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Update The Register is pleasantly surprised to learn that humanity continues to muddle along after a leading Islamic scholar predicted its abrupt destruction on 22 August.

Academician Bernard Lewis, a specialist in Middle-Eastern culture and politics, and one of Dick Cheney's favorite thinkers, appeared to have it all worked out in an op-ed piece published by the Wall Street Journal. After a careful reading of scripture, and a bit of arithmetic, Lewis was able to determine the ideal day for Iran to nuke Israel, initiating the atomic Armageddon that we've all been worrying about.

Iran was expected to ignite World War III on the anniversary of the prophet Muhammad's journey to Heaven, which this year fell on 22 August. Oddly, the Iranians seem to have had other things on their minds, and marked the occasion with an overture toward negotiating with the West over their controversial nuclear weapons research and development program.

Of course, it's entirely possible that the professor misplaced a decimal point somewhere along the way, and that the Apocalypse is still being arranged for some equally important but perhaps less pleasant occasion in the Islamic calendar.

The predictions business can be tricky, as everyone knows (The Simpsons' episode "Thank God It's Doomsday" illustrates this nicely, as Homer needs two attempts at calculating the end of the world).

We will of course continue to bring our readers all breaking news regarding the end of civilisation. We regret to remind those who bought Gulfstreams, Lamborghinis, etc., on the strength of Professor Lewis's prior prediction, that they're liable for payments until the debt is satisfied or Armageddon commences, whichever comes first. ®

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