Friday, August 31, 2007

Jamaica's Banks Will Close Afternoon Of September 3

Sources: Jamaica Gleaner News and Jamaica public holidays. The Jamaica Bankers' Association (JBA) has advised that all 10 commercial and merchant banks will close at noon on Monday, September 3, 2007, on the day of the upcoming national election.

Philippines Declares August 31 Public Holiday In Aklan Province

Sources: Aklan Forum Journal and Philippines public holidays. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (PGMA), through Presidential Proclamation No. 1370 duly signed by Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita on August 29, 2007, has declared Friday, August 31, 2007, the birth anniversary of the late Roman Catholic leader and Archbishop of Manila Jaime L. Cardinal Sin as an annual special non-working holiday in the province of Aklan.

Meanwhile, Congressman Miraflores, is currently initiating moves to make the August 31 observance a regular one every year by filing a bill in Congress for the purpose.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Uganda Declares 3 Days Of National Mourning

Sources: The Daily Monitor and Uganda public holidays. Third Deputy Prime Minister, Hajji Kirunda Kivejinja, declared three days of national mourning starting today, August 31, 2007, in honour of the 75 deaths in the Sunday accident which occurred when a military truck carrying soldiers and their families overturned on a steep hill in the Mount Elgon foothills of eastern Uganda.

Nepal To Add Muslim Public Holidays

Sources: Nepal News and Nepal public holidays. Following talks with government team led by Peace and Reconstruction Minister Ram Chandra Poudel on Thursday, MJF chairman Upendra Yadav said his party had called off the agitations after the government agreed that public holidays would be given on Muslim festivals.

Recall that we reported in our post of June 30, that the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF) had been threatening with disruptions of the upcoming general elections, if Muslim public holidays were not added to Nepal's, already impressive, list of public holidays.

Although details have not been released, it is most likely that these new public holidays will in fact be allowances for Muslim civil servants to be off work on the day of the main Muslim festivals. As Muslims only make up 4% of Nepal's population, and are probably under represented in the civil service, this is unlikely to have a major effect on business life in Nepal.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Libya Expected To Declare September 12 Ramadan Start

Sources: Gulf News and Libya public holidays. Dr Waheeb Al Nasser, a physics professor at the University of Bahrain, issued a statement that he expected Libya to be the first to observe the beginning of Ramadan, on September 12, 2007. Note that the first day of the month Ramadan is not a public holiday in Libya, nor is it in many other Muslim countries.

Due to this year's ninth New Moon timing in relation to sunset, Dr. Al Nasser's calculations agree with the predictions made on the Q++ Studio web site, namely that the rest of the Muslim world will most likely be divided between the 13th (Saudi Arabia and most of the Arabian Peninsula) and the rest of the Muslim world, particularly in South-East Asia.

UK Proposed New Public Holiday Could Be In November

Sources: The Financial Times and UK public holidays. The Institute for Public Policy Research, a left-leaning think-tank, said in a recent paper that the new “British national day” should be launched as an extra bank holiday on the Monday after Remembrance Sunday, which would build on an existing commemoration rather than imposing something new and artificial. This is at odds with Prime Minister Gordon Brown's recent statement that he favoured July 24 for the new proposed public holiday (our news post of July 24).

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Chile September 17 Bridge Public Holiday Approved

Sources: El Mercurio and Chile public holidays. Yesterday, the working commission of the Senate approved and sent for a final vote today, the law that will make Monday, September 17, 2007, a bridge public holiday. The law also addresses special cases such as this one, in future years (such as 2012, 2013, 2018, 2019, 2024, 2029, 2030, ...).

Thailand General Elections Set For December 23

Sources: The Nation and Thailand public holidays. The National Electoral Commission (NEC) has selected the date of Sunday, December 23, 2007, for the upcoming general elections, the first since the September 2006 bloodless military coup.

