Top stories from the Development and Aid World News Service. 

Crazy Storm Patterns Blast the Middle East

A frightening storm…and not of the political variety. “Abnormal storms which for four days have blasted the Middle East with rain, snow and hail have left at least nine people dead and brought misery to Syrian refugees huddled in camps. In the latest incidents, officials reported that two women were found dead in the West Bank on Wednesday after their car was swept away in floods, while a 30-year-old man froze to death in Taalabaya, in Lebanon’s Bekaa province, after he fell asleep drunk in his car. Snow carpeted Syria’s war-torn cities but sparked no let-up in the fighting, instead heaping fresh misery on a civilian population already enduring a chronic shortage of heating fuel and daily power cuts.” (AFP http://bit.ly/UXx3Tb)

Yet More Labor Unrest Rocks South Africa

Late last summer, strikes by mine workers and a horrible massacre by police gripped south Africa. Now, farm workers are on strike. “Striking farm workers in South Africa’s Western Cape province have clashed with police after blocking roads in several areas as part of a protest for higher wages. Police fired rubber bullets at a crowd of hundreds of part-time farm workers in the town of De Doorns, after protesters flung stones at vehicles on the main highway running through the area, about 100km east of Cape Town. The demonstrators were able to force the police back, Al Jazeera’s Tania Page reported from the town. Protests are also taking place in other areas of Western Cape, including the town of Wolseley. The strikers are trying to prevent other workers from going to work. They want their daily wages to be more than doubled to 150 South African rand ($17.5).” (Al Jazeera http://aje.me/UW9KsP)

Domestic Workers Deserve Better Pay and Working Conditions, Says ILO

A new report from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) says countries should do more to protect 53 million domestic workers around the world. “The ILO report, Domestic Workers Across the World, shines a spotlight on a group of workers often neglected by policymakers and largely excluded from national labour laws. ‘Domestic workers are frequently expected to work longer hours than other workers, and in many countries do not have the same rights to weekly rest that are enjoyed by other workers,’ said Sandra Polaski, the ILO’s deputy director general. ‘Combined with the lack of rights, the extreme dependency on an employer and the isolated and unprotected nature of domestic work can render them vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.’” (Guardian http://bit.ly/UXvBAa)