December 28, 1995
Web posted at: 11:30 a.m. EST (1630 GMT)
NAHA, Japan (CNN) -- Closing arguments have been delayed in the trial of three U.S. servicemen accused of raping a 12-year-old girl in Okinawa, to allow the Fukuoka High Court to consider a plea for a change of venue.
"'There is a growing sentiment in Okinawa against U.S. military bases,'" a court spokesman said, quoting the petition filed on behalf of U.S. Marine private Kendrick Ledet. "'Under these circumstances, a fair trial cannot be expected.'"
The court abruptly postponed a final hearing in the trial "until at least early January," said the spokesman. At Thursday's hearing, prosecutors were to have demanded a specific sentence against the three men. A verdict by a three-judge panel, originally scheduled for January 19, could also be postponed, depending on the high court's decision, according to the spokesman.
All three men face three years to life in a Japanese prison if convicted. Accused Navy seaman Marcus Gill, 23, admits he raped a 12-year-old Okinawan girl, and says Marine privates Ledet, 20, and Rodrico Harp, 21, were willing accomplices.
BEIJING, China (CNN) -- China launched an American-owned telecommunications satellite Thursday, the first of three international satellites the Chinese are scheduled to place in orbit by their own rockets over the next three months.
A Long March 2E rocket launched the Echostar-1 satellite live on national television from the Xichang site in southwest Sichuan province. The satellite is manufactured by Lockheed Martin of the U.S. and will provide the main communications link for a television service planned for the U.S.
Japan and Russia are the other space powers competing for a slice of the lucrative market to launch other nations' satellites.
COROWA, Australia (CNN) -- More than 1,000 people are taking part in the Australian skydiving championships near the New South Wales town of Corowa.
People from Australia and abroad are competing in formation and freestyle skydiving. The most interest, however, was expected to be in this year's biggest craze -- skysurfing.
Skysurfers ride the air at 200 kilometers per hour (124 mph) from heights of more than 5,000 meters (16,000 ft). It is a demonstration sport at the Corowa titles.
Formation diving involves four- and eight-member teams attempting to build as many patterns as possible before landing. The teams are judged using videos strapped to the helmets of camera crews who freefall alongside. The team members have just 30 seconds in which to produce formations before diving to safety.
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