Cook Islands

Cooks gets sanitation aid from EU

The financing agreement was formalised during the Oceans Conference in Malta this week.

Under the agreement, which is financed through the 11th European Development Fund, the EU will provide $US1.65 million dollars to the Cook Islands' budget to help with the implementation of the National Sustainable Development Plan and the Sanitation Policy over the next four years.

 

Photo: RNZ/Daniela Maoate-Cox The Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna 

'Developed' status a challenge for the Cook Islands

But the minister of finance Mark Brown said it was not fully viable given current challenges and a lack of resources.

Mr Brown said while the change was a major milestone it involved considerable challenges and meant the Cook Islands had to consider a new way of doing business.

He said there were still options to efficiently run the country without the support of the large grants which would cease once the islands are declared a developed nation.

Cooks bill puts spotlight on laws for gays in Pacific

The Solomon Islander moved to Australia in 2005 to study. He's able to live there openly as a gay person.

But not so in Solomon Islands where he keeps a low profile on short visits home to visit family.

"I feel sorry for my friends back in the Solomons who are gay. I know people who are verbally and physically abused for being gay on a daily basis.

"They even get threatened that they'll be arrested and have the law thrown upon them," he said.

Semi-final showdown today

Both teams advanced to the semi-final after finishing top in the Pool A group match.

New Zealand finished on top with nine clear points and were unbeaten in their pool games while New Caledonia secured second spot with six points.

The defending champions who also won the recent OFC U-19 Women’s Champion are vying to add another title in the U-16 category.

However, Cook Islands U-16 cannot be underestimated as they are eyeing for the final spot.

The second final will feature Fiji against New Caledonia at 8pm today.

Cook Islands claim first semi-final berth in OFC U 16 meet

Although their final placing won’t be confirmed until the last matches for Group B on Friday, Cook Islands secured at least a second place finish in the group – enough to qualify – after Fiji and Tonga’s 0-0 draw in the opening match of the day.

Tahiti upset Cook Islands to keep RWC hopes alive

In wet and windy conditions, the French territory scored two unanswered tries and kept the Cookies scoreless in the second half.

The test was marred by ill-discipline, with Tahiti prop Martin Taeae, winger James Tekurio and Cook Islands centre Samuela Longo Leuta sent off amid a flurry of eight cards.

President of Tahiti Rugby Union, Charles Tauziet, claimed the "underdog" tag prior to kick-off but said the visitors ultimately won the game up front.

Cooks may legalise homosexuality

A proposed overhaul of the 1969 Crimes Act excludes sections that ban homosexuality.

Currently, the law bans "indecent acts" between two men, and "consensual sodomy" with prison terms of between five and seven years, although convictions are rare.

LGBT activists in the country have long been pushing for an amendment, and the draft Crimes Bill 2017 brings that one step closer.

The Solicitor General, David James, says the new bill makes laws suitable for the modern era, and means people will no longer be locked up for their private conduct.

China likely to team up more on aid to Pacific

An expert on China's foreign aid programme, Denghua Zhang, said the Te Mato Vai project in the Cook Islands was helping China learn about aid delivery and monitoring.

According to his research, about four percent of China's total aid spends goes to Oceania, most of that in soft loans for new roads and other infrastructure.

Mr Zhang said China was increasingly teaming up with traditional donor countries and agencies like the UN Development Programme and it saw the Pacific as a good testing ground for such co-operation.

Cooks agency assures power funds will stay in Aitutaki

Late last month the board of the Aitutaki Power Authority was removed and former chair Allan Mills claimed this was to give the CIIC access to its financial reserves.

The corporation's Mike Henry rejected that.

He said the old authority was unable to use the funds, and the new Aitutaki agency, which would essentially be a state owned enterprise, will have the power to spend them.

Cook Islands applauded for marine management

The country recently announced all water within its 50 nautical mile zone would be protected from commercial fishing,

The government wants to reduce interaction between commercial fishers and whales within Cook Islands waters.

The Cook Islands Minister of Environment, Kiriau Turepu, says his country recognises the importance of whales in the oceans, environment, economy and culture.

He says calving happens in Cooks' waters, which makes them even more special to Cook Islanders.