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Monday, March 4, 2024

Daylight financial savings dispute leaves Lebanon with two time zones

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BEIRUT — The Lebanese authorities’s last-minute choice to delay the beginning of daylight financial savings time by a month till the top of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan resulted in mass confusion Sunday.

With some establishments implementing the change whereas others refused, many Lebanese have discovered themselves within the place of juggling work and college schedules in numerous time zones — in a rustic that’s simply 88 kilometers (55 miles) at its widest level.

In some {cases}, the controversy took on a sectarian nature, with many Christian politicians and establishments, together with the small nation’s largest church, the Maronite Church, rejecting the transfer.

The small Mediterranean nation usually units its clocks ahead an hour on the final Sunday in March, which aligns with most European international locations.

Nonetheless, on Thursday Lebanon’s authorities introduced a call by caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati to push the beginning of daylight financial savings to April 21.

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No purpose was given for the choice, however a video of a gathering between Mikati and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri leaked to native media confirmed Berri asking Mikati to postpone the implementation of daylight financial savings time to permit Muslims to interrupt their Ramadan quick an hour earlier.

Mikati responds that he had made the same proposal however goes on to say that implementing the change could be tough as it might trigger issues in airline flight schedules, to which Berri interjects, “What flights?”

After the postponement of daylight financial savings was introduced, Lebanon’s state airline, Center East Airways, mentioned the departure instances of all flights scheduled to go away from the Beirut airport between Sunday and April 21 could be superior by an hour.

The nation’s two mobile phone networks despatched messages to folks asking them to vary the settings of their clocks to guide as an alternative of computerized to ensure that the time to not change at midnight, though in lots of {cases} the time superior anyway.

Whereas public establishments, in principle, are certain by the federal government’s choice, many non-public establishments, together with TV stations, colleges and companies, introduced that they’d ignore the choice and transfer to sunlight financial savings on Sunday as beforehand scheduled.

Soha Yazbek, a professor on the American College of Beirut, is amongst many dad and mom who’ve discovered themselves and their youngsters now certain to completely different schedules.

“So now I drop my youngsters to high school at 8 am however arrive to my work 42 km away at 7:30 am after which I depart work at 5 pm however I arrive dwelling an hour later at 7 pm!!” Yazbek wrote on Twitter, including for the advantage of her non-Lebanese pals, “I’ve not gone mad, I simply stay in Wonderland.”

Haruka Naito, a Japanese non-governmental group employee dwelling in Beirut, found she must be in two locations on the similar time on Monday morning.

“I had an 8 a.m. appointment and a 9 a.m. class, which is able to now occur on the similar time,” she mentioned. The 8 a.m. appointment for her residency paperwork is with a authorities company following the official time, whereas her 9 a.m. Arabic class is with an institute that’s anticipated to make the change to sunlight financial savings.

The schism has led to jokes about “Muslim time” and “Christian time,” whereas completely different web serps got here up with completely different outcomes early Sunday morning when queried in regards to the present time in Lebanon.

Whereas in lots of {cases}, the schism broke down alongside sectarian traces, some Muslims additionally objected to the change and identified that fasting is meant to start at daybreak and finish at sundown no matter time zone.

Many noticed the problem as a distraction from the nation’s bigger financial and political issues.

Lebanon is within the midst of the worst monetary disaster in its fashionable historical past. Three quarters of the inhabitants lives in poverty and IMF officers not too long ago warned the nation could possibly be headed for hyperinflation if no motion is taken. Lebanon has been with no president for the reason that time period of President Michel Aoun led to late October because the parliament has did not elect a substitute since.

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