North Korea is switching time zones — but it isn’t alone (Wired UK)


North Korea is switching to its own time zone, with clocks set to be put back by 30 minutes on 15 August.

The move will see North Korea move off the same time zone as South Korea and Japan, which are both nine hours ahead of GMT. The half-hour shift was in response to “wicked Japanese imperialists” who “deprived Korea of even its standard time”, the BBC quoted state news agency KCNA as saying.

North Korea’s time change will see it return to 8.5 hours ahead of GMT, the same time the entire Korean peninsular was on until Japanese rule started in 1910. The decision to adopt Pyongyang Time would mark the 70th anniversary of “Korea’s liberation”, state officials said.

Time zones are in no way standardised, with individual countries given responsibility for deciding local time. Such freedom has lead to some curiosities.

Here are WIRED’s favourites:

All of China is on one time zone (GMT+8), despite the country spanning five geographical time zones. All time in China is set to the national standard as Beijing Time. Mongolia is also set to Beijing time.

India and Sri Lanka are also all on one time zone (GMT+5:30) — despite the two countries spanning two geographical timezones.

Russia spans 12 time zones but only uses 11. In 2010 Russia had just nine time zones. That number has since been increased to 11.

Japan is one hour behind Vladivostok, despite being further East.

Nepal is 15 minutes ahead of India. Other places with 15-minute offsets include some parts of Western Australia (GMT+08:45) and the Chatham Islands (GMT+12:45).

Venezuela is the only country in the world on GMT-4.5. In 2007 then Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez moved the whole country to a new time zone to better distribute sunshine to the people.

Spain used to be on GMT. Much of Spain is further west than the UK but the country is on the same time zone as Germany. The oddity dates back to General Franco aligning the country with Germany 70 years ago.

Samoa jumped across the International Data Line in December 2011. The Pacific island nation skipped an entire day in December 2011, putting it three hours ahead of eastern Australia rather than 21 hours behind it, and 22 hours ahead of California, rather than two hours behind it.

The Diomede Islands straddle the International Date Line. Located in the middle of the Bering Strait between Alaska and Siberia the time zone oddity means Big Diomede is nearly a day ahead of Little Diomede. The islands are so close that residents can see into the past/future (sort of).

An earlier version of this article stated Vladimir Putin reduced the number of time zones in Russia to nine, it was Dmitry Medvedev. We also claimed Japan was two hours behind of Vladivostok, it is one hour behind.

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7 August 2015 | 3:10 pm – Source:


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