Timekeeping (Clocks, Horology, Methods, Standards, etc.)

Yithian

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#61
Quake42 said:
I'm puzzled. When did "Paris" or CET become "Berlin" time? Is this just a ridiculous attempt by the Mail to drum up anti-German sentiment?
Peter Hitchens responds to your exact question:

[He referred to Berlin time] ...basically because it *is* Berlin time, and not Madrid or Paris Time.

Get out your atlas and observe that the map is marked with lines of longitude, spreading eastwards and westwards form the zero meridian at Greenwich. They arrive at the opposite of Greenwich in the far east of Siberia, which is 180 degrees east and west (the International Date Line, which does not exactly follow the 180 degree meridian, is to be found here).

The numbering of these lines is arbitrary. But the absolutes which they measure are based upon the rotation of the earth, and are not arbitrary but real. It really is lighter earlier in Berlin than it is here, in the morning.

In theory the zero meridian could go through anywhere. But Greenwich was chosen at the International Meridian Conference in Washington in 1884.

What is not arbitrary is that 15 degrees of longitude represents the distance between two points, where the sun is at its zenith an hour apart. Thus. The sun is at its zenith an hour earlier on the 15 degree east Meridian (close to Berlin) than it is at Greenwich.

And lo, the 15 degree east meridian runs about 60 miles east of Berlin. (Trebnje in Slovenia is exactly upon it, but Berlin is the major city in Europe closest to it, and also the political origin of Central European Time, dating back to the Kaiser but spread, by conquest or pressure, ever since.)

Whereas Paris is only about two degrees east of Greenwich (and ought really to be on GMT), and Madrid is about three degrees *west* of Greenwich, and would certainly be better suited to London than Berlin time - though being further south is not so badly affected by it.

I call it Berlin time because it is Berlin time.

http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/ ... 0fb45b970b
 

amyasleigh

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#64
I get the impression that people have been buggering around with the clock in daft and complicated ways, ever since they first started trying to measure time. Am sure I have read that in medieval and earlier times (pre-clockwork mechanisms), the convention was that “one revolution” was 24 hours; but the night, and the day, were each divided into twelve hours: said hours longer, or shorter (meticulously divided by twelve) according to how long daylight / darkness were, per the seasons. I being highly innumerate, that would have driven me mad had I been around in those times.

Would hazard a guess that throughout those many centuries, the large majority of the population – except when “the other stuff” most vitally affected them (e.g. curfews), just lived their lives by the sun, and let the minority for whom time-measuring was important – kings, nobles, religious orders, priests, learned scholars, and other such “anoraks” – get on with said nonsense and have a good time with it.
 

rynner2

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#65
amyasleigh said:
I get the impression that people have been buggering around with the clock in daft and complicated ways, ever since they first started trying to measure time. Am sure I have read that in medieval and earlier times (pre-clockwork mechanisms), the convention was that “one revolution” was 24 hours; but the night, and the day, were each divided into twelve hours: said hours longer, or shorter (meticulously divided by twelve) according to how long daylight / darkness were, per the seasons.
Yes, I think the ancient Egyptians had something like that.

But later on there were sand glasses and calibrated candles - essential for getting the times right for early Christian monastic services. Accurate enough, and could be 'reset' by a sundial on bright days.
Would hazard a guess that throughout those many centuries, the large majority of the population – except when “the other stuff” most vitally affected them (e.g. curfews), just lived their lives by the sun, and let the minority for whom time-measuring was important – kings, nobles, religious orders, priests, learned scholars, and other such “anoraks” – get on with said nonsense and have a good time with it.
But that all ended with the industrial revolution, and especially the coming of the railways. Until then, everywhere in Britain was on local time, the clocks now regulated by sundials (adjusted for the equation of time - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equation_of_time ). But even though Britain doesn't have a great longitudinal spread, the time difference between say London and Penzance (only around 20 minutes) was sufficent for the railways to insist on one time zone for the whole country to make time-tabling simpler.

But to return to the question of 'Berlin Time'. This is really quite unnecessary, since some groups of workers here are already on it! This was brought home to me today, as I've had workmen doing a makeover of my bathroom. They muster at their depot at 8am, and knock off work at 4pm. It's only shops and offices that work 9-5, as many blue-collar workers are on 8-4. And there are many other workers on shift work, on various schedules, to provide a round the clock service.

So it's only because the political classes tend to associate themselves with the time-keeping of academics and white-collar workers that we get such daft schemes as changing the clocks thought up.

