CANBERRA – The Mayans were right and the apocalypse is near, according to Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

In a spoof 50-second video appearance promoting a local radio station’s breakfast show, Gillard provided hair-raising details of what she said would occur when the world ends this month, as the ancient Mayan calendar predicted.

With the straight face she often uses in a normal news conference, and surrounded by Australian national flags, Gillard addressed viewers as “My dear remaining fellow Australians.”

“The end of the world is coming. It wasn’t Y2K, it wasn’t even the carbon price,” Gillard said firmly. “It turns out that the Mayan calendar is true.”

Y2K was the computer glitch feared globally just before the year 2000, while the carbon tax refers to a major controversial policy put forward by her Labour government in 2012.

She went into terrifying details about the end of the world such as “flesh-eating zombies” and “demonic hell beasts,” but then wooed her constituents with promises.

“If you know one thing about me it is this: I will always fight for you to the very end,” she said, but noted that there is also a bright spot.

“At least this means I won’t have to do Q&A again,” she said, referring to an Australian TV show where politicians usually have to face tough questions from the audience.

A spokesman for Gillard said the video, which was uploaded by radio station Triple J on Thursday and has already been viewed more than 232,000 times on YouTube, was simply a spoof.

“It’s just bit of fun,” he told Reuters. “It’s just a bit of humor for the end of the year. Nothing else.”

The video comes out in the wake of a phone hoax in which two Australians from another local radio station called the hospital that is treating Prince William’s wife, Kate, and posed as Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles to ask questions about her condition.

Baldwin charged with tax evasion

NEW CITY, N.Y. – Actor Stephen Baldwin has been charged with failing to file New York state income taxes for three years.

Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe said Baldwin owes more than $350,000 in taxes and penalties. He said Baldwin was arraigned Thursday on a charge of repeated failure to file tax returns.

Baldwin, 46, pleaded not guilty and was released without bail.

The district attorney said Baldwin could face up to four years in prison if convicted. The actor is due back in court on Feb. 5.

Baldwin is the youngest of the acting Baldwin brothers. He starred in 1995’s “The Usual Suspects” and appeared in 1989’s “Born on the Fourth of July.”

Snooki plans to host MTV’s New Year’s Eve

LOS ANGELES – New York’s Times Square is getting a little bit Jersey for New Year’s Eve.

MTV says “Jersey Shore” stars Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and Jenni “JWOWW” Farley and comedian Jeff Dye will host the network’s live New Year’s Eve special from Times Square.

“MTV’s Club NYE 2013” will also feature performances from Ke$ha, Ne-Yo, Sean Kingston, Rita Ora and others. Ke$ha described the final night of the year as a time when people come together to celebrate “in a sweaty, drunken, dance-fueled orgy of bliss.”

Polizzi said she is hoping to use “a leopard bedazzled microphone” for her hosting duties.

The special is set to air at 11 p.m. Eastern on Dec. 31.

– From news service reports