Online war despatch: Officer to tweet from Afghan frontline

A senior British Army officer will start using Twitter next month to inform about Afghan frontline.

London: A senior British Army officer will start using the online social networking site Twitter from next month to inform the world about the frontline in war-ravaged Afghanistan.

Daily Telegraph Monday reported that Lieutenant Colonel Dougie Graham, who is commanding officer of the Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, plans to tweet during the Afghanistan tour.

The officer leads over 450 soldiers who will soon leave for Lashkar Gah, the capital of the Helmand Province. The contingent is part of the 10,000-strong 16 Air Assault Brigade.

Graham made it clear that his soldier`s military manoeuvres will be confidential, but there will be other issues to keep people back at home and the general public interested.
"I would like to be able to give people a feel for the reality because it`s not all fighting, it`s not all bombs and bullets.

"What we`re trying to do is draw everything together so that we can get messages of support to the men, as well as updates of what the battalion`s been doing back home," he was quoted as saying.

"I`m a pragmatist and most of my friends communicate with each other these days through Twitter, MySpace and Facebook. It was a very obvious thing to do."

He is in talks with the ministry of fefence about the content and the plan is to shortly go live with the battalion`s account.


London: International donors must commit to giving billions more dollars in aid to Africa to reduce poverty and help the continent face new challenges, a commission set up by Tony Blair urged on Monday.

There had been "extraordinary progress" in the past five years since the body first laid out a series of recommendations to promote development on the continent, said the Commission for Africa.

Growth rates had surged in many places, governance had improved and aid had increased, said the new report from the body set up in 2004 by the then prime minister Blair, which has 17 members including prominent African politicians.

But it warned the vast majority of Africans had not benefited from the success of recent years and new challenges, such as climate change and the economic crisis, meant poverty reduction was becoming increasingly difficult.

The Group of 20 advanced and developing nations -- the main economic forum for world leaders -- should take over responsibility for providing long-term aid to Africa, and this aid should be increased, urged the commission.

This was something previously carried out by the Group of Eight rich nations.

"The G20 should take on the G8`s previous role in making and monitoring commitments to supporting growth and development in Africa," concluded the report.

"The G20 should commit to increasing aid to Africa from 2010 onwards to a further USD 25 billion (EUR 20 billion, GBP 16 billion) per annum by 2015," it said.

The publication of the report comes ahead of a summit in New York from September 21-23 to review a set of ambitious development goals first set out at the Millennium summit in 2000.

The Commission for Africa said that, despite the progress of recent years, sub-Saharan Africa was not on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals.

It further warned: "Economic growth and trade have been damaged by the global economic crisis.

"Climate change and rising food prices will make poverty reduction more challenging in many parts of the continent."

The commission`s new report reviews how well the recommendations in their original 2005 report have been acted upon.

Commission members include Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa.

Bureau Report

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