Doomsters denied again as the Apocalypse is delayed

IT WAS a case of Apocalypse Later. Despite predictions that the world would end at precisely 6pm last night, the much-trumpeted Judgment Day failed to materialise, leaving believers scratching their heads at what had gone wrong.

Across the globe, followers of 89-year-old California preacher Harold Camping, whose teachings declared that the "Rapture" would happen on 21 May, 2011, turned to the Bible, the book they believe predicts the beginning of Earth's destruction, for comfort.

In the hours leading up to the prescribed time, some believers shut themselves indoors to pray for mercy, while others met for tearful last lunches with their families.

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The Rapture was expected to hit in the form of huge earthquakes, as the time of 6pm swept through various timezones across the globe. But Christmas Island in Kiribati - the first place on earth to meet the appointed hour - reported no earthquakes or other Rapture-like disturbances. Auckland, New Zealand, also reported business as usual, as did Australia.

That did not stop some Americans from holding Rapture parties, however, to say goodbye to their loved ones. Others, however, were more tongue-in-cheek, with the American Humanist Association optimistically holding a two-day anti-Rapture party and concert, expected to continue today.

The Rapture is supposedly the time when God's chosen people ascend to heaven and the rest are left behind to face apocalyptic scenes of earthquakes and fire.

Camping has built a multi-million-dollar, non-profit ministry based on his apocalyptic prediction. He is believed to be waking up around $73 million richer this morning as a result of his Judgment day message.

He is yet to comment on the world's continued existence.