Analysis: As conjectured in our post of August 20, , it is very likely that a one-off public holiday will be declared on the following Monday (ie. either December 17, or December 24), as was done earlier this month for the day after the charter referendum (our news story of August 7) to allow people time to travel back to their place of employment, after traveling to their place of voter registration (often quite different) to vote in the elections.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Scotland's First Minister Re-Affirms Commitment To Full Public Holiday Status For St-Andrew's Day

Sources: The Scotsman and Scotland public holidays. Last April, Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond (SNP, Scottish National Party), promised the creation of a new public holiday in honour of the saint who gave the country its flag. Last week, in response to accusations that the SNP was going back on its promise, he confirmed that the creation of a new public holiday for Saint Andrew (November 30) was still part of his party's platform. Whether this will be an additional public holiday, or will involve the removal of one of the current public holidays (as the Conservative Party is advocating) remains to be seen.

Panama's Proposed Return To Long Weekend Public Holidays Gaining Momentum

Sources: Panamá América, La Estrella and Panama public holidays. The lobbying effort to restore the practice, followed from 1996-2000, of moving Panama's fixed-date public holidays to the nearest Monday or Friday, is gaining momentum. When we first reported on the move, in our post of August 8, the principal force behind the proposal was the APATEL (Asociación Panameña de Hoteles). But since then, the APATEL has been joined in its efforts by the FEDECÁMARAS (Federación Nacional de Cámaras de Comercio, Industrias y Agricultura de Panamá) and it looks likely that legislature to that effect will be introduced in the Legislative Assembly before the end of the year.

However, whether the law is passed is another matter, since, as we mentioned in our earlier post, in Latin America, there is a strong current resisting the moving of fixed dates public holidays to adjoin weekends. This very influential segment of the population, which already had many such holidays laws partially repealed throughout Latin America, considers the moving of fixed date religious public holidays as sacrilegious, and similarly considers the moving of fixed dates historical public holidays as un-patriotic.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Guatemala Declares One-Off Public Holiday On September 10

Sources: Telediario 3 and Guatemala public holidays. The President of Guatemala, Oscar Berger, announced earlier today that he had declared Monday, September 10, 2007, as a one-off public holiday to compensate people for traveling back, often far, to their place of electoral registration, for the Presidential and Legislative elections on the day before.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Uzbekistan Congratulated For National Day On The Wrong Date

Sources: IRNA and Uzbekistan public holidays. Earlier today, barely 90 minutes after sending a cable to Kyrgyz Premier, Almazbek Atambayev, to felicitate him and the Kyrgyz people on the country's National Day, on the wrong date, Iran's First Vice President, Parviz Davoudi, sent another cable of congratulations, this time to Uzbek Premier, Shavkat Mirziyayev, to felicitate him, the Uzbek government and nation on the country's Independence and National Day (which is really on September 1st).

Kyrgyzstan Congratulated For National Day On The Wrong Date

Sources: IRNA and Kyrgyzstan public holidays. We can confirm that the date of Kyrgyzstan's upcoming National Day public holiday is still set for August 31, despite the fact that, earlier today, August 23, Iran's First Vice President, Parviz Davoudi, sent a cable of congratulations to Kyrgyz Premier Almazbek Atambayev to felicitate him and the Kyrgyz people on the country's National Day.

Bangladesh Declares August 23 Public Holiday

Sources: The New Straits Times and Bangladesh public holidays. Earlier this morning, the government of Bangladesh declared a one-off public holiday for today, Thursday, August 23, 2007. Note that, as weekends are still Friday-Saturday in Bangladesh, this declaration results in a 3-day weekend.

This is viewed as an attempt to cool tensions that have followed the curfew recently imposed in the capital Dhaka, Rajshahi, Sylhet, Chittagong, Barisal, and Khulna, as well as the closings of all colleges and universities in these six cities. In addition, mobile phone operators have been asked to shut down their networks until further notice (the AFP and CBS confirm that most mobile phones have stopped working).

