The military junta controls Myanmar with an iron hand which includes media and internet censorship which is why David Beckham remains that country's top sporting preoccupation. He may deliver freedom to them at their doorstep.
Simon Kuper writes about Googles powerful public opinion tool, Insights for Search and uncovers some fascinating gems.
Last year Cristiano Ronaldo became the most searched for athlete.
- The most searched-for athletes in the world since 2004 (when Google's public records begin) seem to be: Cristiano Ronaldo, David Beckham, Ronaldinho, Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong.
80,000 fans welcome Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid became a top selling story. Real Madrid is searched even more by Salvadorians than Spaniards. Mali runs a close third.
There is a strong divide between the "true America" red states and those "commie loving European boot licking " blue states.
- There was a striking political divide between "football states" and "soccer states": eight of the 10 states that devoted the highest proportion of their searches to football voted for John McCain in last year's election, while nine of the top 10 soccer-searching states voted Obama.
American sports clubs are dwarfed by the global appeal of soccer.
- Worldwide, US sports clubs are relatively puny brands. The New York Yankees, Boston Celtics and New England Patriots - biggest in their sports in recent years - have each inspired only about a fifth as many global searches as Manchester United since 2004. Real Madrid's lead is even bigger: it has prompted almost seven times as many searches as the Yankees, the most searched-for American team.
Arsenal is most followed by Eritreans.
- And in a bit of sleuthing on my own, I discovered that Arsenal has a strong East African bias followed most strongly in Eritrea, Somalia, Ethiopia, and Uganda whereas Michael Essien pulls Chelsea towards West Africa with Ghana leading the way. In general, the English Premier League is followed most strongly in Africa. Michael Owen's Man Utd transfer was the EPL's biggest story followed most avidly in England with tremendous interest also shown in Singapore, Ireland, and Malaysia.