THE world may or may not, according to the Mayan calendar, come to an end this morning.

Russell Leadbetter comes out from under his desk to file what may be the last words you ever read!

IF you're reading this before 11.12am today, it might be one of the last things you ever do.

We're really sorry it had to end this way. We're sorry we couldn't have ended things on a more upbeat note. We'd just like to say thanks for being such a loyal reader.

If, however, it's gone 11.12am, and you're finished this article and everything around you seems to be perfectly okay, we're safe.

In other words, the world will not have ended.

All across the globe, people have been bracing themselves for the end of the world.

Many claim that the ancient Mayan calendar has forecast an apocalypse for today.

For this is the day when the 13th and final baktun (a period of 400 years) comes to an end in the 5125-year Maya Long Calendar. According to some readings, the world will end, not with a whimper but with a bang, at 11.12am GMT, the time of the summer solstice in the southern hemisphere.

Believers have been assembling at Mayan sites in Central America, there to await confirmation of what is seen as a thousands-year-old prophecy.

One site, Tikal, which doubled as the rebel base in the Star Wars films, is swamped with visitors.

Reports say that over the last few days, security personnel have been ejecting naked women who have been dancing and chanting around fire pits.

Local hotels have been fully booked up by people convinced that they only have a few hours left on earth – which makes you wonder if they were asked to pay their bills in advance.

Of course, all of this might just be nonsense. One Mayan expert says the notion of the apocalypse is just a false reading of the Mayan – and that December 21 marks the start of a new calendar.

So that's all right then.

That said, we're still hedging our bets until the clock ticks forward to 11.13am...