Note that although today's Daily Star (Bangladesh's main newspaper) does not mention this one-off public holiday either on their front page, or in the article devoted to the updated curfew, it has been confirmed by other news sources such as the AFP (Agence France Presse) and Xinhua (Chinese News Service).

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Philippines August 24 And September 12 Update

Sources: GMA News and Philippines public holidays. On August 15, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (PGMA) signed Proclamation No. 1362 which making Wednesday, September 12, 2007, into the National Day of Prayer and Reconciliation. It is now evident, however, that this will not be a public holiday in any form.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo did, however, declare Friday, August 24, 2007, as a special non-working day in Kidapawan City, to coincide with that city's 6th Timpupo Festival.

Qatar Removes September 3 From List Of National Public Holidays

Sources: Copp Clark and Qatar public holidays. In our post of April 5, we reported on the creation of a new public holiday to be celebrated henceforth in Qatar, every year, on December 18. At the time, there were some doubts as to what would happen to September 3, a public holiday that was also meant to embody the National Day. It has now been confirmed that in compensation for the new public holiday on December 18, the day of September 3, starting in 2007, will no longer be a public holiday in Qatar.

Jordan One-Off Electoral Public Holiday Likely On November 20

Sources: AFP/France24 and Jordan public holidays. Late yesterday, Jordan's Prime, Minister Maaruf Bakhit, announced that the date of Tuesday, November 20, 2007, had been chosen for the upcoming legislative elections (one of the 3 dates we had speculated about in a recent post).

Analysis: At the time of the recent municipal elections, also set on a mid-week Tuesday, the government had declared a one-off public holiday to encourage people to participate (see our post of July 16), and although no such announcement has yet been made, we think that it is quite likely that Jordan will declare a one-off public holiday on that occasion.

USA Considering Declaring Day After Thanksgiving As New Public Holiday

Sources: KPNX-12, 110th Congress Legislation, and USA public holidays. U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) has introduced Bill S.1852 that would create a special holiday, Native American Heritage Day, honoring the contributions of Native Americans make, on the day after Thanksgiving.

Analysis: A close reading of the proposed legislation is not very enlightening as to whether federal civil servants will get the day off or not (recall that the US Government is only allowed to specify public holidays for federal civil servants). In any event, as Thanksgiving always occurs on a Thursday, many people already take the day after Thanksgiving off now, either to travel for the traditional family get-together (Thanksgiving is the most important family holiday in the USA), or to go hunting, or to get a head-start on Christmas shopping. It is therefore not advisable to try to conduct business on that day, whether this bill passes into law or not.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

UAE Dates For Ramadan And Eid Al-Adha Confirmed By Leading Astronomer

Sources: Gulf News, Xpress, UAE public holidays, and Muslim calendar 2007. The Dean of Humanities and Sciences College and Chairman of Arab the Union for Astronomy and Space Sciences, Dr Humaid Al Nuaimi, recently issued a statement saying that his estimations come in line with the calculations followed in UAE for the upcoming date of the first day of Ramadan (September 13, not a public holiday in the UAE, but all cafes and restaurants remain closed until sundown, from that date until Eid al-Fitr) and Eid al-Adha (December 20). Note that both dates also agree with the Q++ Studio page of predicted Muslim 2007 dates.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Bangladesh Moves Shab e-Barat Public Holiday From August 29 to August 30

Sources: Copp Clark and Bangladesh public holidays. The government of Bangladesh is reported to have changed the date of the upcoming Shab e-Barat public holiday from Wednesday, August 29, to Thursday, August 30, 2007.

Kazakhstan Declares August 31 Bridge Public Holiday

Sources: Kazakhstan Today and Kazakhstan public holidays. Earlier today, Prime Minister, Karim Massimov, signed a decree moving the day of rest of Sunday, September 2, 2007, to a one-off bridge public holiday on Friday, August 31, 2007, so that people may enjoy an uninterrupted break from work, beginning on Thursday, August 30 (Kazakhstan's Constitution Day public holiday) to Sunday morning September 2.

