Turning the corner towards summer
A burst of stormy weather including a tornado in South Auckland and flash flooding on the East Coast brought an end to a week that included some equally bleak news on several fronts.
The freak tornado which took the life of an Auckland father of two was the worst development, but there were other concerns here in New Zealand.
Perhaps the worst of those was news that the defence of the America's Cup looks like being held elsewhere.
Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton told the Royal New Zealand Yacht Club last Tuesday night that negotiations with the Government and Auckland council were unlikely to result in a home defence when the deadline expired this Thursday.
Losing the opportunity to host the defence would be a blow to both the country and the Government. There is still hope, however, that something might be possible before the site of the defence is confirmed by September 17.
Anxious looks will be cast across the Tasman where the Covid-19 cluster in Bondi has grown to six and New Zealanders who visited Westfield Bondi Junction are urged to get tested. Meanwhile Victoria is just emerging from a lockdown.
But perhaps the saddest sight of the week was Mike King in tears as he returned his NZ Order of Merit medal because not enough was being done in combatting mental health problems.
The Government announced its plan for rolling out the Covid vaccination programme, which will be one of its key measures for success over the three-year term.
Overseas, heading the black list as it so often does was the Middle East where barely a month since a truce ended an outbreak of rocket attacks between Israel and Hamas, fighting erupted again — this time with the Israelis responding to the launch of incendiary balloons from Palestinian territory.
Prospects for a lowering of tensions in the Middle East are not helped by the fact hardliners have taken control in two of the major players, Israel and Iran. Iranian conservative politician and jurist Ibrahim Raisi joined Israel's Naftali Bennett in a pairing that will not help a volatile situation. Raisi won 62 percent of the vote but more than 40 percent of Iranians did not vote, a record low for the country.
Brazil reached a grim figure of 500,000 deaths from Covid-19.
Never mind, today is the shortest day as we hopefully turn the corner towards next summer and some brighter news.