Samoa

Samoa never had December 30, 2011, because they moved from the eastern side of the international dateline to the western side on December 29, therefore skipping a day. Employers were still required to pay their staff for December 30 even though it never existed.

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Samoa has taken a leap into the future by shifting its time zone forward by 24 hours to bring itself in line with Australia and New Zealand. The Samoan clock has now been reset, wiping Friday December 30 off the calendar and sending the country straight into Saturday. Samoans cheered, sirens wailed and fireworks exploded in the skies as the change took place at midnight on Thursday. The shift from the eastern to the western side of the international dateline means Samoa has gone from being the last country to ring in the New Year to being the first. Prime minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi says the time zone change will take the country into a more prosperous future by bringing it into line with its major trading partners. "It feels very great. Especially we have just finished our ceremony which formally signals the changing of our time zone," he said. The president of the Samoan Chamber of Commerce, Sami Leota, says most Samoans welcome the change.

"On our Friday, which is already the weekend in Australia and New Zealand, we send emails across and we have enquiries and we have no answers," he said. "And when answers come back from Australia and New Zealand it's our Sunday - time we spend with our families." "So we're looking forward to it, it will be a very positive change for Samoa." Samoa is now one hour ahead of Wellington and three ahead of Sydney. The switch reverses a decision made 120 years ago to move to the east of the international dateline because most of Samoa's trade at the time was with the United States and Europe. Guests staying in Samoa's hotels this week will not be expected to pay for a day that does not exist, but employers must still pay staff for the Friday that never was. This is not the first significant change Mr Tuilaepa has introduced to Samoa, after switching driving from the right side of the road to the left in 2009 to bring the country in line with Australia and New Zealand. His next target is changing Samoa's flag, a relic of the colonial era, but he has not yet disclosed what will be on the new flag.

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