Thailand Might Declare December 17 or 24 Public Holiday

Sources: Mathaba and Thailand public holidays. Following yesterday's approval by referendum of the new charter constitution, a general election now looks set to be held in December.

Indeed, Election Commission (EC) chairman, Apichart Sukhagganond, said he personally believed Sunday, December 16, was the most suitable date for holding the general election, while Interim Prime Minister, Gen. Surayud Chulanont, is quoted as saying he believed the most suitable dates for holding the general election are either December 16 or 23 (both Sundays), after celebrations of His Majesty the King’s 80th birthday which falls on December 5.

Analysis: As all proposed dates are on a Sunday, it is very likely that a one-off public holiday will be declared on the following Monday (ie. either December 17, or December 24), as was done earlier this month for the day after the charter referendum (our news story of August 7) to allow people time to travel back to their place of employment, after traveling to their place of voter registration (often quite different) to vote in the elections.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Jordan Legislative Election November Public Holiday Likely

Sources: Reuters and Jordan public holidays. Earlier today, Jordan's King Abdullah issued a decree dissolving parliament and called on the government to prepare for multi-party polls which, as we reported on July 16, must occur before the end of November. In our post of July 16, we also reported that the legislative elections day would probably be a one-off public holiday in the middle of the Jordanian workweek (most likely a Tuesday). So possible candidates are November 13, 20 or 27.

Venezuela Confirms August 20 Public Holiday For Banks And Financial Institutions

Sources: El Carabobeño and Venezuela public holidays. The Government of Venezuela has confirmed that, as we had correctly predicted, on Monday, August 20, 2007, banks, insurance brokers and financial institutions, will be closed to observe the Día de la Asunción de María public holiday (whose feast day is August 15).

Analysis: Generally, the policy of the Consejo Bancario Nacional is that when a religious public holiday (that does no have a national/patriotic character) falls on a weekday, then it is moved to the next Monday. But the Consejo Bancario Nacional does reserve the right to change this, and has sometimes made the move the the previous Monday instead.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Canada Could Declare August 15 Public Holiday

Sources: Cyberpresse, TQS, and Canada public holidays. The leader of the Canadian opposition party, Stéphane Dion, has promised that August 15, the Fête nationale des Acadiens et des Acadiennes, would become a federal public holiday if the Liberal party comes to power in the next elections.

Analysis: Recall that August 15 was made a holiday by parliament in 2003, but that, although some businesses close in New Brunswick, the civil service does not get the day off. Note, however, that the next federal Parliamentary elections in Canada will not occur until the fall of 2009 (our news post of May 3).

Peru Declares Three Days Of National Mourning

Sources: Radio New Zealand and Peru public holidays. The government in Peru has declared three days of national mourning, beginning Thursday, August 16, for those who died in Wednesday night's massive earthquake.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Ethiopia To Celebrate Millenium New Year Public Holiday September 12

Sources: BBC World and Ethiopia public holidays. On September 12, 2007, the Ethiopian calendar will change from the year 1999 to 2000. Despite the fact that the 3rd millennium will actually begin on Ethiopian new year 2001 (ie. On September 11, 2008), the millennium celebrations will occur this year (the same way people in the West celebrated the new millennium on January 1, 2000, rather than on January 1, 2001). Note also that many sources have Ethiopian New Year 2000 occurring on September 11, 2007, but that is incorrect.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Chile September 17 and December 31 One-Off Public Holidays Update

Sources: El Mercurio and Chile public holidays. Regular readers of this blog will recall that he law that would make Monday, September 17, 2007, a one-off public holiday, was approved by the Chamber of Deputies last week, and was sent to the Senate for ratification, where a vote was supposed to happen yesterday. However, as of this afternoon, the bill is still in commission, and its vote on the Senate floor is now scheduled for August 27.

The principle of that one-off public holiday now seems to be a given, and anyone following the local press will see that people have begun to make plans based on the ensuing 5-day holiday. So, why the delay, and what is the outlook for the approbation of the September 17, 2007, a one-off public holiday ?

