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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Cambodia hosts large scale peacekeeping drill

KAMPONG SPEU, Cambodia -Cambodia opened its first ever large-scale international peacekeeping training exercise with a ceremony Saturday at a military base south of the capital

Over 700 military personnel from 23 countries will participate in two weeks of field training during the "Angkor Sentinel" exercise, focusing on developing nations' contributions to UN peacekeeping operations.

"From a country that used to receive blue hat soldiers to help keep peace, Cambodia has become a country that sends blue hat soldiers to help keep peace in other nations," Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said, referring to UN troop uniforms.

Cambodia was the focus of a UN peacekeeping mission in the early 1990s to help end decades of civil war, but has recently deployed troops to work as UN peacekeepers in Chad, Sudan and the Central African Republic.

But the exercise, co-sponsored by the US Army, has been criticised by New York-based Human Rights Watch for using the grounds of the Cambodian military's ACO Tank Unit, which has been accused of being involved in illegal landgrabs.

"For the Pentagon and State Department to permit abusive Cambodian military units to host a high-profile regional peacekeeping exercise is outrageous," said Phil Robertson, Human Rights Watch deputy Asia director, in a statement.

"The US undermines its protests against the Cambodian government for rampant rights abuses like forced evictions when it showers international attention and funds on military units involved in grabbing land and other human rights violations," he added.

The "Angkor Sentinel" is part of the 2010 Global Peace Operations Initiative, a US effort to help train peacekeepers around the world.

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Mobile banking service launches in Cambodia

ACLEDA Bank operates the largest bank branch network in Cambodia. The bank has just announced that it has launched mobile banking services for retail consumer. The service is called "Unity". It provides mobile subscribers with the ability to view account balances, obtain a mini-statement, transfer between their accounts, make payments to other people, make bill payments and top-up their mobile phones.

ACLEDA Bank Plcannounced today the release to the general public of its new ’Unity’mobile phone banking service. A virtual ‘bank in your pocket’ – itprovides a convenient and secure way to manage all daily banking transactionsany day, anytime, anywhere. It communicates in both the English and Khmerlanguages and handles transactions in Khmer Riels, US Dollars and Thai Baht,with other currencies to follow.

“Our aim is to offer access to financial services to thewhole community”, said Mr. In Channy, ACLEDA’s President and CEO. “Unity workswith all mobile phone networks and a very wide range of mobile handsets. It ‘unites’a whole selection of financial services under one umbrella that simplifies day-to-daybanking through mobile phones anywhere in the country. For those customers whohave global roaming it will even work throughout the world”, he stated.

Operatingon a 24/7 basis, with high-level multilayer security features, the bank claimsthat Unity gives customers the choice of using text message (SMS), Mobile Browser/WAP or a dedicated downloadableapplication interface, according to which best suits their needs. They can view their account balances,obtain a mini-statement, transfer between their accounts, make payments toother people, make bill payments (pay their utility bills and other accounts)and top-up their mobile phones. Other services will be added in the future ascustomers demand.

"As a fast-growing bank in a rapidly developing economy, we arelooking for a complete integrated mobile banking and payment solution. We wantto make sure that our mobile services are universally available to ourcustomers, are safe for them to use and deliver the dependability andreliability that ACLEDA is known for" said Mr. In Channy, President &CEO of ACLEDA Bank Plc. "We will be leapfrogging overtraditional delivery channels to provide our customers with the latest bankingtechnology.".

About ACLEDA Bank Plc.

ACLEDA Bank currently is the Cambodian leadingbank with the largest branches and offices network. It's over 17 years presencein domestic financial services. As at the end of June 2010, the value of theloan portfolio has reached US$615 million with 258,064 borrowing customers. Thetotal savings and deposits was US$793 million with 670,383 accounts. Its totalassets have exceeded US$1 billion and employed 7,105staffs.

TheBank offers a wide range of banking products and financial services tocorporate and retail customers through a variety of delivery channels. ACLEDAis a leading player in the retail banking market and services its largecustomer base through a network of 233 offices. With 100 ATMs serve 24/7 and 24 hours call center to ensure that customershave access to its services at all times.

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