SAMOA LAST COUNTRY TO WELCOME YEAR 2000

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APIA, Samoa (January 2, 2000 – Radio Australia)---Located just east of the International Date Line, Samoa was the last country in the world to usher in year 2000, the 21st century and the third millennium.

It did so Saturday with fire dances, traditional Samoan weddings and tattoo ceremonies and the bestowing of chiefly titles.

Earlier, hundreds had flocked to the tiny village of Falealupo on the island of Savai‘i to witness the final sunset of 1999.

Radio Australia Pacific correspondent Kevin McQuillan said the New Year’s Day events in Samoa marked "the end of global celebrations, just as other Pacific nations had marked the beginning.

"Micronesian dancers on Millennium Island in Kiribati were among the first to enter 2000, together with Tongan hymn singers and Maori songs, dances and canoeing traditions in New Zealand."

The Pacific Millennium Bug has failed to create any significant problems so far, although computer analysts say it is still too early to rule out a later appearance.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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