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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.  This 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
This update: 13th April, 2019
The Cook Islands won't be changing its name after all.   Instead it will get a traditional Maori name as well, reflecting the people and culture. The ruling Democratic Party is backing  the compromise decision by the House of Ariki (the Islands' traditional leaders).  The Demo were giving "cautious" support to a completely new name but Islanders say they don't want that. 

A public vote in 1994 for a name change was overwhelmingly defeated.  The Naming Advisory Committee has received more than 60 suggestions so far for a Maori name.
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Raro airport exterior
Rarotonga battered in 2005
Five cyclones in five weeks which battered the Cook Islands in 2005 cost the country NZ$20 million and are a lesson for the future. That was the message from Prime Minister, Henry Puna at a round table conference in Rarotonga on climate change.  He said climate predictions for the islands are for more intense storms and that's why urgent global action is neeed now.  He told delegates: "For us on the frontline, climate change is too true to be any good. We have to tell it like it is. That if we don't collectively and globally address the causes, be ambitious in our emissions targets, we cannot overcome the effects". 
More about the 2005 cyclones   Photo: Cyclones battering Rarotonga, photo kindly provided by Leilani Sadaraka's uncle in Rarotonga
The number of cases of dengue fever on Rarotonga is "steadily increasing".   18 have now been confirmed and 12 more are probable.  But the Community Health Services Director, Dr Tereapii Uka says the outbreak appears to be more in control.  There are more cases from Takuvaine, Kiikii, Pokoinu and Nikao but fewer or no cases in the Titikaveka, Matavera and Ngatangiia areas.  No cases have been reported in the outer islands.  Officials are doing checks at ports and airports and continuing with a surveillance and control programme to minimise the risk of mosquitoes spreading the virus.   The World Health Organisation website has more information about dengue    

An expert in environmental law is claiming that mining minerals on the seabed around the Islands would significantly damage the eco system for ever.  Reviewing the government's Seabed Minerals Bill, Catherine Iorns Magallanes says: "While there are a range of seabed mining methods proposed, depending on the mineral and the area it is to be taken from, all the methods effectively involve destroying the seabed which is being mined as well as affecting areas outside that which is being mined".
manganese nodules
CJ Iorns Magallanes
Ms Magallanes (left) also says the dumping of mining waste on the sea floor could disturb entire food chains and seabed damage itself will be permanent.  She's is a distinguished law professor at Victoria Univerity of Wellington in Auckland, New Zealand.
Manganese nodules like these and the rare minerals they contain are increasingly valuable for technologies such as electric cars, batteries and smartphones
The minimum wage in the Islands is set from July to rise to NZ$7.60 an hour.  The Minimum Wage Panel is recommending a 35 cents an hour increase with the objective of achieving NZ$8 an hour by next year.  Cabinet has approved it and the Chamber of Commerce is backing it. 
A big drop in the number of visitors to the Islands in February is being attributed to competition, particularly from Indonesia.   There were 7,008 arrivals during the month, which is 10 per cent down on the same time last year.  At the same time, New Zealand, which is the main market for the Islands, saw a 65% rise in the number of tourists to Indonesia in part due to increased capacity on flights between Auckland and Bali.
Environment friendly Prime Foods
Banana leaves are the latest "weapon" in the war on plastic at a leading fresh and frozen produce store on Rarotonga.  Prime Foods is using them to bundle local and imported items along with bio-degradable twine and paper.  General manager, Daniel Forsyth said: "It's time consuming, but it's better for the environment and we want to push for eco-friendlier, bio-degradable and non-toxic alternatives to plastic packaging."  Customers say they're very happy with new initiative which is still on trial.  Read more on our our Facebook page