The Chinese government’s crackdown on property speculation in Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and 16 other major cities is to spread to smaller municipalities, we report in our roundup of Chinese-language media. A raft of cities now experiencing surging house prices will be subject to stricter mortgage rules and purchase limits, according to Sina Finance. Meanwhile, Xinhua says a list of 45 blacklisted property companies and agencies is only the first step in a campaign against errant real estate practices.

The pound plummeted by as much as 10 percent in just a few minutes of Asian trading on Friday, in a “flash crash” that fueled concerns about the vulnerability of the British currency while adding to the allure of its corporate sector. The pound recovered from the fall, but it was still down 1.4 percent on the day and trading below US$1.25 for the first time since 1985. Sterling’s woes were sparked by anxiety over a “hard” exit by Britain from the European Union.

The Formula E motor sport circus arrives in Hong Kong on the same weekend as Japan hosts Formula 1. The electric vehicle racing format may be a work in progress but it is attracting huge investment and growing interest and the technology is fast becoming part of a new space race that will ultimately revolutionize the family car.

The Philippine military could manage on its own if its treaty ally the United States were to withdraw aid, the country’s defense minister Delfin Lorenzana said on Friday.
The Philippines intended to buy arms from China and Russia, he added, declaring there had been no adverse reaction from within the military to President Rodrigo Duterte’s vows to scale back defense ties with the US.

China’s bid to reach the World Cup soccer finals in Russia in 2018 suffered a huge blow on Thursday night when they were beaten 1-0 by Syria in a group qualifying match in Xian. The Syrian team are playing their qualifying games outside the country due to the ongoing conflict in their homeland. The Chinese state and wealthy Chinese firms have invested billions in trying to make China a world power in the game.

Kenny Hodgart

Kenny Hodgart is an editor for Asia Times.