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This update: 18th March, 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
A new survey shows Pukapuka's lagoon is all but empty of sea life and its coral is mostly bleached and broken
Part of Pukapuka's lagoon
Matt Gifford
A Kiwi musician is planning to capture his Penrhyn heritage of hymns and songs
The 60 residents of remote Palmerston have 24 hour power for the first time, thanks to the sun
Palmerston's solar power station
The cargo shipping service to Aitutaki is being cut from twice to once a month.   The surprise decision by Pacific Direct Line to reduce its operations has shocked and angered politicians and islanders.  Local MP, Teina Bishop said it was backward step for the island and would mean long waits for those who missed their shipping dates.  Port staff will also have their work cut from four to two days a month.   A new carrier agreement has been put in place with Matson South Pacific Ltd.  Left: The Tiara Moana which services Aitutaki from New Zealand
Aitutaki's sea lifeline
A multi-million dollar project to upgrade water supplies on Rarotonga has stalled after objections from local landowners.  The second stage of NZ$64 million scheme involves upgrades to existing intakes and trunk pipelines and the installation of new treatment and reservoir storage facilities .  But each of the 12 intakes is on privately-owned land and the owners are taking legal advice because they haven't been offered any compensation for the work. 
A big push is underway to sell Cook Islands tourism to Europe.   The number of visitors from the UK and mainland continent has declined dramatically in recent years.    A team three travel specialists from the Islands has been visiting Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the international travel show in Berlin.  Next on the agenda is a week of promotions in the UK.  Right:  Turama Pacific Travel Group managing director Robert Skews (left) and Pacific Resort Group chief executive, Greg Stanaway are flying the Cook Islands flag on a whistle-stop promotion tour of Europe
Promoting the Islands in Europe
Police have imposed a total ban on the import of guns to the Islands and it'll continue indefinitely.   It follows a big increase in the number of people asking for firearms licences. The process for issuing licences is very strict and inlcudes detailed background checks and theoretical and practical tests with a police armourer.   Police inspector, John Strickland said they were not prepared to allow any more firearms in the country and he questioned why people outside the agriculture industry would need them. 
Eighteen people on Rarotonga have been confirmed as contracting the mosquito-borne virus, chikungunya.  They include two people  returning from French Polynesia and one from Samoa.   Symptoms include fever and severe joint pain.  There is no known cure, although most patients recover of their own accord.  The Public Health Department has responded by spraying a 200 metre wide area around the homes of those with the illness. 
A coalition between the "One Cook Islands" party and the Democrats looks like it's fracturing before it's really begun. Both parties have decided to field candidates in the crucial Vaipae-Tautu by-election on Aitutaki at the of March.  The vote was rescheduled after the death of Kete Ioane who was a Demo candidate suportedf by OCI.  More than 400 people are eligible to vote.  The result could affect the balance of power in Parliament where the ruling Cook Islands Party have a majority of one.
A new set of coins is being minted to celebrate 50 years of self-government in the Cook Islands.   Six denominations are being produced at the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra and they're expected to go into circulation in August.   The coins - 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, $1, $2 and $5 - will be smaller and lighter than those in use today.   Existing designs will be retained for all but the $5 coin which will now feature a traditional vaka (canoe).  Left: the unique Tangaroa design on the $1 coin will be retained
$1 Cook Islands coin
Four days of heavy rain have left parts of Rarotonga flooded.    The picture on the right was the scene outside the Tapi Taio building in Arorangi, where the car park resembled a small lake.  The Islands' Met Office say 36.6mm (just over an inch) of rain fell in 24 hours to 8 am on 13th March.   And  more is on the way.   But the forecasters say it has nothing to do with Cyclone Pam which has devastated Tuvalu.  Rather, it's due to an "on and off" weather system around the Cooks.  
Flooded car park
A German tourist has drowned while kayaking in Aitutaki lagoon.  He was swept off the double kayak he was paddling with a friend when a large wave broke over the reef.   He was dragged out into the open sea through a small passage.  Efforts to revive him with mouth to mouth resusciaton failed.   A coroner's report is being produced and the man's body is being returned to his home in Germany.