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.

Click here to return to title page
Its web site www.cookislandsnews.com 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
Javascript DHTML Drop Down Menu Powered by dhtml-menu-builder.com
New Zealand has switched its focus to a possible travel bubble with the Cook Islands, rather than Australia. Rapid progress is being made in both countries to get it in place, but the big issue for Kiwis wanting to visit the Islands is that they would still face 14 days in quarantine when they return home. Auckland airport is in the final stages of setting up a safe air corridor to separate different categories of travellers. And the Cook Islands government has mandated its officials to progress talks with New Zealand officials on quarantine-free travel. But NZ Prime Minister, Jacina Ardern won't be drawn on a date when travel between the countries might be possible.
Jacina Ardern
New Zealand's Prime Minister still won't commit to when a travel bubble might be possible
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)
MORE FROM THE PAGES OF 'COOK ISLANDS NEWS'

SPORT
FEATURES
LETTERS
ENVIRONMENT
CLASSIFIEDS

All pages open in a new window or tab and link to the  on-line editiion of the paper

Top of the page
Bookmark and Share
Sign or read my guest book
Love the Cook Islands on Facebook
Email the website author
Site visitor survey
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.
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.
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. 
Film production companies in Scandinavia and India are interested in using the the Cook Islands as a location, when the Coronavirus travel ban is lifted.  And the Prime Minister's office has arranged a meeting with tourism, culture and film sector leaders to discuss the idea as part of plans to diversify the economy.  A UK-based locations agency, Destinations Rising, has also drafted a strategy using the Cook Islands as a model for post-Covid filming, in a new tool to match up productions and locations.  The Islands have been used before by film and television companies and you can find out more about that by clicking here

The Deputy Prime Minister, Mark Brown says he's still optimistic about tourism resuming, even though Air New Zealand has decided to extend its freeze on all international bookings. The first available flight from Rarotonga to Auckland won't be until 14 August now. Brown said easing border restrictions between the two countries - a so called travel bubble - was crucial to resusciate the Cook Islands econmony.
Fibre optic broadband cable
The new undersea cable which will bring superfast broadband to the Islands is coming ashore at Rutaki in Rarotonga, and Arutanga in Aitutaki (see photo), and deemed ready for service.  But Islanders will have to wait a bit longer to reap the benefits. Local operator Avaroa Cable is still discussing with phone and internet provider Vodafone how much the service will cost. Other internet and mobile phone companies are also interested in entering the market.  The 3,600 km optical fibre cable spans the South Pacific and is a collaboration between the Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Samoa and Niue.
Pride Cook Islands golf
Pride Cook Islands has thrown new focus on its campaign to decriminalise homosexuality with a golf event at Rarotonga Golf Club. And Te Tiare Association who are behind it planning to raise its profile even further with a peaceful "expression of solidarity" at the Constitution Day celebrations on 4 August. MPs are looking at tightening the already controversial laws which make single sex relationships between men illegal by extending it to women as well. 
The association's president described that as  "a powerful way to make a positive public statement about visibility, inclusion and the value of diversity when constitutional rights are under threat."
THIS UPDATE: 4 AUGUST, 2020