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UTC, GMT, leap seconds

Some time ago, I though I understood things UTC/GMT and leap seconds. 
But my date(1) doesn't confirm what I thought.

I would assume that `the number of seconds since 00:00:00, Jan 1, 1970'
doesn't include leap seconds, whereas Mid European Time does.

But if I do 

$ TZ=MET date; date +"%s"
Fri Jul 23 23:06:16 MEST 1999

both refer to excactly the same time (without leap seconds).

Does anyone know if this is OK? And, is my memory correct in
telling me that UTC also should be without taking leap seconds
into account? (I thought that was the difference in between GMT and UTC).

(Please also CC me, as I'm not on this list)


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