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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 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: 9th August, 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
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
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.
The rusted and swaying radio mast which towers over Rarotonga is about to be dismantled.  It also means the end of medium wave (AM) broadcasting for Radio Cook Islands.  A local construction company will use 50 metres of rope on a pully system to bring down the 107 metre high structure.   Work should be should be complete by 11 September
Matavera rado mast
Shoppers will be paying more for bread because of a rise in the price of Australian wheat.  The cost of a white loaf will go up from NZ$4.89 to NZ$4.95 (approximately AUS$4.71, US$3.21, UKĀ£2.65)and wholemeal and whole grain loaves will increase from NZ$5.19 to NZ$5.35.  The last increase was in 2014
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