The alignment of the two planets on Sunday night, means that from Earth they will appear to be touching each other even though they are millions of kilometres apart.

The conjunction of fiery Mars with disciplined Saturn has been termed a "disastrous encounter" by Indian astrologers, who say that it heralds a period of upheaval.

The celestial event usually occurs once every 18 years but this time it has fallen at a time called "Karak Rashi" according to the Indian lunar calendar, generally designated as unfavourable by astrologers.

"Mars is like a mongoose and Saturn is the serpent. The fight is inevitable"

Bejan Daruwalla,

Bejan Daruwalla, one of India's most high-profile astrologers, told the Times of India the conjunction of planets would happen at 9:30pm local time (1600 GMT), just as Brazil are set to kick off their World Cup match against Australia.

He predicted "a surprising outcome" to the game and the World Cup itself, the Times of India report said.

"Mars is like a mongoose and Saturn is the serpent. The fight is inevitable. There will be many ups and downs," Daruwalla was quoted by the paper as saying.

"Superstar Ronaldo has been booed by Brazilian fans, Bill Gates wants to retire, the share market is going haywire. Blair is being termed Marxist, Argentina scores 6 - all are effects of hot and cold."

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