The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, November 12, 2003, Image 1

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Aggielife: Shades of gray • Page 3 Opinion: Unstable futures • Page 9
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A Texas A&M Tradition Since 1893 Wednesday, November 12, 2003
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A&M is working with the academy to bring panda
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Chinese, A&M foster science
By Bart Shirley
The Chinese Academy of Science and
Texas A&M’s Department of Education and
Human Development are cooperating to edu
cate the world about pandas in China.
A&M will now contribute to the CAS’s
virtual science museums online. A&M
Executive Associate Dean Douglas Palmer
hosted the signing of the cooperative. He
said this effort will help both groups foster
interest in science for future teachers.
“It’s excellent,” Palmer said. “One of the
issues is science education.”
Students in kindergarten through 12th
grades will act as an impetus for the program.
A&M’s role in the project will be in a par
allel study at the Alaskan McNeil River
Project, which studies the habits of grizzly
bears. This cooperative will now house the
video footage of these bears as a counter
point to the panda research in China.
Rick Nader, director of the Institute for
Pacific Asia, named A&M biology profes
sor Larry Griffing as a key researcher on
the project. Nader said this project will
increase awareness of science’s relation to
“Science is universal,” he said. “We
want to use culture as a vector in teaching
Nader said there are similarities between
the United States and China, such as the
Great Canyon and the Grand Canyon, and
there is a possibility of studying the cultures
surrounding the two areas.
The Internet is a science education
tool, Nader said. This is the first “panda-
cam” in China.
He said his hope is that the new program
will influence how science is being learned
and taught.
Nader and Palmer stressed the impor
tance of this cooperation with regard to edu
cating future scientists and educators.
Nader said his organization works on
many of these cooperative programs, but
that this one was rewarding because it
worked out.
“We want to get more students interest
ed in science,” he said. “America isn’t the
only place that the cutting edge is being
The virtual science museum can be
accessed online at
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GALVESTON, Texas — For five days, argu
ments, tears, play-acting and doubts swirled
around the room where jurors in the Robert
Durst murder trial ultimately decided the eccen
tric millionaire was not guilty of killing his eld
erly neighbor.
I On Tuesday, the eight-woman, four-man jury
rendered its verdict after more than 26 hours of
deliberations. Durst was accused of intentionally
filling his neighbor, cutting up the body and dis
posing of the parts in Galveston Bay.
When jurors began working Nov. 5, their first
vote was nowhere near unanimous. Five jurors
rated not guilty, three voted guilty and four were
“When we went in that room on Wednesday
afternoon, that was the worst day of my life
because I have never served on a jury before,”
said Deborah Warren, a surgical technician.
“And I never
realized how
important it was
to come to a ver
The delibera
tions were not
easy, Warren
“There were
people that cried;
there were people
that fussed and
argued. We
demonstrated; we
had paper all around the room,” she said. “My
stomach is still knotted up. We did the best with
what we had.”
Prosecutors claimed Durst planned to kill 71-
year-old Morris Black to steal his identity.
Defense attorneys said their client accidentally
shot Black in self-defense when he discovered
the elderly man illegally in his apartment.
Durst, who testified in his own defense, said
his neighbor threatened him with a gun the mil
lionaire had hidden in his stove. During the
struggle for the gun, the Weapon went off as the
two men fell to the floor.
“We played out the different scenarios. (One
of the jurors) demonstrated to us what would have
happened if he had been standing over him versus
if he would have fallen on him versus if they
would have struggled over the gun,” Warren said.
Joanne Gongora, a nursing teacher at
Galveston College, said that while jurors consid
ered everything Durst did after Black’s death,
including the dismembennent and his flight from
authorities, they focused on what happened in
the millionaire’s apartment on the morning of
Sept. 28, 2001. Jurors felt prosecutors did not
prove their case, she said.
“Based on the evidence presented to us, there
was reasonable doubt.. It was a big struggle for
all of us,” Gongora said.
Many jurors said they didn’t believe all of
Burst’s story.
“We took Durst’s story completely out of the
picture. We took the evidence that was presented
to us,” said Robbie Clarac, a business manager
in Galveston. “We went on the facts that were
presented to us from the prosecution. We could
not convict him.”
Gongora and another juror, El ridge Darby, a
maintenance worker, said they could understand
that panic drove Durst to run from authorities.
“Flight was something Durst did all his life,”
Clarac said.
Based on the
evidence presented
to us, there was
reasonable doubt. It
was a big struggle for
all of us.
