While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Oct 8 edition

Clinton comes out against huge Pacific trade deal

Hillary Clinton, who regularly promoted White House efforts to complete a huge trade accord with Pacific Rim countries while she was US secretary of state, came out Wednesday against the deal.

The apparent flip in position – which Republicans wasted no time in branding “painful waffling” – represents yet another Clinton break from President Barack Obama as she gears up for an intense 2016 campaign battle for the White House.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) signed Monday between 12 nations would be the largest regional trade pact ever, encompassing 40 per cent of the global economy and marking one of Obama’s key diplomatic and economic achievements.


Indonesia's small firms struggle, dealing economy another blow

Fuad Fultoni has been selling wooden furniture from Pasuruan city on the eastern side of Indonesia's Java island for 15 years: gazing out as his workers sat idly in an empty showroom, he says business has never been so bad.

"People don't have the purchasing power for things like this anymore," Fultoni said, gesturing towards intricately carved tables, chairs and cabinets on display. "Now they are prioritising their primary needs."

Small and medium-sized firms (SMEs) like his account for at least 50 per cent of Indonesia's economy, but they have been sideswiped by the rupiah's slide to 17-year lows against the dollar, faltering consumption and a jump in minimum wages.


Putin marks 63rd birthday with ice hockey match, Syria war briefing

Russian President Vladimir Putin marked his 63rd birthday on Wednesday in his favourite Black Sea resort of Sochi by taking part in an ice hockey match and holding a briefing on his country's military campaign in Syria.

State TV showed Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu telling Putin that the Russian military had struck 112 targets in Syria since it began its air campaign last Wednesday, and that cruise missiles had been fired overnight from Russian warships in the Caspian Sea at Islamist militants in Syria.

The Russian leader then took part in an ice hockey match in an arena used in the 2014 Winter Olympics, personally scoring seven goals.


Rugby: Record try scorer Habana leads South Africa into last eight

South African winger Bryan Habana equalled Jonah Lomu's record of 15 Rugby World Cup tries with a hat-trick in the Springboks' 64-0 demolition of the United States on Wednesday to seal their place in the quarter-finals as pool winners.

The former world champions would not have expected to have so much riding on their final group match against the bottom team in Pool B, but their humiliating opening defeat to Japan had left them needing a win to shut the door on Scotland and the Japanese.


Louis Vuitton's spring biker chick wraps Paris Fashion Week

Louis Vuitton presented a futuristic look rich in leather and metallics on Wednesday, offering coloured biker jackets and shiny dresses as the luxury French label wrapped Paris Fashion Week.

Designer Nicolas Ghesquiere, who has led a renaissance of the brand known for its monogrammed leather bags, started the show with a bubble gum pink biker jacket worn with a patterned black skirt and chunky black flatform sandals.

The jacket then took on different looks - painted with rainbow colours, printed with the Vuitton monogram or military style.