The issue generating most of the debate and delays, is whether the hours that would have been worked on September 17 should be recuperated on other days. Partisans of compensation (devolución) include President Bachelet, who essentially recommended that the law be passed with, in it, a compensating mechanism, senator and senator Carlos Ominani. Opponents to the idea of compensation include senator Pablo Longueira who went on record saying that he would oppose any attempt to include compensation into the law. As of this afternoon, the mood in the senate commission was to legislate the one-off public holiday, without any stipulated compensation.

Another issue that slowed down the commission work last week, but which has been relatively ignored this week, is the request by many senators, such as Alejandro Navarro that the law include a mechanism to deal once and for all, in a predictable manner, with sandwich days.

Finally, to ensure that the issue got as bogged down as possible, early this week, a group of deputies, introduced another bill declaring a one-off public holiday, on Monday, December 31, 2007 (also a sandwich Monday).

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

EU To Increase Holiday Entitlement

Sources: Duport and Q++ Worldwide Public Holidays. EU regulations will increase the minimum number of days of holiday entitlement from 20 to 28 in April 2009. Currently, regulations state that all employees within the European Union are entitled to a 20-day minimum of paid leave; however, some companies include 8 days of public holiday which effectively gives workers only 12 days of paid leave per year. The new regulations will close this loophole by increasing the entitlement to a minimum of 28 days.

Bangladesh August 15 Public Holiday Will Not Be Reinstated This Year

Sources: New Kerala News, The Daily Star, Bangladesh public holidays and our news post of August 6. Bangladesh's current leadership will pay tributes to the country's founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, on Wednesday, August 15, 2007, the anniversary of his assassination in 1975. But it will not be a national public holiday.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

India Asked To Declare Rath Yatra A National Public Holiday

Sources: The Hindustan Times and India public holidays. Yesterday, the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party, or Indian People's Party) urged the government to declare the opening day of Lord Jaganath Rath Yatra in Puri as national holiday enabling the devotees to participate in the festival.

Analysis: As this holiday occurs in June or July, depending on the Hindu lunar calendar, and this year's date, July 16, has already passed, any acceptance of the proposal would not have any impact until the summer of 2008.

Zimbabwe Lifts Price Controls On Beer For Next Week's 2 Public Holidays

Sources: BusinessWeek and Zimbabwe public holidays. These days, the people of Zimbabwe have little to be content about, but the recent price controls imposed by the government had made the country's beer manufacturers shut down in protest, and the people of Zimbabwe were facing 2 days of public holidays (Monday and Tuesday, August 13-14) without any beer. The government, faced with even more unrest, has relented, in time for next week's public holidays.

After Some Hesitation Argentina Moves August 17 Public Holiday To Following Monday

Sources: Actualidad Misiones and Argentina public holidays. After some marked hesitation during the months of June and July, the government of Argentina finally decided to move the commemoration of the death of General San Martín public holiday (Muerte del general Don José de San Martín) to the following Monday, as has been the recent practice, under law 24.445.

This is one more case of the growing feeling among Latin American legislators that religious and historical/patriotic public holidays should be observed on the actual date that they commemorate, and not be move to the nearest Monday as has been the tradition in Latin America in the last few decades. The Q++ Studio research team is adding this public holiday to the list of public holidays for which we will be monitoring new laws especially for updates.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Bolivia's Cochamba Department Declares August 16 Public Holiday

Sources: Los Tiempos and Bolivia public holidays. Prefect Manfred Reyes Villa, through resolution 304/2007, declared Thursday, august 16, 2007, as a public holiday for all government employees of the Department of Cochabamba (in central Bolivia) on the occasion of the celebration of the Calvario de la festividad de la Virgen de Urkupiña. Private sector employers are encouraged to also observe the public holiday.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Trinidad and Tobago Sets Date of Diwali Public Holiday To November 9

Sources: Travel Video Television News and Trinidad and Tobago public holidays. The Trinidad and Tobago Hindu community has set the date for the observance of the Diwali public holiday (spelled Divali in Trinidad and Tobago) to Friday, November 9, 2007.

