Lagoon cruises top a visitor satisfaction poll but shop opening hours and poor internet access head the list of gripes

Cruising on Muri lagoon,Rarotonga
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Plans to deepen and widen the entrance to Aitutaki's Arutanga habour are on hold, amid continuing controversy
A new look Aitutaki
Black pearl oysters on show
Visitors have a chance for the first time to see the oysters which produce the rare Cook Islands black pearls without venturing to the remote island where they're farmed
Insurers are looking at what to do about a 16 metre yacht which  has run aground on the pristine reef around the nationla park island of Suwarrow.   They're working with the two caretakers who are only residents of the island.  The owners are believed to be a couple from Australia and New Zealand who've since returned home, and efforts are underway to contact them.   Right: the island is a popular destination for yachts
Purse seining
A controversial fishing technique called purse seining should be banned for five years because according to the Democratic Party it's devastating the Islands' fish stocks.  Party Leader, Wilkie Rasmussen - currently involved in a legal battle for his Parliamentary seat of Penrhyn - claims it's also causing "the unnecessary slaughter" of turtles and dolphins.  HIs comments come in the wake of a recent  bleak assessment regionally of the level of tuna stocks in the South Pacific.  The Islands' own environmental group Te Ipukarea Society (TIS) has also called for a temporary ban.  Right: Purse seining involves the use of a huge drag net which is closed up like a purse with the catch inside (Photo: Greenpeace)
The economy of the Islands has contacted by 4.8 per cent in the past year, according to new data from the Statistics Office.  The government's economic advisor, James Webb says its mainly due to a decline in construction, financial and businerss services.  But weaker tourism also played a part.  However, there were encouraging signs in transport and commucations, and agriculture which both expanded a little.  An increase in the production of drinkable coconuts was particularly notable.  
This update: 26th August, 2014
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 now updated daily.  The 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
Health Minister Nandi Glassie
Almost one in three women in the Islands has been a victim of physical violence by their partner according to a new report.  And Health Minister, Nandi Glassie says alcohol is largely to blame.  The Family Health and Safety Study, sponsored by the Health Ministry and Cook Islands Council for Women, calls for strong action by the government and community leaders,  Launching the report, Glassie appealed to all leaders to take gender-based violence seriously. 
The outer islands could soon have their own permanent stock of heavy machinery  for major projects, thanks to China.  The Chinese Civil Engineering and Construction Company, which is currently working on a huge infrastructure upgrade on Rarotonga, is planning to donate the equipment.   But the announcement is controversial; the opposition Democratic Party claims it's not really a donation and the Chinese company is already taking over jobs that should be awarded to local businesses.

A visitor has been fined NZ$450 for driving with double the legal limit of alchol in his system.  21 year old John George LePine was breath tested by police after falling off his rental bike near the Rehab Nightclub and Bar.  He pleaded guilty at the High Court in Rarotonga and was banned from driving in the Islands for 12 months.