Samoa Cancels Friday to Align With Neighbors

The South Pacific nation of Samoa, which straddles the international dateline, will skip tomorrow to align its calendar with nearby trading partners Australia and New Zealand.

Samoa, with less than 200,000 people, will move straight into New Year’s Eve at midnight, according to a statement on the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour’s website. The country has lived almost one day behind its largest South Pacific neighbors for more than 120 years after American businessmen convinced officials to align its time closer to theirs.

“We will be waking up on Saturday 31st December 2011 and lose one day in our lives, as there will be no Friday 30th December 2011 in the history of Samoa,” said the statement from the Apia-based government.

The nation’s government approved the time shift in May after the time difference caused problems in business deals with Australia and New Zealand, according to the government’s website. The country effectively had only four working days in which to conduct business with the partners.

Samoa comprises 2,934 square kilometers (1,133 square miles) of two main islands and seven smaller ones. It will move to the west of the international date line, an imaginary north- to-south boundary that passes through the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Bourke in Wellington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Bourke at

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