— Joanne Gongora
War and remembrance
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A war veteran is reflected on the 3,000 etched
names on the bronze memorial during the Veterans
Day remembrance ceremony held at the Brazos
Valley Veterans Memorial on Tuesday to honor cur
rent and former military personnel. The names of
487 additional veterans were unveiled during the
service which included a performance by the Aggie
Band and a 21 -gun salute by the Ross Volunteers.
Profs receive
research award
By Carrie Pierce
Eduardo Urbina, a professor in the
Department of Spanish, and Terence A.
Hoagwood, a professor in the
Department of English, recently received
the Liberal Arts Research Awards for
outstanding research and developments
in their respective disciplines.
“Research is one of the major ele
ments of the University’s mission,” said
Ben Crouch, executive associate dean
in the College of Liberal Arts.
The Liberal Arts Research Award
has been presented annually to two
members of the faculty in the College
of Liberal Arts since its founding in
1996. The department heads nominate
possible recipients, a standing commit
tee in the liberal arts college reviews
the nominations and then recommen
dations are reviewed by Liberal Arts
Dean Charles Johnson, who makes the final decision,
Crouch said.
“Several years ago in the College of Liberal Arts, we
thought it would be appropriate to have a research award
given at the college level,” Crouch said. “These two pro
fessors have, in their respective departments, provided
exceptional leadership on the graduate, as well as the
undergraduate, level.”
Urbina has been teaching Spanish literature at Texas
A&M since 1981. He came to the United States from
Madrid, Spain, in 1969, and received his doctorate in
Hispanic Studies from the University of California at
Berkeley in 1979. Urbina taught at Berkeley for one year,
and the University of Michigan for a year before coming
to A&M.
Urbina received the Liberal Arts Research Award pri
marily for his dedication to digital libraries and the
growth of the Humanities Informatics Initiative. Urbina
has dedicated himself to the Cervantes Project, a refer
ence and research site dedicated to the life and works of
Spanish writer Miguel De Cervantes. Cervantes was a
major author of Spanish literature who was born in the
16th century. He wrote “Don Quixote,” the most often
translated and published book after the Bible.
See Award on page 2
Vatican debates biotech food
The Vatican ended a two-day seminar Tuesday
during which they debated the moral implications
of genetically modifying food. The conference
sought a middle ground between alleviating
world hunger and altering creation.
Advocates claim
Critics say...
► ... it will fight
hunger by increasing
crop yields.
► ... it will improve
the environment
because farmers will
not use as much
► ... that it would be
changing ‘God’s
► ... that claims of
easing world hunger are
► ... the long-term health
and environmental
effects are unknown.
SOURCE: Associated Press
Vatican weighs world hunger solution
By Nicole Winfield
VATICAN CITY — Two Jesuits told a Vatican
biotech conference Tuesday that tinkering with
God’s creation by making new plant species went
against church teaching, adding a moral voice to a
debate dominated by scientific, political and eco
nomic interests.
A paper by the Rev. Dr. Roland Lesseps and the
Rev. Peter Henriot, Americans based in Zambia,
was presented to the final session of a two-day
meeting on genetically modified organisms that
was designed to help the Roman Catholic Church
formulate a position on whether biotech foods can
alleviate world hunger.
No date has been set for when the Vatican
might come out with its pronouncement, and the
conference organizer. Cardinal Renato Martino,
said it could possibly take years. But in his final
See Vatican on page 2
Lynch disturbed by exaggerated reports of ordeal
By Erin McClam
NEW YORK — Pfc. Jessica
Lynch said Tuesday she is disturbed
that the military seemed to overdra
matize her rescue by U.S. troops and
spread false stories that' she went
down shooting in an Iraqi ambush.
“That wasn’t me. I wasn’t about
to take credit for something I didn’t
do,” she told The Associated Press.
“I’m not that person.”
The 20-year-old former Army
supply clerk — twig-thin and
weary, one crutch close at hand
— described her ordeal in a
Veterans Day interview seven
months after the rescue made her
a national hero.
Reports circulated by the
U.S. military early in the war
said Lynch waged a fierce gun-
battle with Iraqi fighters who
ambushed her 507th Maintenance
Company from Fort Bliss, Texas, on
March 23 at Nasiriyah. She has since
I’m not about to
take credit for
something I didn’t
do. I’m not that
person. ”
said her rifle jammed, and she did
not get off a shot.
And Lynch’s new book points
out that, despite the “tension and
drama” of the military videotape
showing gun-toting U.S. soldiers
rushing into an Iraqi hospital to
rescue her, the hospital staff never
resisted, and even offered the
troops a key.
“It disturbed me,” Lynch said. “I
knew that it wasn’t the truth.”
Still, the ex-prisoner of war from
rural West Virginia took pains to say
that she does not care why the military
See Lynch on page 2