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TARAWA, Kiribati (August 10, 1997 - PACNEWS)---Caroline Island, south-east of Hawaii and part of Kiribati's Line Islands group, has been officially renamed Millennium Island.

The Kiribati government's Cabinet approved the change to promote a series of events the Micronesian country is planning to mark the start of the new millennium.

Millennium Island will be the first land-based spot on earth to greet the year 2000, although it is east of Hilo. This results from Kiribati President Teburoro Tito moving the International Date Line from central Kiribati to the extreme eastern border of the central Pacific nation. Previously, the eastern and western areas of Kiribati were in two different days.

Kiritimati, or Christmas Island, is the capital of the Line Islands and will be the main port of entry to Kiribati's millennium celebration. The occasion will be used to develop now unpopulated Millennium Island and others in eastern Kiribati.

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