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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: 17 September, 2019
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solar panels on Mauke
The Islands are a step closer to the ambitious target of being totally solar powered by next year.  Mauke is the latest island to switch and it means a dozen solar power stations are now running across the Cooks. Prime Minister, Henry Puna set the renewable energy target in 2014 and performed the official opening of Mauke's power station.  Only Rarotonga and Aitutaki are still be switched to solar energy.
The renowned travel guide, 'Lonely Planet' has put the Cook Islands in its top five places to visit in the Asia-Pacific region.    It judges said: "A visit to the Cook Islands, 15 tiny islets, far-flung over a swathe of the deep-blue, breezy Pacific Ocean, is bound to rejuvenate even the most jaded." 
Islanders on Rarotonga are facing the prospect of paying for water for the first time. The body overseeing a multi-million dollar project to upgrade the supply infrastructure says bills could range from NZ$33 to NZ$71 a month.   That assumes a free allowance of 200 litres a day.  The government says the charge is for operating costs and not to cover the capital project work.
Sir Tom Marsters
Sir Tom Marsters (left) has been re-appointed as the Queen's Representative in the Cook Islands for a third term.  74 year old Marsters was born on Palmerston and is a direct descendant of the English founding father of the Island, William Marsters.  He's a former Cook Islands MP and was knighted by HM The Queen - head of state of the Islands - in 2018.  He's represented the Queen since 2013.
Photo: Radio New Zealand International
Tourists could be banned from the Ava'avaroa passage on Rarotonga for their own safety and to protect turtles.  Local elders (Aronga Mana) in Titikaveka are consulting with the Marine Resources Ministry about the idea.  They claim tour operators are putting people at risk for their own profits and they're not convinced by claims to protect the turtles who live in the waters.   The tourist board have already produced leaflets warning people to stay say from the passage becuase it's rip tides are dangerous.
More than 150 international athletes have signed up to compete in this year's Round Raro 31 km road race, including Pacific Games double gold medallist, Alex Beddoes.  The event starts with a fun run on 19th September where entrants have been asked to dress up.   The serious running is on 21st and as well as the main race there's also a 10km event.  A "Nutters Cross Island Relay" and a round the rock relay for schools and businesses bring a week of events to a close.
Talks are underway about upgrading the runways in some of the most remote parts of the Islands.  Ewan Smith, CEO of internal airline, Air Rarotonga is discussing with the government improvements to the coral airstrips in the Northern Group.  He believes it could also open them up for specialist tourism.  Manihiki (left)  and Penryhn have already been assessed and a proposal is being put together.  Smith says paved runways are needed for new turbo jets bought by Air Raro and using them would also bring down airfares.  Photo: Ewan Smith
Manihiki from the air
Pastor Ngarima George with apuka (reef cod) and ku (red snapper)
Manihiki has banned the transportation of reef fish to Rarotonga for sale for conservation reasons.  But fish merchant, Pastor Ngarima George (pictured left) is theatening to challenge it in court.  The Island's council said there was no problem sending the fish to the capital island for consumption by islanders' families, but they must not be sold commercially.  Pastor George has been selling the fish at his stall in the Punanga Nui market and says islanders are just trying to earn a living.
One of the Cook's bigges resort owners is backing a call from health experts for a "junk food tax".  Tata Crocombe (right), the managing director of The Rarotongan, wants to see price rises on foods with high sugar, salt or saturated fat to force people to buy healthier.  In his words "we should be taxing the hell out of bad food products".  He said if Cook Islanders went back to the diets of their grandparents - fish, lots of vegetables, some taro, maniota, kumara and rukau - they'd be 70 per cent of the way back to good health.  And if they exercised, and they'd be 90 per cent there.
Tata Crocombe