London (CNN) – I have always been fascinated by the international date line; The arbitrary line where one day gives way to the next. When flying across the Pacific I often try to stay awake for that moment when you gain or lose a day as you cross this artificial barrier. So Samoa’s decision to shift its dateline has enthralled me.
Samoa is slap-bang in the middle of the Pacific, just 20 miles from the U.S. side of the line. Currently, Los Angeles is two hours ahead, and Sydney, Australia - on the other side - a whopping 21 hours ahead. (Ed's note: Many thanks to everyone who pointed out our own time zone slip, which is now corrected.) According to the country, most business is done with Australia and New Zealand, so Samoans are losing out on two days of business, because of the timings of work weeks and weekends.
So on Thursday, at the stroke of midnight, Samoa will shift the line. And it will instantly be Saturday morning, just after midnight.
Friday would never have existed for those who live in Samoa. Vamooshed. (I know how it works, but I still can’t get my head around it).
Hong Kong (CNN) – The official mourning period for Kim Jong Il is over and the world's eyes - and in many cases fears - are now focused on Kim Jong Un.
We still don't know with any certainly how old he is, let alone whether he is capable of running a country.
At first, he will have plenty of help from his father's trusted circle of advisers. But analysts say one of the reasons he was chosen over his two brothers to succeed Kim Jong Il is that he most closely resembles his grand-father, Kim Il Sung, founder of the Communist north. If that is the case, it is unlikely to be long before he begins to flex his muscles, political or otherwise.
Kim Jong Un (above center, in a handout picture from North Korea's Korean Central News Agency) faces a clear - and intriguing - choice.
Does he follow the path of his father and grandfather and keep his country in isolation and his people cowed? This would mean he would remain beholden to China for his very survival while being shunned by most of the rest of the world.
Or does he look at his very own neighborhood and learn from two of the most economically successful models in the world: South Korea and China?
When Kim Il Sung founded Communist North Korea in 1948, the country had a bigger industrial base than the South and many more riches in the ground.
Dubai, UAE (CNN) - China's fast-emerging middle class is providing a lifeline to the UAE's tourism ambitions, with the trickle of Chinese visitors to Dubai rapidly becoming a flood.
The drama and the glamor of the United Arab Emirates, especially Dubai, have made it one of the Middle East's glitziest draws for Chinese travelers. The UAE has spent millions of dollars on its luxury hotels and designer brands, which are proving increasingly appealing to the Chinese customer.
Last year the number of hotel guests in the UAE arriving from China jumped nearly 40%, but they're still only a small portion of the total tourists.
“The number of arrivals from China in 2010 was about 150,000 out of 8 million,” Liz Martins, a senior economist at HSBC MENA, told CNN’s Leone Lakhani.
She added: “It's a very early stage, but I think there are marketing efforts and where you're getting trade links, investment links and contracting links throughout the rest of the economy, actually that feeds through to a greater awareness - a mutual awareness between the markets - and that creates potential.”
London (CNN) – Who owns a Twitter name and the followers that go with it? Such an obvious question, but suddenly one that has companies and lawyers scratching around to reach an answer.
It seems obvious if it's just your own name and you use it for purely personal purposes but what about if the account is also used to help promote your employer’s business?
Noah Kravitz posted tweets under the name @phoneDog_Noah but changed when he left the employ of PhoneDog which is now suing him for damages for the 17,000 followers, claiming they belong to the company. They are claiming $2.50 per month for every follower.
This has every one of us who tweets as part of our personal and working life scratching our heads and thinking about it. Who does have the right to benefit from my Twitter followers' names?
London (CNN) – Want to know what should be on Europe’s wish list if it wants its common currency to survive beyond 2012? Ask a leading economist.
As a top economist at Barclays Capital, Julian Callow has formulated his own battle plan - but one which can only work if Europe is willing to get behind united political goals.
“We are still talking about a group of country states which have this common currency, but what the markets really want to see is a clear, decisive plan to move to a political union for the eurozone,” Callow told CNN.
His 2012 check-list includes serious commitment from governments to balance their budgets, a weak euro and a more proactive European Central Bank.
(CNN) – Three continents, six personalities and one thing in common - being The Boss.
For more than a year, CNN has followed these business leaders, learning what really goes into running your own company. Some have bowed out, like Michael Wu and Richard Braddock, and some have stepped aside, like Sarah Curran.
Now the "Boss" era is coming to an end - but first, CNN's Richard Quest has a few more questions.
London (CNN) – Most of us have an idea of what we want to buy in the January sales - and maybe have budgeted the money in our holiday spending. I know I want to pick up a pair of jeans and some new brogue shoes. I would also like to buy a new espresso maker and maybe some towels. BUT - and this it the big point - ONLY if the price is right. I think I am not alone.
Christmas has been and gone and now in its wake we see a last-minute rush to sell before the end of the year. In the post-Christmas retailing blizzard the shoppers are there and some of them are even spending….. sales are expected to be up by up to 5% on last year’s. In London the shops were exceptionally busy with some stores seeing record numbers. (The day was marred by two high street stabbings that left one man dead).
When I went into the Gap store and saw them selling sweaters for £10 ($15), I realized that this was going to be a much harder time for the retailers - desperate to get rid of inventory, raise revenue and try to re-balance what has been a lackluster holiday season.
Dublin (CNN) – According to an old Irish saying,"in Dublin you can't throw a stick without hitting a poet."
James Joyce, W.B. Yeats and Oscar Wilde are just some of the writers the city has produced over the centuries.
In recognition of its past and present achievements, the Irish capital was recently named as one of six UNESCO Cities of Literature.
CNN's Jim Boulden travelled to Dublin to see how the designation is boosting the city's morale.
Abu Dhabi (CNN) – This time last year a match was lit by a fruit vendor in Tunis, which triggered uprisings throughout the region. Countries big, Egypt, and small, Tunisia, have witnessed wholesale change and the toppling of governments.
But at the one year mark, those on the ground here in the region are asking a simple question: Are we better off today than we were before the Arab Spring? People talk of a “The New Middle East” with a mixture of both optimism and despair, from Bahrain to Yemen.
Clearly the voice of the people has been heard and resonates on the streets of Cairo, for example, but unemployment is at a decade long high in Egypt, tourism is down officially by a quarter from a year ago and the Cairo Stock Exchange is the world’s worst performer of 2011.
“This country is literally and figuratively burning and we are approaching the threshold which it will become very hard to rebuild trust in the system,” says Mohamad Al-Ississ, a professor of economics at the American University of Cairo.
London (CNN) –Eager for action and anxious about the future, Hungarians are taking to the streets to protest a gradual overhaul of the country’s key organs of democracy.
Eastern Europe's most indebted nation faced another unexpected obstacle after Standard & Poor’s this week became the second ratings agency to cut its debt to “junk” status.
The move, which followed a similar decision by Moody’s Investors Service, piles pressure on Hungary’s strained finances, making it more expensive to raise money to refinance existing obligations.
The vicious cycle has been exacerbated by a steady and significant decline for Hungary’s currency - the forint - which has lost 13% of its value against the euro since June.
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