Time Zone

The need for time zones is a fact of life because the Earth rotates on its axis. Oh – that and the fact that it’s basically a sphere – it’s an Astronomy thing. We standardized them a long time ago because it’s really, really confusing to travellers if you don’t agree on what time it is.

Venezuela has decided to change its time zones. Scratch that. Hugo Chavez decided to create a new zone, in effect, by having his country set its clocks back one-half hour.

President Hugo Chavez says that an earlier dawn means the performance of the country will improve, as more people will wake up in daylight.

“I don’t care if they call me crazy, the new time will go ahead,” he said.

But critics say the move is unnecessary and the president simply wants to be in a different time zone from his arch-rival, the United States.

The new time puts Venezuela four-and-a-half hours behind Greenwich Mean Time, and out of step with all its neighbours.

Um… can he do that? Yes, he can.

Small time differences are hardly unique, however.

Canada’s Newfoundland province is half-an-hour out of step with other Atlantic provinces.

Pakistan is only half-an-hour behind India, while Nepal is a mere 15 minutes ahead of its large southern neighbour.

Western Australia and South Australia observe a 90-minute time difference across the state boundary.

However, the remote border town of Eucla and the surrounding area, home to a few hundred people, operates on its own time zone, 45 minutes ahead of Western Australia and 45 minutes behind South Australia.

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