Russia's Putin says world will only end in 4.5 bln years

MOSCOW Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:59pm IST

Russia's President Vladimir Putin gestures during his annual news conference in Moscow, December 20, 2012. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Russia's President Vladimir Putin gestures during his annual news conference in Moscow, December 20, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Maxim Shemetov

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Vladimir Putin is not worried by prophecies the world might end on Friday because he knows it has another 4.5 billion years left.

"I know when the world will end ... In about 4.5 billion years," the Russian president said in response to a question about the timing of his annual news conference, held on the eve of what according to New Age prophecies might be doomsday.

He explained his calculation by saying the world was at the centre of the Sun's "functioning cycle" of seven billion to 14 billion years, and this meant the Sun would turn into a white dwarf in 4.5 billion years.

"What is there to be afraid of if it's inevitable?" he said.

An era in the Maya Long Count calendar is due to end at sunrise on December 21, an event interpreted by some groups as the end of days.

(Reporting by Timothy Heritage; Editing by Sophie Hares)

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