East Asian countries have been the first to celebrate 2006, and the mood has been festive and upbeat, in marked contrast to last year when the tsunami had struck just days earlier.
The Australians once again showed they can be relied on to put on a great party.
Hong Kong’s fireworks will be a hard act to follow, while in Taiwan a year dominated by tensions with China and fears about bird flu went out with a bang.
2005 has been a year associated with natural disasters and terrorist attacks. For many people around the world the attitude seems to be: good riddance.