July. Image: Getty.

Education Minister Dan Tehan said that would be "a tiny bit less" than the sector was receiving in JobKeeper payments, but could not say how much.

Activity tests will be eased until October for parents who have lost jobs or hours because of the coronavirus, meaning they can access up to 100 hours of subsidised care.

But they will still have to cover the "gap" portion of fees.

Around the world.

- Jacinda Ardern has declared New Zealand "coronavirus free" with no active cases left on the island nation. She won't be drawn on a timeline for a trans-Tasman bubble, but says the option is still on the table.

- Pakistan has recorded 100,000 coronavirus cases, and more than 2000 deaths with the virus yet to peak in the country.

The current COVID-19 figures.

- The UK has finally adopted the same process for international arrivals as Australia, making travellers self-isolate (at home) for 14 days on arrival.

- Researchers at the University of London believe that repetitive negative thinking increases your risk of dementia.

- With AAP

Feature image: Mark Richards - WPA Pool / Getty images. 

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