Pravasi Corner 
Avtar Dhillon gets $1 mn defence contract
The US defence department has awarded a $1 million contract to a firm run by an Indian American to develop vaccines against potential bio-terrorism agents.
Avtar Dhillon heads San Diego-based Inovio Biomedical Corporation, a publicly traded company.
The contract is for developing gene delivery electroporation technology for application to vaccination against infectious diseases including potential bio-terrorism agents, the company said.
NRI writer invited to Canadian literary fest
Indo-Canadian writer Jay Gajjar was invited to the ‘The Word on the Street’ annual literary festival in this Canadian city to read a chapter from his recently published Gujarati novel Timirna Tej (The Light in the Darkness). Gajjar is a resident of Mississauga and a prominent Gujarati storywriter and novelist. More than 200,000 book lovers are likely to descend on Queen’s Park Crescent for the September 25 festival. Gajjar, who came to Canada in 1970, has penned about 300 short stories.
NRI doctor among 10 outstanding young Americans
Indian American doctor Vikram Sheel Kumar will join the ranks of former US President Bill Clinton, entrepreneur Henry Ford and rock legend Elvis Presley as a recipient of the “Ten Outstanding Young Americans (TOYA)” award.
Twenty-nine-year-old Vikram, who is an alumnus of Modern School and the Indian Institute of Technology in New Delhi, and the Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, will be the first Indian American to receive the award.
Millionaire who once washed dishes buys dying town
US-based NRI Krishnan Suthanthiran, 56, who has created waves by buying a town in Canada was once so poor he washed dishes to survive. Suthanthiran does not tire of talking about his journey and his acquisition of Kitsault for $5.7 million. Why did he buy a town abandoned by miners’ families over 22 years ago? “It’s almost a crime to see the community die out,” he says. He has also bought a TV company to make sure the tourism plan gets in-your-face publicity. And he is making sure he brings in the native Indian Nisga’a tribe to join his scheme.