A unique Cook Islands coin
This update: 19th July, 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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Two Olympians are among 39 athletes representing the Islands at the Commonwealth Games in Scotland

Luisa lifts 82kgs at London 2012
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
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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A "paint it yourself" silver NZ$5 coin is among three new Cook Islands coins for collectors...complete with brush and paints!
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Cook Islands taxis
Taxi drivers on Rarotonga have admitted their fares are too high, but say they can't see how they can lower them and stay in business. Members of the Cook Islands Taxi Association charge NZ$15 to NZ$20 a person for trips from the airport, regardless of how short the journey may be.  But Associaton Acting Secretary, Larry Price claims dropping the fares would be an issue because they get so few journeys a day.  And he's crticised Raro Tours for taking 90 per cent of the market with pre-arrannged transfers. Mr Price would like to see them sharing that business with the taxis.           
A traditonal leader from Mauke has apologised to Her Majesty The Queen (Queen Elizabeth II) for an attempt in 2008 to take over the country and revert back to cutomary law.    Te Maeva Tararo Ariki said he was sorry for his involvement in the 2008 proclamation led by New Zealand Maori sovereignty campaigner Bruce Ruatapu Mita.  Most of the other chiefs who supported Mita have already apologised.   The apology came ahead of his swearing into the House of Ariki along with fellow traditional chiefs Teurukura Makirau Ariki, Tokerau Tinomana Ariki and Trainee Te Fakaheo Ariki. 
Left: Some of the traditonal chiefs from the outer islands at a previous House of Ariki Day
If the Cook Islands population continues to decline at the current rate, it would halve its size every 140 years, according to a new report.  The Statistics Office says the average loss between the 2006 and 2011 censuses was 322 people a year.  And in the outer islands it's fallen by 14 per cent.   The report says there's also been "a significant decline" in the number of births and "an actual decline in fertility".   
Traditonal leaders
Teina Bishop
An investigation by the Serious Fraud Office in New Zealand into alleged bribery and corruption by the Aitutaki MP, Teina Bishop (right) should be complete by the end of the month.  The SFO is aiming to deliver a recommendation to the Cook Islands Police Commissioner by 31 July on how to proceed.    Investigations began in July 2013 into Mr Bishop's relations with a foreign fishing entity.  

The BBC has commissioned an ambitious eight part drama serial which will be set in the Cook Islands, and start filming this Septemnber

"Tatau" follows two twenty-something friends from London - Kyle Connor and Pete 'Budgie' Griffiths - who travel the world looking for sun, fun and adventure and end up in the Islands.   Kyle is unsettled when local people react to a Maori style tattoo he got in London.

Later, while snorkelling in a lagoon, he finds the dead body of a local girl tied up under water.  Returning to the lagoon with the police, he finds her corpse has disappeared. Budgie wonders if his best friend is going mad he's imagining things. But Kyle knows what he saw.  And he's also beginning to realise that he has a gift or a curse: the murder he's witnessed isn't something that has happened, it's something that will happen in the future.

Tattooed man in Rarotonga
Kyle and Budgie find themselves sucked into a desperate race to prevent Aumea's murder, as Kyle learns that his gifts don't stop at prophecy… and the full meaning of his tattoo is revealed.

The series will be created for its youth channel, BBC3 and will be available on line to UK viewers only in 2015 when the channel moves from broadcast to internet transmission.  
Source: BBC Press Release  Photo courtesy of Therese Mangos and John Utanga, authors of "Patterns of the Past - Tattoo Revival in the Cook Islands published by Punarua Productions.
The Cook Islands Party has secured a majority in Parliament.   Final results from last Wednesday's general election confirm they have 13 of the 24 seats.   Prime Minister Henry Puna has held on to his seat in Manihiki,  but Democratic Party leader Wilkie Rasmussen lost his in Penrhyn. 

A recount will be conducted in Mitiaro where the CIP and Demos have tied.  Tne newly formed "One Cook Islands" ended up with just one seat in Tupapa-Maraerenga, where George Maggie Angene  had a decisive 217 majority over the Demos. 

52 candidtes contested 24 Parliamentary seats.   Nealry 10,500 were eligible to vote.  The results in full are on the Cook Islands News website.

Norman George...Ousted and challenging the result in court
Political newcomer Rose Toki Brown of the Cook Islands Party caused the biggest political upset on Atiu where she ousted Teenui-Mapuma constituency sitting MP and former deputy Prime Minister, Noman George by 12 votes.   George says he will be challenging the result in court, alleging bribery and corruption.  He claims that serious cash bribes , among them a NZ$1,000 motorcylcle, were provided as inducements. 

Norman George
A victorious George Maggie and his "One Cook Islands" party supporters in the constituency of Tupapa-Maraerenga
Celebrations for the One Cook Islands party