[LEAPSECS] "Timekeeping experts failed Friday to reach a decision ..."

Richard Langley lang at unb.ca
Fri Sep 20 22:55:51 EDT 2013

World timekeepers wrangle over scrapping leap second
By: Jonathan Fowler, Agence France-Presse
September 21, 2013 2:27 AM

GENEVA - Timekeeping experts failed Friday to reach a decision on scrapping the four-decade-old practice of adding extra seconds to clocks, a system opponents say causes headaches in a hi-tech, interconnected world.

After deferring a decision almost two years ago, members of the 193-nation International Telecommunication Union aim to settle the issue by 2015, but divisions persisted as a week of talks among technical experts wrapped up in Geneva.


The leap second battle lines do not reflect the traditional international diplomat divisions, with countries including the United States, France and Japan in favor of ditching them, and Britain, China and Canada among those wary of the idea.

"A variety of systems using UTC have been developed over the past 40 years since the introduction of the leap second and proponents argue that UTC should be maintained," said Francois Rancy, head of the ITU's radiocommunication bureau.

"Strong arguments are also made to abolish the leap second in favor of a continuous reference time scale as a measure to increase the reliability of systems that depend on time to reduce costs and avoid unnecessary disruptions," he added.


| Richard B. Langley E-mail: lang at unb.ca |

| Geodetic Research Laboratory Web: http://www.unb.ca/GGE/ |

| Dept. of Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering Phone: +1 506 453-5142 |

| University of New Brunswick Fax: +1 506 453-4943 |

| Fredericton, N.B., Canada E3B 5A3 |

| Fredericton? Where's that? See: http://www.fredericton.ca/ |


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