Pentagon Delays Plans to Stop Using Older Cluster Bombs
The Pentagon is indefinitely postponing plans to stop using a certain type of cluster bomb -- a battlefield weapon that has killed or seriously wounded civilians.
The Pentagon planned to stop using the older style bombs in 2019 and replace them with a so-called safer version.
A Defense Department memo said Thursday the military has been unable to produce cluster bombs with a failure rate of 1 percent or less.
Cluster bombs explode in midair and scatter smaller bombs across a wide target area.
Human rights groups say many of these bomblets fail to explode until a child finds one and mistakes it for a toy or a farmer picks one up in his field.
A 2010 treaty outlaws the use of cluster bombs, but the U.S. is not a signatory. It calls the bombs a legitimate weapon needed for such wartime tactics as attacking enemy troop formations.
Human Rights Watch condemned the Pentagon's decision.
Japan's Emperor Akihito to Abdicate in 2019
Japanese Emperor Akihito will step down from the Chrysanthemum Throne on April 30, 2019, the government announced Friday.
He will be succeeded by his eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito.
The Imperial House Council made the decision Friday about the date of the abdication.
Last year, the emperor said he was becoming too old and frail to carry out his duties.
"When I consider that my fitness level is gradually declining, I am worried that it may become difficult for me to carry out my duties as the symbol of the state with my whole being, as I have done until now," Akihito said in 2016 in a rare televised address to the nation.
In recent years, the emperor has had heart surgery, bronchitis and has been treated for prostate cancer.
Legislation was passed earlier this year allowing for the emperor's abdication, but the timing of the move was left to the Imperial House Council, chaired by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Akihito will be the first emperor to abdicate the Chrysanthemum Throne in 200 years.