While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, March 9

Representatives of the 11 countries pose for the family picture before signing the CPTPP pact.
Representatives of the 11 countries pose for the family picture before signing the CPTPP pact.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

11 nations sign revamped trade deal without US

As the signing of the revised Trans-Pacific Partnership went off without a hitch on Thursday, ministers from the newly-formed trade bloc vowed to bring the agreement into force as soon as possible.

They also welcomed the interest shown by a number of other economies wishing to join the trade bloc, which accounts for 13.5 per cent of the world's gross domestic product.

Eleven Pacific Rim countries signed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in Chile, which had been revised after the United States withdrew from the agreement in January 2017.

The countries are Singapore, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru and Vietnam.


Trump signs order on metal tariffs but Canada, Mexico get reprieve

US President Donald Trump has signed an order imposing a 25 per cent tariff on imported steel, and 10 per cent on imported aluminium, in a bid to protect the US’ aluminium and steel industry. The tariffs are to take effect in 15 days.

But the President walked back from an earlier proposal to apply the tariffs across the board - which had sparked global fears of a trade war.

The order exempted Canada and Mexico – both major sources of imports. It also leaves room for other countries to negotiate exclusions from the new tariffs.


Emotional Florence farewell for Davide Astori

Thousands of mourners and the cream of Italian football gave an emotional sendoff on Thursday to Fiorentina player Davide Astori, whose sudden death at the age of 31 has shocked the country.

Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and his Juventus teammate Giorgio Chiellini were among those who paid their respects in Florence to the defender who captained his club and played 14 times for his country.

One banner in the crowd read "Ciao captain", another "Our captain forever" and purple smoke from flares to match the colour of Fiorentina's shirts filled the sky.


Arsenal stun Milan to ease pressure on Wenger

Arsenal claimed an impressive 2-0 victory at AC Milan in their Europa League last 16, first leg on Thursday to ease some of the pressure on under-fire manager Arsene Wenger.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan drove Arsenal into a 15th-minute lead with his first goal for the club, and a shellshocked Milan fell further behind before half-time as Aaron Ramsey waltzed through to score.

Wenger desperately needed a positive result after coming under pressure for a run of four straight defeats, and he got just that against a Milan side who saw a 13-match unbeaten run ended.


Iron Man director Jon Favreau to create Star Wars TV series

Director Jon Favreau will write and produce a live-action Star Wars series for an upcoming Walt Disney streaming service, the company announced on Thursday, the latest in an expanding universe of new projects around the sci-fi franchise.

Favreau, director of the Iron Man and Jungle Book movies, previously voiced a character in the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars and has a role in the May 2018 film Solo: A Star Wars Story.

“If you told me at 11 years old that I would be getting to tell stories in the ‘Star Wars’ universe, I wouldn’t have believed you,” Favreau said in a statement. “I can’t wait to embark upon this exciting adventure.”