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 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 is updated daily and is highly recommended as a trusted source of news.  This summary is published with 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
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Former New Zealand Prime Minister, Helen Clark(right) is calling  for her country's citizens to be allowed to visit the Cook Islands as soon as next month. A trans-Tasman "bubble" is thought to be at least two months away, but she says she's "pushing hard" for the borders to be opened in time for the New Zealand school holidays which begin on 4 July.  Air New Zealand's chief executive, Greg Foran also says he wants to starts services "sooner rather than later".
Australian budget airline, Jetstar is planning to start flying to Rarotonga again from 1 July.  It's begun selling tickets for its four flights a week from Auckland. Cook Islands border restrictions are being eased from 19 June, but only returning residents and work permit holders are being allowed in.
The 18 mohth long dengue fever outbreak is "definitely on the decline" according to the Health Ministry.  There have been 334 cases since the start of 2019 with 101 in March alone. But an on-going programme of spraying areas where the disease carrying moquito breeds is proving effective. 57 caes were recorded in April but just 36 in May. 
Te Tauta village
Each of the two villages on Penrhyn is going to get its own cyclone shelter to help protect against the increasing threat of climate change. Some homes have already been moved back from the shoreline because of rising sea levels and storm surges. The island, also known as Tongareva, is just 5 metres about sea level at its highest point.  Left: Te Tautua on the eastern side of the island is where most of the population of 226 live (Photo: Robert Broussard)


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Scientists collect crown of thorns starfish
The coral reefs around Rarotonga, Aitutaki and Palmerston are showing signs of recovery, according to a long-term study by scientists. IN just  published findings, the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation says they're showing signs of resilience in the face of the crown of thorns starfish, although it's still a serious concern around Aitutaki. And they're optimistic for the future of the reefs.
A United Nations committee has called on the Cook Islands to repeal laws which disriminate against same-sex relations. It's particularly concerned about the 1969 Crimes Act which criminalises consensual sexual activity between gay men. And it wants the government to set a clear age of consent to ensure adolescents who engage in sexual acts are not criminalised. Te Tiare Association, which represents LGBT+ people in the Islands has welcomed the recommendations and says current laws breach the country's constitution which enshrines equal rights.
The Cook Islands' recently acquired status as a developed nation should be revoked because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Government and opposition MPs agree that the backward step is necessary to enable the country to tap into much needed donor funds. The Islands were upgraded becaue of a strong economic performance led by tourism. But the tourism industry has ground to a halt after the Islands closed its borders. Deputy Prime Minister, Mark Brown has confirmed they're in discussions with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development about the status.
The country's biggest and most important cultural event, Te Maeva Nui has been cancelled - but a national dance competition will still take place in July. Drummers will be spaced apart on the stage of the National Auditorium, and the slow beat songs will be pre-recorded so there will be no singing. The event will take place from 13 to 24 July and has been approved by the Health Ministry. Constitution Day on 4 August will also be celebrated and will be the last event in the National Auditorium for at least four to six months while the venue is refurbished.
Te Maeva Nui dancers
PM Puna and Deputy PM Brown
Henry Puna is stepping down as Prime Minister two years before the end of his term of office. His deputy, Mark Brown will take over in September. Puna is in the running to be the next Secretary General of the Pacific Islands forum which is a grouping of 16 independent Pacific states, including the Islands. If his doesn't land the role, he said he'll return to Parliament as a back bencher.   Puna (left) and Brown are pictured together
A simple solution to coronavirus contact tracking
A voluntary, coronavirus track and trace system is being piloted in Rarotonga.  'CookSafe' is a a collaboration between the private sector Taskforce and Government led by the Ministry of Health. Volunteers are issued with a card imprinted with a unique QR code which can be scanned at venues participating in the scheme. Date, time, and location information are sent to a secure database accessible only to public health officials. The Islands are virus-free but if there was an outbreak, the system will be used to track others who have come into contact with those who might have been infected.
Islanders on Rarotonga are being urged to conserve water after a big increase in useage. Six of the island's 12 water catchments are low to extremely low because people have been staying at home, and also planting their own food which they're watering. 
A giant of a catch
Fishermen on the remote Northern group island of Pukapuka are celebrating landing a monster of a fish. The giant grouper( patuki wala ) was speared this by two young men, Araitepo Dariu and Tinokura Tutau. Dariu speared the fish and had to come up for air while his friend Tutau dived down to finish off the mission. But none of them knows exactly how big their catch was. There were no scales available on the island.