As I said before, there are only so many hours of daylight available. It's up to each of us to use it as best we may, without the government imposing arbitrary clock-changes on everyone.
 

amyasleigh

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#66
rynner2 said:
But later on there were sand glasses and calibrated candles - essential for getting the times right for early Christian monastic services. Accurate enough, and could be 'reset' by a sundial on bright days.
Brings irresistibly to mind, the IMO splendid series of novels by Bernard Cornwell (he of “Sharpe”) set in the time of Alfred the Great. Much fun from the interplay between the hero / narrator, Uhtred of Bebbanburg; and Alfred himself. Total opposites in every respect, resulting not in mutual attraction, but extreme mutual annoyance. Circumstances, though, have them both working for the Saxon cause. Uhtred (part-Dane, part-Saxon) is an extrovert warrior-type who enjoys life, and sticks with worshipping the old Norse gods. He finds Alfred a physically sickly, miserable individual; a devout and anxious Christian, a humourless killjoy and an obsessive worrier and workaholic and control-freak; also, an irritating techno-geek besotted with every new outlandish technique and crazy gadget – for instance, calibrated candles.

So it's only because the political classes tend to associate themselves with the time-keeping of academics and white-collar workers that we get such daft schemes as changing the clocks thought up.

As I said before, there are only so many hours of daylight available. It's up to each of us to use it as best we may, without the government imposing arbitrary clock-changes on everyone.
I love the thing from Lilian Beckwith's books about life in the Hebrides, mid-20th century. The local inhabitants there have never had much reverence for central government, especially when in emanates from England. The author recounts that in World War II, they referred to GMT, British Summer Time, and Double Summer Time as, respectively: God's Time, Government Time, and Daft Time.
 

rynner2

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#67
I got a reply to my email to my MP, a longish letter setting out the advantages of the proposed changes.

And the miserable ***** will be voting FOR the motion today! :evil:
 

rynner2

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#68
Daylight Saving Bill gets initial approval from MPs

The campaign to give the UK more hours of daylight in the evenings has been boosted by MPs who have given it initial approval.

The Daylight Saving Bill requires the government to conduct analysis of the costs and benefits of shifting the clocks forward by an hour for all or part of the year.
If it was found to benefit the whole of the UK, a three-year trial would follow, the bill proposes.

MPs voted by 92 to 10 in support. [Poor turnout!]
The bill now goes for more detailed scrutiny in the Commons.

At the end of more of than four hours of debate on Friday, Business Minister Ed Davey said the government opposed the bill, because the "necessary consensus across all parts of the UK does not yet exist to justify a change, or the passing of any legislation on the matter". :yeay:

However, he offered to publish a review of the available evidence concerning the likely effects of moving to Central European Time.
He said the government would also propose talks with the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland about the issue.

Conservative Rebecca Harris said her bill could save up to 80 lives a year, mainly among children, by giving Britain lighter evenings.

Ms Harris said: "My bill does not enforce an immediate change, it does not seek to enforce the view of myself or my colleagues on anyone.

"I'm asking that the government should take an objective, informed decision based on the best available evidence so all these questions can be properly looked at before any decision is taken."
She added: "You cannot grow time, you cannot make more of it than you have and you cannot create additional daylight.
"But it is up to us to utilise both as best we can."

Supporters say having lighter evenings would reduce fatal road accidents, boost tourism revenues, promote sport and exercise and reduce energy use.
But critics fear a later sunrise makes the school run more dangerous and presents problems for farmers and outdoor workers, particularly in Scotland.

The SNP strongly criticised the proposals, saying the rejection of a similar move after a trial between 1968 and 1971 should not be ignored as it was based on "sound reasons".

MP Angus MacNeil said: "The progress of this bill is literally a wake-up call to the prospect of dark mornings for everyone north of Manchester, and has been pushed through by MPs from the south with no regard to the impact these changes would have on the quality of life for people in the north.
"This change would be acutely felt in Scotland, raising real safety and quality of life concerns, and this is now a real test for the Tory government and its claims of a respect agenda for Scotland."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11913582

It's a 'beanbag' idea - poke it in in one place, it bulges out in another place. Optimists think we can optimize things by fiddling with the clocks. Realists know that it's a zero-sum situation - for every alleged advantage, there is an equal and opposite disadvantage, so we might as well leave things as they are.

I hope that's the way government will decide, when a decent quorum of members turn up to vote.

There's also the question: if this move is so good for Britain, why doesn't Germany also shift its clocks forward an hour, and get the same benefits? (Then Germany would be on GMT, while we'd be on GMT+1.)
The fact is, there are NO net benefits.
 

Quake42

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#69
There's also the question: if this move is so good for Britain, why doesn't Germany also shift its clocks forward an hour, and get the same benefits? (Then Germany would be on GMT, while we'd be on GMT+1.)
I don't understand this. Surely if Germany puts its clocks forward an hour it would be in GMT +2 :confused:

Whilst I wouldn't die in a ditch over this proposal, the fact that it's been tried once and didn't work seems to be good enough reason not to bother going through it all over again.
 

rynner2

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#70
Quake42 said:
There's also the question: if this move is so good for Britain, why doesn't Germany also shift its clocks forward an hour, and get the same benefits? (Then Germany would be on GMT, while we'd be on GMT+1.)
I don't understand this. Surely if Germany puts its clocks forward an hour it would be in GMT +2 :confused:
Mea culpa! (The Perils of Posting after too many Pints...)

Yes, to get the same 'benefits', Germany would have to switch to Moscow time. 8)
 

rynner2

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#71
Berlin Time: Now the Government swings behind Mail on Sunday campaign to keep GMT
By Glen Owen
Last updated at 2:30 AM on 5th December 2010

A plot to move our clocks forward by an hour – to so-called ‘Berlin Time’ – looks doomed to failure after a campaign by The Mail on Sunday highlighted the potential nightmare it could create.
Speaking during an impassioned Commons debate last week, Consumer Affairs Minister Ed Davey demolished the arguments of reformers who want us to join residents of the German capital in living an hour ahead of GMT in winter and two hours ahead in summer.
And he warned they were unlikely to win ministerial backing in their campaign.

etc...

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... z17EZWDFYQ

Long article which mostly rehashes points already made in this thread, but this was new to me:
And the SNP’s Eilidh Whiteford pointed out that during a trial of the proposed change in the Sixties, road fatalities in the north of Scotland increased.
‘That happened despite the fact that during the same period speed limits, drink-driving legislation and seatbelts were introduced,’ she said.
‘Early mornings are a hazardous time to be on the roads.’
There's also a list of which MPs voted for or against the motion.
 

Timble2

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#74
Now if Ireland (Eire that is) switches to Central European Time (on the basis that it's effectively owned by the EU) the comfusion can really start...
 
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#76
'The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our time.'

Oh...hold on...there they are - over there.

Oh, gone again.

Nope, they're back.

Gone.

Back...
 

rynner2

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#77
This article summarises the debate so far:

Royal Observatory tourist charges: how Britain could drop GMT
The campaign for permanent British Summer time could one day lead to Britain adopting the same time zone as most of Europe and abandoning Greenwhich Mean Time.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/topics/weath ... p-GMT.html

But it doesn't address the issue that, if these clock changes are so beneficial, socially and financially to Britain, why wouldn't Germany and other central European states also put their clocks forward (to 'Moscow Time') to gain the same advantages for themselves?
 

linesmachine

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#78
I vote we put our clocks forward 24 hours so that the UK can celebrate the new year first, rather than an island of Captain Cooks' deserters :twisted:

Seriously though, how much money has and still is being wasted to agree that changing to Berlin Time...is a waste of time?
 

rynner2

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#79
Uh oh.... :(

Coalition may put clocks forward two hours
Britain is set for longer and lighter summer evenings as ministers prepare to shift the nation's clocks forward by an extra hour in what would be a historic move.
By Patrick Hennessy, Political Editor 9:00PM GMT 19 Feb 2011

A new 'tourism strategy', to be published by the Coalition within days, is expected to contain plans to move the country to 'double summertime', The Sunday Telegraph has learned.
Putting the clocks forward by an hour to British Summer Time +1 (equivalent to Greenwich Mean Time +2) would mean lighter evenings in the summer months, but darker mornings.

The plan already has influential support among Conservative MPs, safety campaigners and environmentalists. Supporters believe it would boost outdoor events, particularly in late summer when the nights are drawing in.

Ministers have up to now taken a cautious approach, saying that any change must be approved by a consensus of opinion. The appearance of the plan in the Coalition's tourism strategy will greatly encourage campaigners for a change.

It was not clear last night whether the proposals would mean a two-hour shift every spring and autumn, or whether winter time would also advance from GMT to GMT+1, bringing Britain into line with most of the European continent year-round.
The latter option would meet with fierce resistance in Scotland, where politicians argue that the resulting darker winter mornings would increase the number of road accidents and put children's lives at risk.

Other proposals in the tourism strategy are expected to include:

• Scrapping the May Day bank holiday in favour of another date yet to be fixed. Tourism chiefs back a new bank holiday in October, close to schools' half-term break, which could be called 'UK Day' - or 'Trafalgar Day' in recognition of Admiral Nelson's victory over the French and Spanish fleets on Oct 21, 1805.

• Allowing businesses more freedom to advertise attractions on the side of main roads, rather than relying on the current system of 'brown signs' marking officially-recognised tourist sites.

• Making it easier to obtain a tourist visa for visiting Britain, currently subject to range of restrictions.

• Ending the official 'star rating' system for hotels, in favour of consumer-led reviews on websites such as TripAdvisor. The current star system depends on verdicts by independent assessors working for Visit Britain, the national tourism agency.

• Making arriving in Britain a more pleasant experience, including the sprucing-up of the arrivals area at Heathrow and other main airports.

Ministers hope to have the bulk of the planned changes in place by next year, when Britain is expected to welcome an influx of visitors for the London Olympics and associated events.

A Coalition source said: "Britain is the greatest country in the world but we still have some way to go in persuading visitors this is the case. The Government wants to listen to the tourism industry, the people whose livelihoods depend on welcoming people here, as it plots the way forward."


Tourism chiefs in England say the number of overseas visitors would increase if summer evenings were lighter. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) also backs the move, which would delay lighting-up time in late June to 11pm in the south of England, and 11.30pm in Scotland.

Rebecca Harris, the Conservative MP for Castle Point, Essex, said: "The tourism industry has been crying out for extra daylight saving for years. It could extend the tourist season and boost the economy by up to £3.5billion a year.
"And we would have longer, lighter evenings."

David Cameron, who last year committed the Government to considering plans to shift the clocks forward, has nevertheless said Britain should continue to be a 'united time zone', apparently ruling out any solution which allowed northern areas to stick to the current system while the rest of the country shifted.

Mrs Harris has brought a backbench Bill to parliament calling on the Government to conduct a cross-departmental analysis of the costs and benefits of putting the clocks forward for all or part of the year.
Her Bill received its second Commons reading, clearing its first main parliamentary hurdle, late last year and is currently in its detailed committee stage.

Putting the clocks forward by an hour for the whole year, putting the UK into the continental time zone, was tried between 1968 and 1971, but following this three-year trial it was decided to revert to the current system.

During the Second World War Britain's clocks went forward an hour to help save electricity and preserve more working hours in daylight.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstop ... hours.html
 

_Lizard23_

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#80
As someone pointed out on page two (can't be bothered to go back and look, sorry) the most annoying thing about that original article is that it suggests the true horror of the situation is that, should the proposal go ahead, it might make it a bit gloomy in London at 9am on the 21st of December and however many thousands of 'people in the south' will have to go to work in the dark.

I'm from and have spent most of my life about 200 miles further north, near the geographical centre of the country. There are even other people there, quite a few even live a bit further away from holy bloody London and I assure you if you work a full-time day job you don't get to see frigging daylight for about 3 months of the sodding year ..... and I'm no crazed federalist or anything but I'll happy swallow the Euro, a decimal clock, a presdent in Brussells, a mythical straight banana and anything else you like if it will do away with that sort of constant, infuriating metropolitan bias and teach the self-obsessed arseholes in that overpriced little patch of real estate inside the M25 that they are not the centre of the entire fucking universe.

Perhaps one more for the crap journalism thread, really, but never mind.

So for what it's worth (nothing) I like GMT for all that, it's history, it's fine and it's already there, I see no point in changing it (and that goes for 'daylight savings' which I just find annoying).

I'm going to pop a valium and watch the cricket. It's GMT +5.5hrs here, all day, every day, for miles and miles and miles.
 

Scunnerlugzzz

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#81
Clearly the extra hours of sunshine in the evening will lead to more global warming.
Oh why won't they think of the planet??

:shock:
 

Mythopoeika

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#83
rynner2 said:
Scunnerlugzzz said:
Clearly the extra hours of sunshine in the evening will lead to more global warming.
:D

That just about sums up the logical insanity of the idea!

:twisted:
Actually, he may have a point there.

Given extra hours of daylight, lots of people may end up doing stuff that isn't very environmentally friendly.
 

Scunnerlugzzz

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#84
Mythopoeika said:
rynner2 said:
Scunnerlugzzz said:
Clearly the extra hours of sunshine in the evening will lead to more global warming.
:D

That just about sums up the logical insanity of the idea!

:twisted:
Actually, he may have a point there.

Given extra hours of daylight, lots of people may end up doing stuff that isn't very environmentally friendly.
:D haha, no please do not credit me with making a good point there! :D
 

rynner2

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#85
This latest version of the clock-turning scam emphasises how good it would be for tourism.
But I don't really think they've thought it through.

Tourists are the last people to care what time the clock says when the sun goes down.
Or does the government think they spend all of office hours in their hotel, or changing money in the bank, or spending it in the shops?

"Ah look Helga, it is now fife o'clock, and ve can finally go out and enjoy the long English summer evening!"

Weather permitting, tourists are out and about all day long - long evenings are really irrelevent when your time's your own. So I can't see that putting the clocks forward will attract a single extra tourist.

:evil:
 

rynner2

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#86
VT-Day: For you, time traitors, the war is over – Mail on Sunday triumphs in its campaign to prevent Berlin Time being imposed on Britain
By Glen Owen and Martin Delgado
Last updated at 1:59 AM on 27th February 2011

A plot to move our clocks forward by an hour has been killed off by Ministers – after the success of The Mail on Sunday’s campaign against ‘Berlin Time’.
Government insiders say an attempt to force us to join residents of the German capital in living an hour ahead of GMT in winter and two hours ahead in summer is doomed.

The result is being hailed as VT Day – ‘Victory in our Time’ – and it comes despite a concerted effort by so-called ‘daylight savers’ to force a change.
Pro-Berlin Time campaigners, who claim lighter afternoons would make roads safer, reduce crime and boost business, last week leapt on a report in a Sunday newspaper which said Ministers were planning a ‘historic move to shift the nation’s clocks forward’.

The article claimed the policy would be advocated in a new Coalition ‘tourism strategy’, to boost outdoor events and extend the summer visiting season.
The proposal was even backed in a Leader page opinion piece in The Times – perhaps appropriately, given that the same newspaper backed the appeasement of Hitler in the Thirties and Stalin in the Forties. [Don't mention the war!]

But a senior Whitehall source who helped draft the strategy, to be published next month, described it as ‘an idea whose time will never come’.
‘There is a passing reference in the strategy to the fact that some stakeholders in the tourism industry think lighter evenings would help business,’ the source said. ‘But it also states there are strong objections. It is a talking point, nothing more.’

And last night Consumer Affairs Minister Ed Davey went further, telling this newspaper: ‘At the moment there is no consensus to do this and unless there is a consensus across the whole of the country, including Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, we will not act.
‘It would be unfair to impose this on them without stronger support. I believe the arguments in favour of changing the clocks need to be more convincing than they are at present.’


etc...

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... z1F9ab85wE
 

rynner2

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#88
May as well drop this in here:

Can daylight savings time affect your health?
Relaxnews
Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Europe is set to "spring forward" on March 27, while North America has already set its clocks forward an hour on March 13. Experts say that losing one hour of sleep may affect your health in more ways than you'd think - and offer tips on making a smooth transition.

On March 11, health and science news website LiveScience reported on a number of health trends surrounding the first day of daylight savings time - more traffic and workplace accidents, heart attacks, and suicides - but researchers so far don't know exactly why that happens.

"It's not really understood why some of these health problems that are published coincide with the time change," said Russell Rosenberg, vice chairman of the National Sleep Foundation in the US, in an interview with LiveScience. "We don't have studies that show the time change actually causes these problems."

One problem may be that as a society, we are already sleep-deprived, so adding another hour to the deficit might push some people over the edge. "We can ill afford to lose one more hour of sleep," Rosenberg adds.

Want to make the switch and still feel rested and refreshed? WebMD advised the following tips:

•Give yourself (and your kids) a jumpstart. In the days leading up the switch, move your bedtime and wake time, little by little. For example, shave 10 minutes off every night for six nights prior to the change.
•Get some sunlight. Help reset your body's internal clock by exposing yourself to sunlight first thing in the morning.
•Avoid evening light. Since you'll be heading to bed an hour earlier than usual, keep your evenings dark with dim lighting in your house.
•Exercise a little earlier. Get in your workout before 4pm or 5pm, experts say, because exercising late in the day can keep you awake longer in the evenings.
•Try melatonin. If you decide to take melatonin, WebMD advises supplementing with the recommended dosages (about 2.5 mg) four to five hours before bedtime.
•Don't nap. Try to stay awake during the day so you can go to bed on time.
Each year around this time, many public health officials also advise that while changing your clocks you also think check your smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector batteries.

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style ... 42965.html
 
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#90
Moscow is taken by Berlin!

Russia calls time on clock change
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/wor ... 36485.html

MOSCOW – Cows will be calmer, doctors happier and crooks less active. That’s the thinking as Russia puts forward its clocks for the last time this weekend.

Leading the way in an incipient global trend that rejects the notion of changing the clocks in spring and autumn, the Russian authorities believe the move will reduce human – and animal – misery.

It means Russia, which stretches across nine time zones from Kaliningrad in Europe to the Kamchatka peninsula in the Pacific, will stay permanently on summer time from this Sunday, gaining extra daylight in the afternoons during its seemingly interminable winter.
 
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