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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 updated daily and is highly recommended.  This 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: 20 March, 2019
New immigration rules are being drawn which will change the way in which foreigners can apply to become permanent residents.  Skills, expertise or financial investment won't be pre-requisites any more but applicants will have to demonstrate a commitment to Cook Islands culture and community.   Those applying will have toto demonstrate that they are proficient in the English language and that they have Cook Islands Maori language "ability".  And they will also have to get support from locals in the area where they plan to live.  New Zealanders will have priority.  The total number of permanent residency approvals a year will stay capped at 650.
The  population of the Islands is continuing to decline according to thejust published resultes from the 2016 census.  The nationwide count shows that 17,434 people now live on the 13 inhabited islands.  That's a drop of 2 per cent over five years ago.  Rarotonga remains the most populated island with 13,007 residents - equal to 75% of all those living in the Islands. Aiututaki is the next most populated with  1,941 people. Least populated are Palmerston with 58 residents and Nassau with 78,  There are more women than men in the Islands.  According to the census there are 8,597 males and 8,862 females.
Nassau village
Tiny Nassau in the far north, where islanders live in huts called kikau, is one of the least populated places in the Cooks
The Japanese government has helped to secure water supplies on Mitiaro by funding a major water upgrade project.   They're donating NZ$115,000 for the construction of 10 concrete tanks, each of which will hold 20,000 litres of water. The tanks will be sited at schools, church halls, the hospital and community buildings.   And they'll help the island to cope with periods of low rainfall and climate change. 

The Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Japan Katsuhide Ariyoshi (left) and Mayor of Mitiaro Tuaine Ngametua after the signing of the Mitiaro water project agreement. CI News, 19022508
A handshake of friendship
MORE DEGUE FEVER CASES CONFIRMED ON RAROTONGA
The Cook Islands won't be changing its name after all.   Instead it will get a traditional Maori name as well, reflecting the people and culture. The ruling Democratic Party is backing  the compromise decision by the House of Ariki (the Islands' traditional leaders).  The Demo were giving "cautious" support to a completely new name but Islanders say they don't want that. 

A public vote in 1994 for a name change was overwhelmingly defeated.  The Naming Advisory Committee has received more than 60 suggestions so far for a Maori name.
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Ten cases of dengue fever have now been confirmed on Rartonga and 16 others have been reported.  They're in the Aroa, Tupapa, Takuvaine and Nikao areas.  No cases have been reported in the outer islands so far.  The Ministry of Health is doing aerial spraying in selected areas twice a day to eliminate the adult mosquitos which carry the disease and residents are being urged to keep their properties clean and open to get rid of any potential breeding sites.  The infection, which isn't contagious, typically causes flu like symptoms but can sometimes be more serious. A visitor is thought to have brought the disease into the capital island.   The World Health Organisation website has more information about dengue    
Raro airport exterior
The boss of Cook Islands football has been suspended and finded by the world governing organisation, FIFA for reselling tickets at last year's world cup in Russia.  Lee Harmon (left), president of the Cook Islands Football Association, is banned for three months from taking part in any kind of football activity nationally and internationally.  He was also fined NZ$29,250.  Harmon has denied receiving any personal benefit from the ticket sales.
Lee Harmon
The Islands senior politicians have approved a new climate change policy.  Cabinet Ministers have agreed an approach which takes account of the intense periods of rain and warmer air and sea temperatures which are already being experienced.  It will now go out to interested parties for their views and will then build on other nationally agreed plans.
MIss Cook Islands meets Prince Charles
The reigning Miss Cook Islands pageant queen has been rubbing shoulders with real royalty.          Lydia Simonis, a 20 year old Sydney based model with ancestral links to Atiu, met and chatted with the Prince of Wales during the Prince's Trust annual dinner at Buckingham Palace in London.   Simonis, who has actively supported the trust in its work with disadvantaged youth, said it was "truly inspiring" for her to meet Princer Charles.  And she was surprised and pleased to find he was up to date with activities in the Islands.