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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 as a reliable 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: 23rd July, 2019
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Layar Mas cargo ship
The government is going to buy its own cargo ship for NZ$2.5 million to service the outer islands.   Deputy Prime Minister, Mark Brown said it was necessary to provide a regular, affordable and reliable service between Rarotonga and the 12 other inhabited islands in the group.   Previously, the country has relied on contracts with the private sector.  Brown said that was not always reliable because it was difficult to run a viable commercial operation. 
Above: The Layar Mas which has been providing the cargo service under contract is being sold to the Bahamas.   It cost Cook Islands Towage NZ$1.2 million to service the outer islands in 2016
St Jospeh's RC Cathedral, Rarotonga
Christians in more than 170 countries will stop to pray for the Cook Islands in 2025.  The country has been chosen from 20 applicants to be the focus for the World Day of Prayer which is celebrated on 6 March each year.  Every year one country is chosen to write a prayer document that includes its country's history, a children's prayer, songs and a worship service that the world will follow over the internet that year. "He made us wonderful" (Psalm 139) is the theme for the Islands and the day will be led from the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Rarotonga (right)    Photo, author's own
The Cook Islands government is going to ban single- use plastics.  A policy to outlaw them will be included in a Bill going before Parliament by Christmas. The committee responsible for waste management says "the importation of non-biodegradable consumer goods is becoming a mounting burden for the economy, human health and the environment of the Cook Islands". 
Manganese nodules
The government has has forced through a new law on seabed mineral mining which has provoked international controversy.  The opposition Democratic Party said they wanted "proper consultation" about it.   The Seabed Minerals Authority which drafted the law has collected views from environmental groups and the public, but the Demos say that has only put forward the government view.  They're also concerned that the Minister responsible for seabed mining has full authority to grant exploration licences.
Manganese nodules like these above are abundant on the sea floor around part of the Cook Islands and the mining of them has prompted international concern about the environmental impact
The number of dengue fever cases in the Islands is continuing to rise, but the Ministry of Health says it isn't an epidemic. 66 cases have been reported on Rarotonga and three on Aitutaki.  38 people have been hospitalised during the outbreak.  A local doctor says the outbreak is under control, but people need to stay vigilant.  The World Health Organisation is also monitoring it.  Community clean up programmes are also underway in areas where the mosquito carrying the disease might breed (pictured left)
Additonal information from reliefweb
An action group has been formed to oppose plans to add chlorine to Rarotonga's water supply.  The group, Vai Ora'anga Ora (water of life) says it wants clean, safe water but claims chlorination can itself harm health and damage eco systems.  A final decision is down to the government.  
Cleaning up
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." 
Marster House Rarotonga
More than a thousand people celebrated in the sunshine as a home from home for Palmerston islanders was opened on Rarotonga.  Marsters House has cost NZ$400,000 which was raised by islanders and family and friends in Australia and New Zealand.  

The building is named after the founding father of the remote island, William Marsters and it was opened 156 years to the day that he arrived on Palmerston.

Former prime ministers and Marsters descendants, Dr Joe Williams and Dr Robert Woonton arrived specially for the occasion, leading the procession to present Palmerston's new flag.  A song composed by Dr Jon TM Jonassen "Hare Ava Rau - Marsters House" was sung by his sister Lily Jonassen-Andrew.  Queen's Representative and Palmerston born, Sir Tom Marsters peformed the official opening.
Photo: Radio Cook Islands.  More on our Facebook page
NZ PM and family arrive in Rarotonga
New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacina Ardern, her fiancé Clarke Gayford and their year old baby daughter Neve have arrived in Rarotonga for a holiday.  They were greeted by prime minister Henry Puna and his wife Akaiti, Cook Islands Tourism chief executive officer Halatoa Fua and staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the Rarotonga International Airport's VIP lounge.  Cook Islands News understands they'll be staying in Aitutaki
Rarotonga high court
Multi-million dollar plans to put chlorine in the Rarotonga water supply have been halted by legal action.  Landowner Phillip Nicholas has applied to the High Court (left) for an injunction to stop  the installation, connection, fitting and testing of any disinfection equipment in Avana Valley.  He also wants the government to undertake a "meaningful and formal consultation".  Opponents of chlorination say the govenrment had made up its mind to treat the water before any consultation or permission from land owners.  Photo: Author's own
Independent tests have confirmed hgh levels of potentially harmful bacteria in Rarotonga's water supply, according to the government.  The New Zealand based laboratory who did the testing say that of 40 samples, 33 contained E.coli and in 21 of those, levels were high or very high.  Butr anti-chlorine group Te Vai Ora Maori-Clean, Safe Water for Rarotonga claims it is unnecessary to disinfect the water. Instead, it says the government needs to investigate the mud entering the systems.