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This update: 17th June, 2015
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
Matt Gifford
A Kiwi musician is planning to capture his Penrhyn heritage of hymns and songs
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The 60 residents of remote Palmerston have 24 hour power for the first time, thanks to the sun
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Palmerston's solar power station
A new set of coins is being minted to celebrate 50 years of self-government in the Cook Islands, although most will retain the current designs
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$1 Cook Islands coin
The government is planning to spend NZ$138.7 million in the coming financial year, which is nearly NZ$18 million more than in 2014/15.    Finance Minister, Mark Brown (right) told Parliament that his party's priorities would be providing regular shipping services to the outer islands, helping growers, promoting a savings culture for children and what he called "growing our national footprint".    The state pension will also go up by NZ$10 to NZ$650 a month from July 1, and a further NZ$10 in July 2016.  Total income is expected to be NZ$140.3 million, most of which will come from taxes and duties.  That money includes a previously announced 5% indexation of the levies on tobacco, alcohol and sweetened drinks and the sale of 930 fishing days by purse seine fleets at an average cost of NZ$10,000 a day. 
Additional details are from the Finance Ministry budget paper

Finance Minister Mark Brown spells out the budget plans
Four out of ten students under 14 in the Cook Islands are having sex.  And only 42% of them are using condoms.   Ten per cent of school students identified themselves as lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or transgender (LGBT) and 22% said they were unsure of their sexuality.    The findings first published in 2012 have been highlighted at a training workshop for teachers run by the Ministry of Education.  It's the first of its kind since 2004 and its aim is to help teachers tackle problems with sexual health and gender identity.   A personal comment on our Facebook page
The essence of Cook Islands culture is being promoted as part of the latest strategy to attract visitors to the country. "Kia Orana Values" will be core to everything the Tourism Corporation does and also help influence policies and strategies.   The Director of Destination Development,  Metua Vaiimene says community and industry will be fully involved in the campaign which will "promote genuine and professional experiences that will be enjoyed by visitors".

Ancient lava flows at Black Rock point on Rarotonga have been defaced with graffiti.  The iconic historic site in Nikao has been covered with spray pain and some messages apparently in memory of deceased friends.  The vandalism has been condemned by local residents as "disgraceful".

Graffiti defaces Black Rock Point
A new television service could be on its way for the Islands.  Bluesky Group which now has a majority stake in Telecom Cook Islands says its working on the details. It's also looking at what it calls "new and exiciting products and promotions"  to allow residents to be connected to each other "anytime and anywhere".

Hopes that the Cook Islands could become a full member of the United Nations have been dashed by New Zealand.  Kiwi Prime Minister, John Key made it clear in a meeting with Islands Prime Minister, Henry Puna that there would be no change to the existing relationship between with New Zealand.  Puna has yet to make a statement about the meeting.  Constitutionally, the Islands are currently an independent nation in Free Association with New Zealand which means their status stops short of full independence. 

The Cook Islands Trading Company (CITC) is sponsoring the forthcoming 50th anniversary constitution celebrations to the tune of NZ$100,000.  Part of the sponsorship will be for a new competition to be called 'Rakei Manava' for cultural costumes.  NZ$80,000 will be used for prizes for the float parade and cultural dance competition, and half of that amount will go to schools to help them build their own floats.  Right: Floats such as these are the highlight of the parade

Constitution parade