A bleak future for public services stretches far beyond the midwinter, according to scenarios outlined by civil servants which could see some Stormont departments have their budgets cut by 12 per cent.
A special senate election in one state would not normally command much attention outside the United States but such is the intense interest in anything related to Donald Trump that the Alabama race has become headline news around the world.
There can be no doubt that staff from the Department of Infrastructure work exceptionally hard to keep traffic flowing smoothly and safely during sub-zero temperatures of the kind experienced over recent days.
Yesterday's deal on the future arrangements for the Irish border marks a significant stage in the Brexit process which now looks considerably softer than was initially envisaged by the British government.
While issues associated with homelessness are always complex, there will be surprise that Belfast City Council has responded to problems in one particular area by simply removing wooden benches from a public space.
Far from providing reassurance that Theresa May's humiliation in Brussels on Monday was a minor blip, easily fixed, the performance of the British government in subsequent days has served to underline the shambolic nature of its Brexit strategy.
While there are many challenges facing our education system, it is clearly very positive that a major international survey has placed Northern Ireland pupils among the world's top performers in reading.