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An exclusive summary by the website author who is a former BBC TV and radio journalist
The following  - unless otherwise credited - is a summary of the latest stories from  Cook Islands News,  the daily newspaper of the Cook Islands which is published Monday to Saturday inclusive.

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Its web site www.cookislandsnews.com is now updated daily.  The summary is published with the permission of the copyright owners Cook Islands News Ltd.     Click on any underlined headlines for the full story on the newpaper's own website.   Photos unless otherwise credited are copyright Cook Islands News
This update: 6th March, 2017
MORE FROM THE PAGES OF 'COOK ISLANDS NEWS'
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The Cook Islands black pearl industry, once the second biggest business after tourism, is continuing to struggle.  Latest government figures show that exports in the first half of last year were worth NZ$220,000.  That's a little bit up on the previous year, but shows a massive decline since 2010 when exports totalled NZ$1.57 million.

Manihiki pearl farm
The government says the figures suggest more pearls are being sold in the domestic market where prices are better.   There are just 10 active farmers and 14 others operating at what are described as "minimal levels".  Pearl farming is centred on the northern group island of Manihiki and the farms themselves look like the one above.
Despite legal action and a big protest petition, the European Union has begun fishing for tuna in Cook Islands waters.   Four vessels have been licensed by the government to catch up to 7000 tonnes of tuna and other migratory species every year for the next four years using a controversial method called purse seigning.   More than 1 in 4 Islanders - around 4,000 people - signed the petition and a judicial review of the government's decision is pending in the High Court.  The EU will pay the Cook Islands NZ$2.1 million over 4 years for the licences and the government says some of that will be used to upgrade fisheries surveillance work and to provide fuel subsidies to local fishermen.   

Purse seigning
Purse seigning involves using a huge dragnet
(Public domain picture illustrating the process)
The price of fuel in the outer islands is going down.    Atiu is the first to benefit from a new Price Order by the government which has cut petrol prices by 22% and diesel by 25%.  It follows a full review of price margins which now reflect better the actual cost of supply. maximum retail prices in the southern group are now NZ$2.87 a litre for petrol and NZ$2.80 for diesel.  Consumers in the northern group will pay NZ$3.02 for petrol and NZ$2.95 for diesel.

One Foot Island
One Foot Island  in Aituaki lagoon has one of the 21 best beaches in the world, according to prestigious publication National Geographic.  The mini island or motu was described as "soulful solitude" with a "marooned vibe" in its annual list and sits alongise famous spots in Australia, Hawaii and California.  The Tourism Corporation is hoping the international readership of the world famous magazine will help to boost Aitutaki's visitor numbers.
Grounded off Nassau
The fate of a cargo ship which ran aground last month on the reef off remote Nassau in the Northern Cooks remains in the balance.   A survey of damage has now been completed and the inspectors who did the work say the options are to try to tow the vessel off the reef or sink it.  They're putting together a detailed report for owner, Taio Shipping.  18 tonnes of diesel which were on board have been siphoned off and returned to Rarotonga.  The Moana Nui was grounded in rough weather as it ws preparing to pick up a shipment of coconuts from Nassau.





The Indian government has handed over nearly NZ$1 million in grants to help community projects in the Islands.   Agriculture, schooling and help for the disabled are among are among schemes that will benefit from the money.  Finance Minister, Mark Brown said discussions were also taking place about India helping with the development of information technology in the Islands.