Samoa abandons 30 December 2011
Monday, December 26, 2011 6:58:22 PM
This year, the 30th day of December disappears from Samoa’s calendar. Samoans will wake up to the 31st day of December instead. The nation is shifting from east to west across the International Date Line so it is in line with key trading partners such as Australia, China and New Zealand, which are currently nearly a full weekday ahead of it. The move will bring an end to the 119-year-old decision (from 1892) that the country should stay a day behind. At that time this was done in the hope that it would bring Samoa “closer to” the US - only four hours behind those of San Francisco. However, trade with the US is incredibly impractical due to the geographical location of the island. The international dateline runs through the middle of the Pacific. Samoa is on its east, at present 11 hours behind GMT and 21 hours behind eastern Australia and 23 behind New Zealand. The change will put the island three hours ahead of Sydney. The change will also bring Samoa into the same time zone as the nearby Tonga - see map at http://www.worldatlas.com/aatlas/infopage/dateline.htm
In principle the International Date Line sits on the 180º line of longitude in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and is the imaginary line that separates two consecutive calendar days. The capital of Samoa, Apia. lies at 171°45′W and thus in principle east of the dateline.