Russia and 110 Other Countries Switched to Winter Time. Is This True?

Reading common Russian media headlines, one could be lead to believe that Russia, along with another 110 countries around the world, is transitioning back to Standard Time or “winter time” on October 25, 2009.

However, this unverified data of "110 countries" continue to be reprinted across the newspapers and on internet sites from year to year and thus misleading many readers.

As a matter of fact, depending on the criteria one uses to count the individual countries and territories, only slightly more than 80 countries use Daylight Savings Time (DST) throughout the year. The current exact figure is 83 but there are other considerations.

For example, when it comes to counting actual “countries” using DST, do we count the Azores (located in a separate time zone than her mother Portugal) as an individual “country” or is it included together with Portugal, and referred to as one country. The same can be said of the Canary Islands which are located in a separate time zone from Spain.

Counting in this way, separating out the territories from the mother country, would not even get the count to 90 countries, which leaves another 20 countries unaccounted for . . . or not?

On the night of 24 to 25 October 2009, along with Russia, only 55 countries (exact half of number 110) around the world actually switched to the winter time. With exception to Cuba and Mexico (the only two located in the western hemisphere), all of those countries are in Europe.

One week later, on Nov. 1, 2009, 6 countries from the Western Hemisphere, including Canada, USA, The Bahamas, Bermuda, will also move to the winter time.

What follows is a brief review of a few notable headlines for the 2009 Summer-Winter time transitions:

- Tunisia and Mauritius have cancelled to use of "Summer Time" in 2009.

- Bangladesh had introduced Daylight Saving Time for the first time this year- however definite dates to switch back to Winter time have not yet been determined. Initially the plan was to switch back to winter time on the night of October 1, but was then cancelled.

- Argentina, during "summer time" has divided the country into 2 zones; one part of Argentina enjoys the summer time and other part does not. However, in 2009 on Oct. 18 Argentina will implement DST, opposite to the countries in the northern hemisphere. There are more provinces within Argentina that are against to use of summer time and at this writing, no one exactly knows which part of Argentina will introduce the additional hour. When many provinces in Argentina started to get mischievous with switching time on October 18 and threatened not to obey the federal law on summer time, Argentina decided to completely refuse from the use of summer time in 2009-2010.

- Brazil has replaced its former 4 Time Zones to just 3 Time Zone, thus moving the state of Rio Branco (which used to use the same time zone with as its neighbors Peru and Colombia) and the western part of the state of Amazonas to the East.

Also for the first time this year Brazil adopted an exact rule of the transition time to and from Summer. Historically, Brazil had implemented the rules of the transition to winter and summer time by special Presidential decree so the dates of these transitions were always different.

- Australia moved to Daylight Saving Time (Summer Time) on the night of October 4, 2009. Four Australian states finally agreed on a unified plan for the transition to winter and summer time. However, Western Australia (Perth) declined from summer time use. Ongoing debate pros and cons of continuing to agitate Queensland, residents of big cities want to be "closer" to Sydney and Melbourne, and want to implement DST; however farmers and residents of the tropical regions are against the use of Summer Time.

- Samoa (Apia) planned for the first time to introduce Daylight Saving Time on October 4 2009. However, due the recent devastating earthquake and tsunami, the plan is not a priority.

So, back to our headline news. The correct one should be: "Russia and 55 other countries switched to “winter time” on October 25, 2009."

Alexander Krivenyshev
World Time Zone

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov