WorldTime Site Displays Year 2000 Arrival Times

Posted on December 30, 1999

Nineteen hours before champagne bottles are opened in New York City, Kiribati and Tonga in the Pacific Ocean will be the first countries to greet the year 2000. Twenty-five hours later, at 6:00 am EST, American Samoa will be among the last. In a special year 2000 section launched today at 3:00 pm EST, the free information service WorldTime lists the "year 2000 arrival times" of some 350 places around the world.

WorldTime is run by HAB Software, a small software producer based in Hamburg, Germany. It features an interactive world atlas showing the current day and night zones, time information for several hundred cities (local time, sunrise and sunset times), as well as a database of public holidays worldwide. Since it went online in December 1996, the service has gained popularity both as a planning tool for business people and as a resource for science teachers.

"Many users of WorldTime have asked us at what time - expressed in their time zone - other countries celebrate the beginning of the year 2000," says Hendrik Bramhoff, General Manager of HAB Software. "The new section will provide them with the information they need to make their new year's calls to friends or relatives in distant places at precisely the right moment."

The race to the year 2000 has led to strange actions by some governments. In an attempt to improve their position in the race, two countries - Tonga and Fiji - introduced Daylight Saving Time, a move which makes little sense for a tropical country in terms of Daylight Saving. Bramhoff expects the "millennium fever" to continue for another year: "Soon after January 1," he says, "the hype industry will discover the undeniable fact that the third millennium begins on January 1, 2001."