Happy New Year 2010
Australia steals Kiwi thunder by starting New Year early (Times Online)
Sydney started its New Year celebrations three hours early with a fireworks display for children... that just so happened to coincide with the moment midnight arrived in Auckland.This reminds me of 2000 when Kiribati temporarily moved the International Date Line 2,000 miles east so it could be the first nation to enter the new millenium (I know it really began in 2001) instead of being the last.
Australia prides itself on the display it puts on over Sydney harbour each year but it appears it wanted to take no chances in grabbing the pictorial coverage of New Year around the world.
Auckland was the first city in the world to start 2010 at 1100 GMT and New Zealand marked the occasion with a firework display from the top of the Auckland Sky Tower. It was preceded only by Christmas Island, in the Pacific Ocean, which is the first inhabited place on Earth to celebrate the New Year.
Millenium (Honolulu Magazine)
Finally, there's Kiribati (pronounced KIR-ee-bas). Kiribati's island chain spreads over 2,000 miles of ocean — the span of Western Europe — but its 33 atolls cover less area than London. Prior to Jan. 1, 1995, Kiribati had two main island groups on each side of the date line. Consequently, the local time difference between the two groups was 23 hours — same island chain, two different dates. To simplify business and government work — and possibly to chase the new millennium, Kiribati "bent" the international date line to include its easternmost land mass, Caroline Island, which, not coincidentally, has been renamed Millennium Island.In the end - an hour or three difference, it really doesn't matter. 2010 is here. Let's hope it's a lot better than 2009.
"We [Kiribati's consul] are adhering to the Royal Greenwich Observatory, which is the designated world authority on the time zones, and it has said that Millennium Island would be the first to experience the dawn of the new millennium," Paupe said.
Happy New Year my friends.