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This update: 27th October, 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
Scientists are dazzled by the results of whale tagging in Cook Islands waters
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Tagging a humpback whale
A new survey shows Pukapuka's lagoon is all but empty of sea life and its coral is mostly bleached and broken
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Part of Pukapuka's lagoon
Greg Stanaway with the six top travel awards
Resort and boutique properties in Rarotonga and Aitutaki have been awarded  six travel industry 'Oscars
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The government is planning to spend more on health and education in the coming year.  And there'll also be extra money for tourism marketing, infrastructure projects and a pension increase.  The proposals are part of the budget for 2014-15 which will be presented to Parliament at the end of the month.  Finance Minister, Mark Brown said the country will also have a small surplus of funds. 
The goal of having 100% renewable energy in the Islands by 2020 has come a step closer.  A solar power plant at Rarotonga airport has been connected to the national grid and will now meet nearly 5% of the electricity needs of Rarotonga. The 3,000 solar panels inthe plant have been designed to generate nearly a megawat of energy.   Right: Prime Minister Henry Puna and New Zealand High Commissioner Joanna Kempkers tighten the final bolts on one of the solar panels before they're made live
VIP finishing touches to the solar panels
Voters in Mitiaro might not be going to the polls in a by election next month after all.   The governing Cook Islands Party has filed an appeal against a High Court ruling to hold the ballot after a tied result from the island in the general election.  Six other election results are also the subject of legal petitons.   The CIP currently has an overall majority of one in Parliament.
The story of a devastating cyclone which claims 19 lives and nearly wiped out one of the islands is going to be told in full for the first time thanks to a donation of NZ$1,000 from the National Council of Women.  The money will fund production, publication and distribution of a book about Cyclone Martin which hit Manihiki head on in November, 1997.  Proceeds from the sale will go to the island by way of a trust fund.  Journalist Rachel Reeves is in the final stages of editing the book for which interviewed more than 140 people affected by or involved in the cyclone story. Right: just some of the aftermath of Cyclone Martin
Cyclone Martin aftermath
Work is underway to bring renewable energy to the remote northern group islands.  Solar power projects have begun on Pukapuka and Rakahanga and in about three months, the construction teams will move to Nassau and Manihiki to start similar work.   Huge concrete slabs are being laid for the solar panels and more than 12,000 metres of cabling is being installed on Pukapuka alone.  LED street lamps will also be installed on  Pukapuka, Rakahanga, Palmerston and Nassau as the project continues.  But some islanders are concerned about the cost of the energy as meters are being put into homes to measure and charge for use. 
Trench digging for new power cables on Pukapuka
The remains of the previous development
A New Zealand development company has resurrected plans to develop a Sheraton resort complex on Rarotonga nearly 30 years after the original project almost bankrupted the Cook Islands government.  The Mirage Group has applied for a project permit to build a 5 star complex with 198 hotel rooms and 16 serviced apartments under Sheraton management and branding.  

The ambitious scheme would involve diverting the existing main road to the back of the development and the installation of two huge groynes to protect the beach,  And Mirage expect the government to pick up the bill for that work.   An artificial saltwater lagoon with 18 overwater bungalow-like structures and three new, smaller 4-room buildings on the beachfront would also be part of the plans, which are now being assessed for the environmental impact.   



Plans to develop the site have been fated since they were first  drafted in 1987, with one developer going bankrupt, claims of Mafia related corruption and a big bill for the government which underwrote the project.   There are also claims of a 100 year old curse which promised financial ruin to anyone developing the land in Vaimaanga.