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‘Zero cooperation’ from Prince Andrew over Epstein: US prosecutor

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Prince Andrew has provided “zero cooperation” regarding late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and has yet to respond to a FBI request for an interview, a US prosecutor said Monday.

Andrew denies claims he had sex with a 17-year-old girl procured by Epstein and said in November he was “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required.”

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But New York attorney Geoffrey Berman, who is leading an investigation into possible co-conspirators of Epstein’s, said his office and the FBI had not heard from Andrew despite his offer to cooperate.

“To date, Prince Andrew has provided zero cooperation,” Berman told reporters during a news conference outside Epstein’s former New York home where Andrew has admitted staying at in the past.

Buckingham Palace did not immediately respond to request for comment when contacted by AFP.

Queen Elizabeth II’s second son, 59, was forced to step back from royal duties after he faced outrage over an interview with the BBC late last year in which he defended his friendship with disgraced US financier Epstein.

Epstein, 66 committed suicide in a New York jail last summer while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.

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He was a multi-millionaire hedge fund manager who befriended countless celebrities over the years, including US President Donald Trump.

Epstein was charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and another of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors.

He denied the charges but was facing up to 45 years in jail if found guilty. His death also deprived countless alleged victims of justice.

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Dozens of women who say they were abused by Epstein have sued his estate and prosecutors have pledged to pursue any accomplices.

“Jeffrey Epstein couldn’t have done what he did without the assistance of others and I can assure you that our investigation is moving forward,” Berman said Monday.

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Epstein’s death fueled several conspiracy theories, mostly speculating that he was murdered to stop him revealing compromising information about some of his wealthy acquaintances.

Epstein was convicted in Florida in 2008 of paying young girls for massages but served just 13 months in jail under a secret plea deal struck with the then state prosecutor.

A growing number of organizations have distanced themselves from Prince Andrew.

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Big chain retailers — including Target and Home Depot — beg government to enforce standard mask-wearing nationwide

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In a letter sent to the National Governors Association, an industry group representing many of the largest retailers in the U.S. asked the country's governors to mandate and enforce rules requiring people to wear masks at all times while in public.

With the coronavirus spiking dramatically in some states, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, which represents Target and Home Depot among others, sent the letter on Monday, reports CBS News.

One major issue has been the increasing incidence of angry shoppers attacking employees due to non-standardized rules on masks.

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Tech titan chiefs to testify at US antitrust committee

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The US House Committee on the Judiciary on Monday announced that leaders of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google will testify during an antitrust investigation hearing.

The hearing, scheduled to take place July 27, comes against a backdrop of growing complaints about tech platforms that have dominated key economic sectors, and calls by some activists and politicians to break up the Silicon Valley giants

Chief executives Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Tim Cook (Apple), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) and Sundar Pichai (Google) will be allowed to appear virtually if they wish, according to a joint statement released by Judiciary committee chairman Jerrold Nadler and Antitrust subcommittee chairman David Cicilline.

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New Zealand restricts entry for Kiwis escaping coronavirus

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New Zealand began restricting the return of its own nationals Tuesday as the country faces an accelerating influx of citizens fleeing coronavirus outbreaks overseas and limited quarantine facilities.

National carrier Air New Zealand put a three-week freeze on new bookings and the government is in talks with other airlines to limit capacity, officials said.

New Zealand has gone 67 days without any cases of coronavirus in the community and its 22 active cases are all in managed quarantine facilities for New Zealanders flocking home from worsening epidemics elsewhere.

There are nearly 6,000 people currently undergoing the mandatory 14-day quarantine in the facilities and another 3,500 are due to arrive this week.

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