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In Liberland's capital Liberpolis
In Liberland's capital Liberpolis
Mada Masr

CAIRO — There are two smiling European-looking 30-somethings waiting to welcome you to the new website, Liberland.org, while a hopeful-sounding logo proclaims, “Live and let live.”

Formerly referred to as Gornja Siga, the seven square-kilometer state (slightly larger than the Vatican and Monaco) came into existence following a border dispute between Croatia and Serbia. The forgotten territory was left unclaimed by both Croatia and Serbia, which is why it is considered to have been founded according to international law.

Obtaining citizenship is just a click away: candidates fill out an application online. The self-appointed president, Vít JedliÄ�ka, claims on his Facebook page that the website has already received 160,000 citizenship requests, which begs the question: How many people can a country the size of a Cairo city district actually host?

"The objective of the founders of the new state is to build a country where honest people can prosper without being oppressed by governments," the fledgling tax-free country announced upon its inauguration. Neither Croatia nor Serbia have issued diplomatic statements in response.

The Liberland phenomenon has caught the attention of Egypt's Foreign Ministry, which recently warned citizens against “falling victim” to the wiles of human traffickers who aim to steal their money under the false pretenses of sending them abroad. But the warning has fallen short — dozens of citizens from Arab states have already filed applications for asylum in the new country.

JedliÄ�ka claimed that some of the applicants have already made plans to relocate to the new “promised land,” adding that the Free Republic of Liberland would welcome around 5,000 people by the end of the week. However, according to its website, the newborn country does not accept people with a "communist, Nazi or other extremist past.”

In 1719, Liechtenstein, was declared a sovereign member state of the Holy Roman Empire — the 160 square-kilometer state bordering Switzerland and Austria would later survive both world wars. Currently it is one of the richest worldwide. The prince of Liechtenstein is the world's sixth wealthiest monarch with an estimated fortune of $5 billion.

Liberland’s recently appointed president, speaking in an interview with Time magazine last week, hopes the new state will follow in Liechtenstein's footsteps.

Paying taxes is optional in Liberland, and no military service is expected of young citizens. But for now, the country has no airport, post office or military base. What it does have is a Facebook account— with nearly 110,000 likes.

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Geopolitics

New Probe Finds Pro-Bolsonaro Fake News Dominated Social Media Through Campaign

Ahead of Brazil's national elections Sunday, the most interacted-with posts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Telegram and WhatsApp contradict trustworthy information about the public’s voting intentions.

Jair Bolsonaro bogus claims perform well online

Cris Faga/ZUMA
Laura Scofield and Matheus Santino

SÂO PAULO — If you only got your news from social media, you might be mistaken for thinking that Jair Bolsonaro is leading the polls for Brazil’s upcoming presidential elections, which will take place this Sunday. Such a view flies in the face of what most of the polling institutes registered with the Superior Electoral Court indicate.

An exclusive investigation by the Brazilian investigative journalism agency Agência Pública has revealed how the most interacted-with and shared posts in Brazil on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Telegram and WhatsApp share data and polls that suggest victory is certain for the incumbent Bolsonaro, as well as propagating conspiracy theories based on false allegations that research institutes carrying out polling have been bribed by Bolsonaro’s main rival, former president Luís Inácio Lula da Silva, or by his party, the Workers’ Party.

Agência Pública’s reporters analyzed the most-shared posts containing the phrase “pesquisa eleitoral” [electoral polls] in the period between the official start of the campaigning period, on August 16, to September 6. The analysis revealed that the most interacted-with and shared posts on social media spread false information or predicted victory for Jair Bolsonaro.

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