Costa Rica Mothers Day Public Holiday Moves To Next Monday ... For The Last Time

Sources: Teletica, La Nación and Costa Rica public holidays. The Mothers' Day public holiday, in Costa Rica, will be moved from August 15, to the following Monday, August 20, in 2007, as previously forecast, despite recent efforts by parliamentarians to make it a fixed date public holiday (see our news item of January 15).

Analysis: It was a close call, as a law that would make the Costa Rica Mothers' Day public holiday non-movable was approved in commission in June, and successfully went through its first reading in Parliament on August 9. However, due to procedural matters, the second reading had to be postponed until August 14, which would have meant changing the date of the public holiday on the eve of that holiday. It is, however, almost certain that, beginning in 2008, the Mothers' Day public holiday will occur on the fixed date of August 15.

Note, also, that the recent drive in Parliament's commission, was to make 4 Costa Rica public holidays into fixed-date public holidays (see our post of June 14), with the next one coming up, being the October 12 public holiday. We will therefore stay extremely vigilant to any moves to change that public holiday into a fixed-date public holiday, in the coming weeks.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Philippines Tinkers With Recent Public Holidays Rationalization Law

Sources: GMA News and Philippines public holidays. Late yesterday, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, by authority of Her Excellency, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (PGMA), issued Proclamation 1353, which implements the August 2007 public holidays changes resulting from Republic Act 9492 of July 25, 2007, and confirms the list of henceforth movable public holidays as: Araw ng Kagitingan (April 9), Labor Day (May 1), Independence Day (June 12), Ninoy Aquino Day (August 21), National Heroes Day (last Sunday of August); Andres Bonifacio Day (November 30), and Rizal Day (December 30).

However, in the same statement, Executive Secretary Ermita went on to announce while August's upcoming public holidays would follow the new rules, these same new rules would not apply to Bonifacio Day (November 30) and Rizal Day (December 30), in 2007, when both these holidays would remain on their traditional fixed dates.

Analysis: President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has a well-deserved reputation for being the world champion in the field of government tinkering with public holidays. But, yesterday, she surpassed herself, by tinkering with the dates of two public holidays, barely 2 weeks after signing Republic Act 9492, "An Act Rationalizing the Celebration of National Holidays", which was supposed to put an end to all the last-minute tinkering and offer some form of medium-term predictability to public holidays in the Philippines.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Suriname's New August 9 Public Holiday

Sources: and Suriname public holidays. Beginning this year, Suriname will be observing August 9, the International Day of Indigenous People, as a full-fledged public holiday.

Oman Moves Al Israa Wal Miraj Public Holiday To August 11

Sources: Times of Oman and Oman public holidays. Sayyid Ali bin Hamoud Al Busaidi, minister of the Diwan of Royal Court and chairman of the Civil Service Council, issued a decision yesterday, moving the Al Israa Wal Miraj (Ascension of Prophet Muhammad) public holiday from August 10 to Saturday, August 11, 2007, for all ministries, government authorities and other departments of the state’s administrative apparatuses, as well as all private sector establishments.

Madagascar Declares August 9 Public Holiday

Sources: Madagascar Tribune and Madagascar public holidays. Late yesterday, Madagascar President, Marc Ravalomanana, declared tomorrow, Thursday, August 9, 2007, as a one-off public holiday to coincide with the first day of the 2007 Indian Ocean Games sporting event. Technically the public holiday is limited to public sector workers (colloquially called the "Mpiasam-bahoaka") but it is expected that the private sector will follow suit.

