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Philippine police have filed murder charges against the owner and crew of a passenger ferry that capsized killing 59 people, an official said Saturday. The charges were filed late on Friday in the central city of Ormoc over the sinking of the Kim Nirvana ship, according to regional police chief Asher Dolina. An initial police investigation and interviews with survivors indicated the vessel abruptly turned in waters off the central port of Ormoc on Thursday, causing it to capsize, Dolina told AFP.
Japan on Saturday pledged $6.1 billion in financial aid to the "Mekong Five" countries as it pushes infrastructure exports and courts influence in a region where rival China has an increasing presence. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe unveiled the pledge at a summit with his counterparts from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam -- fast-growing economies through which the lower section of the Mekong river flows. "Japan will implement support worth around 750 billion yen ($6.1 billion) in official development assistance for the next three years," Abe told a news conference following the seventh annual Japan-Mekong summit.