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All nations unilaterally determine their standard time zones, applicable only on land and adjacent territorial waters.This date line can be called de facto since it is not based on international law, but on national laws.A 1995 realignment of the IDL made Caroline Island one of the first points of land on Earth to reach January 1, 2000 on the calendar (UTC 14).

The 15° gore that is offset from UTC by 12 hours is bisected by the nautical date line into two 7.5° gores that differ from UTC by ±12 hours.

Ships are supposed to adopt the standard time of a country if they are within its territorial waters within 12 nautical miles (14 mi; 22 km) of land, then revert to international time zones (15° wide pole-to-pole gores) as soon as they leave.

These include Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, Mc Murdo Station, Scott Base and Mario Zucchelli Station.

There are two ways time zones and thereby the location of the International Date Line are determined, one on land and adjacent territorial waters, and the other on open seas.

Kiribati's easternmost islands, the southern Line Islands south of Hawaii, have the most advanced time on Earth, UTC 14 hours.

South of Kiribati, the IDL returns westwards but remains east of 180°, passing between Samoa and American Samoa.

For example, at UTC Thursday, it is Wednesday in American Samoa (UTC−11), Thursday in most of the world, and Friday in Kiritimati (UTC 14).

During the first hour (UTC –), all three calendar dates include inhabited places.

The areas that are the first to see the daylight of a new day vary by the season.

Around the June solstice, the first area would be anyplace within the Kamchatka Time Zone (UTC 12) that is far enough north to experience midnight sun on the given date.

In other places, however, the IDL deviates east or west away from that meridian. Aleutian Islands (Attu Island being the westernmost) and the Commander Islands, which belong to Russia. Thus, all of Russia is to the west of the IDL, and all of the United States is to the east except for the insular areas of Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Wake Island.

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