Samoa Shifts International Date Line, Inscrutable Headlines Follow

Any excuse for a 'Back to the Future' reference

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The South Pacific island chain Samoa is tweaking the International Date Line, redrawing the border so that Samoa sits on the earlier side. This means, effectively, that Samoa is jumping a day ahead--joining Australia and Japan on Tuesday while it's still Monday back in the United States.

The news has made headlines, but those headlines haven't always been super-clear. "Samoa moving forward a day with time-zone switch"? Pretty good, Australian ABC News! "Samoa to move the International Dateline"? Nice and straightforward from the Melbourne Herald Sun.

On the other hand: "Samoa jumps back to future"? We're not sure what you're saying, Sydney Morning Herald. "Samoa moves into tomorrow"? That could mean anything, Stuff. Some of these headlines, we'd swear they were written just to get us to click--like "Samoa to jump forward in time by one day," from BBC News, or "Samoa time travellers to leap a day into the future," from The Guardian. That's just cruel, guys. We got so excited.

In case you were wondering, the Samoan government says it's making the move for economic reasons. "In doing business with New Zealand and Australia, we're losing out on two working days a week," said Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi. They could probably give their tourism dollars a bump if they'd just admit they've got Earl Sweatshirt. We're just saying.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.