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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 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
This update: 3rd December, 2019
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Community leaders are pushing for a change in the law after four deaths this year where motorbike riders   weren't wearing crash helmets. The current helmet law only applies to tourists, under 25s and anyone travelling at more than 40 kph.  Drink driving and speeding have also been contributing factors in some deaths.  Cook Islands Security Director, Chris Denny acknowledged that wearing helmets was not part of the Islands' culture but said times had changed with more traffic and people driving faster on better roads.
Air Rarotonga plane
More planes should be able to land safely on the outer islands in bad weather thanks to new satellite-based equipment.   It's the result of a four year project between the government and Air New Zealand which has involved detailed airfield surveys and new approaches to the outer islands. The airport authority's director of operations, Tony Wearing said the satellite-based approaches would lessen the liklihood of domestic flights having to turn back to Rarotonga because of storms. 
Right:  Air Rarotonga Bandeirante plane (photo: Air Rarotonga)
Rhinoceros beetle
Islanders on Penrhyn are concerned their most valuable plant is under threat from the coconut rhinoceros beetle (left).  But an insect specialist from the government's Agriculture Ministry says he's found no evidence of the pest.  Adult beetles burrow into the bases of palm fronds and the holes they create also allow other bugs and funghi to damage the tree which could eventually die.  The coconut palms produce rito (fibre) for weaving hats, fans and earrings, generating income for Penrhyn islanders. The tree is also a food source.
The government has signed an agreement which will allow Chinese banks to operate in the Cook Islands.  It's one of 30 agreements with China on finance.  There are already four main banks in the Islands and like them, the Chinese ones will be regulated by the Financial Supervisory Commission.  The Cook Islands Chamber of Commerce said it could be especially good news for businesses looking for finance.        
Charlie Quarter
A 67 year old man has found his mother's grave after returning to the now unihabited island of Manuae where he grew up.   Charlie Quarter, who now live in Australia, left the island when he was six after his mother died of tuberculosis. Skipper Quinton Schofield from 'WetnWild' agreed to take Charlie and a friend the 100kms from Aitutaki to Manuae.  HIs friend camped on the island for six months in 1985 and remembered the location of the small burial ground with seven graves.  Charlie said he always knew he's see his mother again and  had to do the trip for her.
MV Moana Nui
A big salvage operation is underwayto remove a cargo ship which ran aground on the reef off remote Nassau two and a half years ago.  A 353 tonne landing craft from Fiji is being used to upright the MV Moana Nui (right) and lock her to the reef before work begins to pump out the water inside. The plan is to refloat the vessel and then tow her out into the ocean to be sunk. The work is costing NZ$750,000.
The MP leading a plan to make same-sex relations a crime with up to seven years in prison is digging his heels in over the proposal. Select committee chair Tingika Elikana claims public consultation shows an overwhelming majority of Cook Islanders want to keep a provision in the proposed Crimes Act making homosexuality illegal.  But the recommendation to Parliament is facing strong international opposition and calls around the world for a boycott of the islands as a tourist destination. Elikana was speaking on Radio New Zealand just after the launch of the Cook Islands Pride Campaign.  Three members of the Select Committee have renounced the plan and say no decision has been made. The proposed Act will go before Parliament next February.
Left: Co-president Val Wichman with Lady Tuaine Marsters (right) at the launch of the Cook Islands Pride campaign.  Lady Marsters, wife of the Queen's Representativehas asked the Parliamentary committee of MPs headed by Elikana to "have the heart to understand the rights of the LGBT+ community as citizens of the country".

Cook Islands Pride launch
Atiiu, Mauke and Mitiaro have rejected a government request to allow commercial fishing within 50 miles of their islands where it's currently banned by law.  'Ocean Fresh' want the govenrment to liff the ban because they haven't got blast freezers on their vessels and say they need to fish closer to Rarotonga to enable quicker sales.  But leaders from the three islands say the exclusion zone is important to protect the ocean and they fear that allowing one company to fish within it will mean others will want to as well, impacting local fishermen.