Indian doctor couple among winners

An Indian couple providing medical care and education to tribal people, a Philippine governor crippled by polio and an unconventional Japanese publisher are among winners of this year's Magsaysay awards, its foundation announced on Thursday.

The Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation named Prakash and Mandakini Amte for the community leadership award. The couple, both medical doctors, run a hospital and school for the Madia Gond tribals in a remote part of central India.

The awards, seen as Asia's equivalent of the Nobel prize, also honoured Ahmad Syafii Maarif, the head of Indonesia's powerful Muhammadiyah group, Thai prosthetic limb manufacturer Therdchai Jivacate and Sri Lankan social worker Ananda Galappatti.

Grace Padaca, governor of the Philippine province of Isabela, received the award for government service. Crippled by childhood polio, she defeated a powerful political dynasty in the 2004 elections and was re-elected last year.

Akio Ishii received the award for journalism, literature and creative communication arts, the foundation said. Ishii is the head of publishing house Akashi Shoten, which has about 2,800 books in print that place discrimination, human rights and other difficult subjects in Japan's public domain, the foundation said.

The award for public service was given to the Centre for Agriculture and Rural Development Mutually Reinforcing Institutions, of the Philippines.

The awards, named for a popular Philippine president killed in a plane crash, were set up in 1957 by the trustees of the New York-based Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

More than 250 people and 17 groups, including the U.S. Peace Corps and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, have been recognized by the foundation since the first awards in 1958.


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