August 18, Wednesday, 2021 (1:30 p.m.) Newsline

1. A stationary front has been bringing sporadic heavy rain intermittently to areas along the Pacific coast of western and eastern Japan. Some areas in the Kyushu region in southwestern Japan have received more than half their annual rainfall in a week. Weather officials say some more rain could dramatically heighten the risk of disaster.
2. The Japanese government has decided to expand and extend a state of emergency aimed at containing the coronavirus pandemic. The highly contagious Delta variant is fueling a surge in cases nationwide. Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide on Tuesday stressed the severity of the situation and pointed to the record 20,000 new infections reported last Friday. 3. The Taliban have held their first official news conference in Kabul since they seized power from the elected government. The group announced its intention to allow women access to jobs and education. It also ensured media activities within the framework of Islam.