Panama Business Wants Public Holidays Moved Back To Fridays and Mondays

Sources: La Estrella and Panama public holidays. Panama business leaders of the hotel industry, joined by business leaders from Panama's hinterland, will formally request that President Martín Torrijos Espino restore the so called "días puentes" or "fines de semanas largos" whereby public holidays were moved from their fixed date to adjoin the nearest weekend, hence creating long weekends that promote internal tourism and consumption.

Background: The concept of bridge public holidays, or long weekend public holidays, common in many countries of Latin America, was introduced to Panama by President Ernesto Pérez Balladares in 1996, but the law was abrogated in 2000 under the presidency of Mireya Moscoso.

Analysis: The trend in Latin America is definitely towards moving public holidays to adjoin weekends or to create bridge public holidays on Mondays or Fridays, for public holidays that occur on a Tuesday or Thursday (not to mention many countries in Eastern Europe, such as Hungary and Bulgaria, as well as The Philippines and Indonesia). So from that point of view, it is quite possible that the current petition will be considered by Panama's current president.

However, one should note that in Latin America, there is a strong current resisting the moving of fixed dates public holidays to adjoin weekends. This very influential segment of the population, which already had many such holidays laws partially repealed throughout Latin America, considers the moving of fixed date religious public holidays as sacrilegious, and similarly considers the moving of fixed dates historical public holidays as un-patriotic.

Chile September 17 Public Holiday Approved By Chamber Of Deputies

Sources: Diario el Gong, 123 Chile and Chile public holidays. Earlier today, Chile's Minister of Labor and Social Protection, Osvaldo Andrade, announced that the bill that would make Monday, September 17, 2007, a one-off bridge public holiday in Chile, was approved by the Chamber of Deputies (Cámara de Diputados) by a vote of 86 for, 9 against, and 5 abstentions. The law must now be ratified by the Senate, a process that should occur later this week, given the high priority given to this bill by the government.

Analysis: Recall from our news posting of July 10 and August 3, that a bill was proposed to make Monday, September 17, 2007, a one-off public holiday, to bridge the gap between the weekend and the annual 2-day Fiesta Patrias of September 18 and 19. The bill proponent's main argument was to be realistic; most people have half the day off on September 17, anyways, and civil servants and upper and middle management set things up to have the day off also. Any loss in productivity would be made up amply by the boost in internal tourism for a 5-day public holiday.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Thailand Cabinet Confirms August 20 Public Holiday

Sources: The Nation and Thailand public holidays. Earlier today (Bangkok time), the government of Thailand's cabinet officially declared a one-off public holiday on Monday, August 20, 2007. The Finance Ministry and the Bank of Thailand will meet later to decide whether markets and banks will remain open on that day.

Background: in our news story of August 4, we announced that it was likely that Monday, August 20, 2007, be declared a one-off public holiday in Thailand to allow people time to travel back to their place of employment, after traveling to their place of voter registration (often quite different) for the Sunday August 19 referendum.

Update (August 8, Bangkok Post): Finance Minister, Chalongphob Sussangkarn, said all financial institutions would be open on Monday, August 20, 2007, as would banks, as the Thai Bankers Association, when consulted by the Minister, said it was preferable they remain open as they had not made preparations for a bank holiday.

Zimbabwe Announces 2008 Public Holidays

Sources: The Herald and Zimbabwe public holidays. Late last week, the Minister of Home Affairs of Zimbabwe, Cde Kembo Mohadi, announced the list of public holidays in Zimbabwe for next year in terms of the Public Holidays and Prohibition of Business Act. The Minister went on to stress that the list did not include any days which the President may declare to be public holidays in terms of section 2 (2) of the above-referenced act.

Analysis: The list does not contain any surprises and, in any event, with an unemployment rate estimated by the European Parliament to be around 80%, the import of public holidays in Zimbabwe is very relative.

Monday, August 6, 2007

India's Punjab Declares August 8 and October 12 Public Holidays

Sources: Punjab Newsline and India public holidays. The Punjab Government has declared a public holiday on Wednesday, August 8, 2007 in all state government offices, all offices of Corporations/Boards and all educational institutions within the jurisdiction of four Municipal Corporations Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Patiala on account of general municipal elections.

