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RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, Feb. 10) - A new five cent coin has gone into circulation in the Cook Islands.

The special coins were minted in 2000 by the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization as part of a campaign to promote the welfare of rural communities and increase agricultural production.

Now the international agency has donated several thousand dollars worth of the special coins, which were cast in the Slovak Republic in Eastern Europe, to the Cook Islands, in whose name they were originally minted.

The coins are the same size as 10 cent pieces rather than the existing New Zealand 5 cent coins, however they have still gone into circulation.

The commemorative coin business has long been a useful earner for the country - the government expects to raise some $400,000 in the current financial year through souvenir coin issues.

On top of that sales of the serrated $1, the triangular $2 and the 12-sided $5 that are in circulation also raises a further $300,000.

February 13, 2004

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