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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Negotiations to create a safe travel bubble between New Zealand and the Cook Islands have gone back to square one after a new Covid case in New Zealand. Prime Minister, Mark Brown (right) was hoping for quarantine-free travel as early as November, but that won't now happen. Fletcher Martin, who chairs the Private Sector Task force in the Islands says the government now need to explore other options to restart the tourism industry.  Borders have been closed since March.

Te Tauta village


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A simple solution to coronavirus contact tracking
A voluntary, coronavirus track and trace system being piloted in Rarotonga could be made compulsory.  '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. More than 100 businesses and 800 people have signed up for the scheme and publicity about it is being ramped up. Such a system is seen as essential to any tourism from New Zealand starting up again.

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

Cultural village dancers
The government is backing a bid to get world heritage status for a 600 year old village high in the hills around Rarotonga. Maungaroa was inhabited by Tinomana Ariki and his tribe long before the arrival of Christianity and was unihabited for many years before it was transformed into a cultural village visitor attraction. The   Ministry of Culture says HIghland Paradise is an "unparallelled example of a living marae" and its asking UNESCO to designate it.  Photo: Highland Paradise website
Mangaia's new king
A new king has been crowned on Mangaia, and the entire population of the island was there to watch.  Tangi Tereapii was installed Numangatini Ariki at Te Maruata-Nui-o-Numangatini marae. The day long event was also attended by friends and families from Rarotonga, Aitutaki and Atiu. Marguees 20 metres long were filled with food to share.
Parliament has deferred a decision on two controversial Bills, one of which would criminalise same sex relationships and another to charge for water supplies. MPs have decided instead to give Select Committees on each subject another threee months to deliver their recommendations. The local LGBTQ+ group, Te Tiare Association, which has been campaigning fiercely against the criminalisation plan said it was disappointed at yet more delay. Rainbow flags flew around Rarotonga in support of the community.  Meanwhile, the delay over the To Tatou Vai Authority Bill on water charges was welcomed.  The local growers association said charging for water would impact food security and diverstity, the cost of living, and the viability of businesses.
The remains of the crashed bike
Police have issuerd a stark warning to speeding and dangerous drivers after an horrific motorbike crash on Rartonga which landed a 40 year man in hospital with critical injuries.  He collided with a Toyota Landcruiser in Muri.  The accident happened just two days before the wearing of crash helmets becomes compulsory. The police have told drivers and riders they'll be watching them closely and anyone who encounters a dangerous driver is also being asked to report them.
Two hydroponics and school gardens have been established on Penrhyn (Tongareva) to increase the consumption of locally produced fruit and vegetables. Handing them over, the Agriculture Secretary, Marama Anguna-Kamana said growing using weater without soil was an innovative way of dealing with the challenges of the sandy soil on the remote outer islands. It would also increase food resilience in the event of disasters.
Photo:Te Tautua on the eastern side of the island is where most of the population of 226 live (Photo: Robert Broussard)

New PM, Mark Brown