Apocalypse Pods To Beat The End Of The World

As people across the globe tremble in anticipation of next week's supposed Mayan-predicted apocalypse, one Chinese villager says he has just what humanity needs - tsunami-proof survival pods.

Former farmer and furniture maker Liu Qiyuan, 45, calls the spheres Noah's Arks, designed to withstand towering tsunamis and devastating earthquakes.

The pods use a glass fibre casing over a steel frame. They cost 300,000 yuan (£30,000) each, and are equipped with oxygen tanks, food and water supplies.

"The pod won't have any problems even if there are 1,000-metre-high waves... it's like a ping pong ball, its skin may be thin, but it can withstand a lot of pressure," said Mr Liu at his workshop in Qiantun, an hour from Beijing.

"The pods are designed to carry 14 people at a time, but it's possible for 30 people to survive inside for at least two months."

Their insulation was such that "a person could live for four months in the pod at the North or South Pole without freezing, or even feeling slightly cold", he said. 

One of the spheres even boasts the domestic comforts of a table, bed and flowery wallpaper.

Mr Liu claims he came up with the design after watching the 2009 Hollywood disaster film 2012, which is inspired by the expiry on Friday, December 21, of the Mayan Long Count, a calendar covering more than 5,000 years used by the ancient Central American civilisation.

Apocalyptic predictions have provoked widespread fears among believers, including in China, where two rural counties sold out of candles this month after a panic that three days of darkness would begin on December 21, the Xinhua news agency reported.

:: British rock band Radiohead has been forced to deny claims in the Brazilian media that guitarist Jonny Greenwood is hiding in Sao Paulo awaiting the end of the world.

Reports said Greenwood is at a hotel in Sao Luiz do Paraitinga waiting for December 21. But the band's management, Courtyard management, has insisted that the musician is not even in the country.