Daylight financial savings dispute leaves Lebanon with two time zones


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 faculty schedules in numerous time zones — in a rustic that’s simply 88 kilometers (55 miles) at its widest level.

In some circumstances, 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 nations.

Nevertheless, 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.

No cause 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 can be tough as it could 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 can be superior by an hour.

The nation’s two mobile phone networks despatched messages to folks asking them to alter the settings of their clocks to handbook as an alternative of automated to ensure that the time to not change at midnight, though in lots of circumstances the time superior anyway.

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

Haruka Naito, a Japanese non-governmental group employee residing in Beirut, found she must be in two locations on the identical 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 identical 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 swap to sunlight financial savings.

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

Whereas in lots of circumstances, 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 difficulty 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 may very well be headed for hyperinflation if no motion is taken. Lebanon has been with out a president because the time period of President Michel Aoun resulted in late October because the parliament has did not elect a alternative since.


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