Some time ago, back when the current trade secretary was desperately trying to cheer everybody up over the Millennium Dome project, Peter Mandelson gushingly told journalists “The Millennium will literally start at Greenwich!”
Except, of course, that it will literally start at the International Date Line, 12 hours before computers in Greenwich fall off the Y2K cliff.
So at which bit of land will the millennium literally start? It looks as though it will be the Pacific island group Kiribati which, a few years ago, unilaterally decided that it didn’t want to straddle the International Date Line, so it moved it about 1,000 miles eastwards. Now Kiribati will see in the year 2000 some 23 hours before Tahiti – which is due south.
Imagine improving your position like that, just by drawing a line in a different place! A bit like drawing up a set of accounts, perhaps.
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