APIA, Samoa (AP) -- The South Pacific nation of Samoa is jumping forward in time as it crosses westward over the international dateline to align itself with trading partners throughout the region.
At the stroke of midnight on Thursday, Dec. 29, time in Samoa will leap forward to Dec. 31 -- New Year's Eve. For Samoa's 186,000 citizens, Friday, Dec. 30, 2011, will simply cease to exist.
The time jump comes 119 years after some U.S. traders persuaded local Samoan authorities to align their islands' time with nearby U.S.-controlled American Samoa and the U.S. to assist their trading with California.
But the time zone has proved problematic in recent years because it puts Samoa nearly a full day behind key trading partners Australia and New Zealand.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)