While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Oct 5 edition

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says Russian failure in Syria would 'destroy' Mid-East

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad warned that the success of Russia's military intervention in his war-torn country was vital for the entire Middle East, as Moscow ramped up its bombing campaign on Sunday (Oct 4).

Russian raids against what Moscow says are Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group targets took place for a fifth day despite accusations in the West that the strikes are mainly targeting moderate opponents of the regime.

"The alliance between Russia, Syria, Iraq and Iran must succeed or else the whole region will be destroyed," Mr Assad said in an interview broadcast by Iranian state television.

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After five years of negotiations, Trans-Pacific trade talks near deal

A dozen Pacific nations closed in on a sweeping free trade pact on Sunday in Atlanta after a breakthrough over how long a monopoly pharmaceutical companies should be given on new biotech drugs.

The issue has pitted the United States, which has argued for longer protections, against Australia and five other delegations who say such measures would strain national healthcare budgets and keep life-saving medicines from patients who cannot afford them.

The compromise would preserve Australia's existing five-year protection period but would also offer flexibility on longer drug monopolies, potentially creating two tracks on future drug pricing within the trading bloc, a person close to the negotiations said.

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Extreme poverty to fall below 10 per cent: World Bank

Extreme poverty will this year fall to less than 10 per cent of the global population for the first time, although there is still "great concern" for millions in Africa, a World Bank report said on Sunday.

"This is the best story in the world today. These projections show us that we are the first generation in human history that can end extreme poverty," said Mr Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank, which holds its annual meetings from Oct 9-11 in Lima, along with the IMF.

According to World Bank projections, about 702 million people, or 9.6 per cent of the world population, will live below the poverty line this year, mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

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Football: Arsenal bulldoze Man Utd to give embattled manager Arsene Wenger solace

Arsenal produced a scintillating start to overwhelm in-form Manchester United 3-0 in the Premier League on Sunday and give embattled manager Arsene Wenger something to smile about.

Wenger was pilloried in the British press after Tuesday's 2-3 home defeat by Olympiakos left his side struggling to avoid a group-stage exit in the Champions League, but five days on he presided over a win that equalled his best league result against United.

Alexis Sanchez was the hosts' inspiration, scoring with a neat back-heel and an 18-yard howitzer inside the first 19 minutes to take his tally to six goals in three games after last weekend's hat-trick at Leicester City and a midweek header against Olympiakos.

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Football: Liverpool sack manager Brendan Rodgers after poor start

Liverpool sacked manager Brendan Rodgers on Sunday following a year of disappointing results that culminated in a poor start to the current season.

The announcement came just hours after the five-time European champions held Everton to a 1-1 draw in the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park with another unconvincing performance.

Rodgers, 42, took Liverpool to the brink of the Premier League title in 2014, but they finished sixth last season and are currently 10th in the table with 12 points from eight games.

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