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Samoa switches to 'the future,' jumps to other side of International Date Line

Punch clock / cover art for "Punched In"

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: The South Pacific island nation of Samoa will, later this year, move its clocks forward by a day in an effort to boost its economy. Samoa will switch from the east side of the international dateline to the west side.

From Sydney, Australia, the BBC's Phil Mercer reports.


PHIL MERCER: By the end of the year Samoa will shift its clocks forward by 23 hours so that it can be on the same day of the week as Australia, New Zealand and eastern Asia.

Samoa's Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele says the switch makes good economic sense.

TUILAEPA SAILELE: Come Friday it is already Saturday in New Zealand and other Asian countries and most of the business houses would be closed. So by aligning ourselves with the time zone that is more appropriate for us, it would be extremely beneficial.

This is the second major move Samoa has made to align itself more closely with Australia and New Zealand. In 2009, the government brought in new laws that switched cars to driving on the left side of the road instead of the right. Some predicted chaos but there were few hiccups and the government is hoping Samoa's re-drawing of the international dateline will be as painless.

In Sydney, I'm the BBC's Phil Mercer for Marketplace.

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