Published August 17, 2021

A government collapses, a new virus form emerges, and a climate phenomenon offers a glimpse of the near future.

With the Taliban once more in control of Afghanistan, what comes next? Wojtek Wolfe, associate professor of political science at Rutgers University–Camden, joins FOX 29 News to discuss the country’s change of rulers. “So far, the Taliban are signaling to regional neighbors that [they are] willing to make deals and establish some kind of coherent policy,” says Wolfe. Emphasizing that political stability may not prevent human rights abuses, Wolfe says that “regardless of what the Taliban [say], it’s likely that they are going to install Sharia law. That’s definitely going to change everyday life…for women in that society.” The interview also touches on the Taliban’s relationships with ISIS and Al Qaeda.

Fox 29 News | What comes next after Taliban take over of Afghanistan?

As the highly contagious Delta variant continues its global rampage, another coronavirus mutation is gaining the attention of health experts. Prevention features a story about the Lambda variant and includes comments from Rutgers School of Public Health epidemiology professor Stanley Weiss. While cautioning that initial data on Lambda is limited, Weiss says the COVID-19 pandemic “remains a brewing ground for variants” and that the public should be “very concerned” about any new strain of the virus. “Each variant that we learn about…clearly has properties that are worrisome,” says Weiss.

Prevention | What is the Lambda variant? Here’s why experts are keeping an eye on it

Bearing good news for those who dread shoveling sidewalks, Rutgers geography professor David Robinson talks with Newsday about the arrival of La Niña and its accompanying silver lining: a potentially milder winter. Robinson, who is also New Jersey’s state climatologist, explains that La Niña can lead to lower winter temperatures and affect storm development because it dampens the wind shear associated with hurricanes. “It’s not a ‘Take it to the bank,’ but more times than not, in a La Niña winter, there is below normal snowfall [and] average to slightly milder temperatures,” says Robinson.

Newsday | La Niña may bring mild winter to region, forecasters say

The New Jersey Herald reports that a growing number of U.S. school districts are cutting libraries and librarians out of their budgets or turning them into “media centers” and “media center teachers.” Transitioning to electronic media isn’t necessarily a bad thing, says Krista White SCILS’08, a digital scholarship and pedagogies librarian at Rutgers University–Newark, and it’s a “fundamental misunderstanding” to think that libraries should focus only on physical books. But White also says it is “mind-blowingly inaccurate” to heap praise on digital technologies, which often hide content behind paywalls and are less accessible in rural and low-income areas.

New Jersey Herald | It’s sad to see.’ School libraries are increasingly eliminated

Andrea Hetling, an associate professor at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, talks to PBS NewsHour about ways in which domestic violence can take the form of economic abuse. Noting that violent individuals often wantonly build up debt in a spouse’s or partner’s name, Hetling says the dominant characteristic of this kind of abuse is “one of control, an abuser trying to place as much control over someone’s life as possible. Financial abuse is a very effective way of doing that. If we don’t have financial freedom, it’s really hard to function in our society.”

PBS NewsHour | Domestic violence can also take the form of economic abuse

Patch profiles Jason Lewis, a rising sophomore at Rutgers, who recently won his second world title in martial arts at the American Taekwondo Association World Championship in Phoenix, Arizona. He plans to join the Rutgers Taekwondo Club and compete in its national tournaments as well. “To become a world champion it takes lots of training, but most importantly just being disciplined over many years and being consistent with your training,” says Lewis. “It was a long journey but it was definitely worth it. Hard work really pays off.”

Patch | Marlboro teen wins martial arts world championship

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