The Punjab Government also declared a public holiday on Friday October 12, 2007 on account of Agarsain Jayanti in lieu of restricted holiday already declared on this day.

Bangladesh August 15 Public Holiday Reinstatement In Front Of Supreme Court

Sources: The Daily Star and Bangladesh public holidays. Yesterday, on Sunday, August 6, advocate Mozammel Huq, a Supreme Court lawyer, filed a writ petition with the High Court (HC), asking it to issues directives reinstating August 15 as the National Day of Mourning and a public holiday. The HC division bench is likely to hear the writ today.

Analysis: Over the last few weeks, there have been repeated calls in the Bangladesh media to reinstate August 15 as a public holiday , a date which commemorates the death, on August 15, 1975, of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, during the Liberation War of Bangladesh. It became a public holiday in 1996, but then, in 2002, the BNP-led alliance government cancelled the public holiday.

Update (Monday night; The Daily Star): The High Court (HC) issued a ruling, late this afternoon (Bangladesh time), asking the government to explain, within a week, why the Cabinet Division's order issued in August 2002, cancelling the national mourning day and a public holiday on August 15, should not be declared illegal. It is therefore becoming likely that the August 15 public holiday will be reinstated. We will continue to monitor developments on this topic.

Ivory Coast Declares August 6 Bridge Public Holiday

Sources: National Australia Bank and Ivory Coast public holidays. There are unconfirmed reports, but from usually very reliable sources, that the government of Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) has declared Monday, August 6, 2007, as a one-off, public holiday to make a bridge between the weekend and the August 7 Independence Day public holiday.

Update (August 9): The Monday, August 6, 2007, one-off bridge public holiday has been confirmed by an independent local news source (Nord-Sud Media).

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Serbs Criticize Croatia Over August 5 National Public Holiday

Sources: RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty, B-92 News (warning: highly partisan), and Croatia public holidays. This year, once again, Serb groups throughout the Balkan States have launched campaigns criticizing the observance of the August 5 public holiday in Croatia.

Analysis: As the August 5 public holiday commemorates the end of the Croatian War of Independence, and Serbs are still (perhaps unjustly?) regarded as the originators of the Balkans wars of the 1990's, it is unlikely that Croatia will face any pressure to even consider changing this public holiday in the near future.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Spain's Baleares Autonomy Announces 2008 Regional Public Holidays

Sources: Última Hora Menorca and Spain public holidays. The executive council of the Spanish Autonomous Community of the Baleares has announced the list of 2008 regional public holidays for the autonomy and regions within. Of note is the inclusion, for the first time, at the autonomy level, of Easter Monday, and, an even rarer occurrence in Spain, the specification of a day in lieu on the day after Día de la Hispanidad as that holiday falls on a Sunday in 2008.

Analysis: Recall that Spanish regions, towns, villages and cities can each have additional public holidays of their own. There is a base of, usually 9, public holidays that are common to all regions of Spain, plus Epiphany and Maundy Thursday which each region can replace with one or two region-specific public holidays. Regions also have the option of adding a regional public holiday, without removing any of the common ones, or Epiphany and Maundy Thursday. The main reason why the specific public holidays for each province and municipality change every year, such as is the case here, is that these are usually patron saint days, which always occur on a fixed date. Therefore, when these fixed dates fall on a weekend, another holiday or patron saint is chosen for that year, to avoid "wasting" a holiday.

Democratic Republic Of The Congo Declares 3 Days Of National Mourning

Sources: IOL and Democratic Republic Of The Congo public holidays. Earlier today, the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo declared three days of national mourning (Saturday to Monday, August 4-6, 2007) for victims of one of the country's worst rail disasters, in which at least 100 people were killed and 120 injured when a goods train derailed as it rounded a bend on Wednesday night. A government spokesperson said flags would fly at half mast and radio and television stations would broadcast religious music.