Scandinavian Airlines takes over Estonian. Prince Philip mounts Mustache colors. Stefano to make Victoria’s wedding dinner. The new Swedish wave in Hollywood. Creating playgrounds for electrons. End of the story?
Scandinavian Airlines takes over Estonian.
SAS takes over the nation of Estonia's airline system. In Tallinn last week, the Estonian government's Economy Minister Juhan Parts said that they were ready to sell Estonia Air, a tiny part of the Nordic air traffic puzzle, to SAS (Scandinavian Airline System). Planning to hand over the keys to their aircraft to SAS in June or July, Parts added that SAS already holds a 49% stake in Estonian Air. Estonia's government owns 34% and the rest is held by Cresco, an Estonian investment company. To solve financial troubles, SAS has earlier dumped losing subsidiaries such as Spanair. Although small by comparison, Estonian Air, founded when the nation wrestled itself from Soviet control in 1991, serves 1.3 million people.
Prince Philip mounts Mustache colors.
Sweden's Prince Carl Philip lends his backing to the campaign against prostate cancer. Last week, Prince Carl Philip stepped into the role of official protector of the Mustache Fight - "Mustaschkampen" the annual campaign by the Swedish Cancer Fund to battle prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in Sweden, and it strikes about 9,000 Swedish men each year. The Mustache Fight expects to draw attention to this problem and, in doing so, raise money for research and to spread information about prostate cancer.
"It is fantastic that Prince Philip has volunteered and shows his concern in this way. Nearly 25 men a day are afflicted with prostrate cancer every day," says the Cancer Society's Secretary General, Ursula Tengelin. The mustaches that are used as a symbol during the campaign are intended to open channels by which difficulties discussing the subject are eased. Society experts note that males are frequently reluctant to casually speak about prostate cancer. The Mustache Fight will continue throughout May and encourage the people to learn more about this killer disease.
Stefano to make Victoria’s wedding dinner.
Meet Chef Stefano Catenacci, the chef who will make Victoria and Daniel’s wedding dinner. What an assignment! What pressure! “This will most probably be the high light of my entire career,” says Catenacci. He’s been asked so many times, he’s lost count: Everybody wants to know what he’s going to make and everybody gets the same answer: A sealed smile. The truth is that the exact meal has not been decided upon yet. The only thing that Catenacci can reveal is this: “Swedish produce will be used.” Catenacci also discloses that the Swedish King is partial to prunes and that the entire royal family is interested and knowledgeable when it comes to food and cooking. “The King often comes into the kitchen to sample dishes,” Catenacci says, his own wedding dinner five years ago, consisted of sushi and sashimi and lobster-filled ravioli. Preparing a wedding dinner for the Crown Princess isn’t as easy, however. There must be alternatives to the main menu, and not just a few alternatives but more like ten. There must be gluten-, nut-, and lactose-free alternatives for those with allergies. “But I am always cautious when it comes to butter and cream in my cooking,” says Catenacci. “I can go a long way with only virgin oil.”
Creating playgrounds for electrons.
Meet Professor Lars Samuelson, Director of the Nanometer Structure Consortium at Lund University. Samuelson has reached the absolute top through games in a world that’s measured in millionths of inches. According to the magazine Nanoletter, Professor Samuelson is the third most prolific author in Nanotechnology. “Nano Letters is one of the hottest magazines in the field and the others on the list are real heavyweights”, says Anneli Löfgren, research administrative director of the Nanometer Consortium. According to Anneli Löfgren, the ranking is also a proof that the environment and doctoral students are producing good articles as well as Lars Samuelson himself. Apart from Professor Samuelson and Cees Dekker (rank 11) there are only Americans on the list. “I’ve made a few wise choices in my ventures into innovating research,” says Samuelson as a clue to his success. Samuelson is an intense person, who likes to spice his speech with anecdotes and stories. As a kid he loved soccer so much he wanted to become a professional soccer player, a bad knee put a stopper on those dreams. Instead, Samuelson focused on music and was for a while more into rock-and blues music than his studies. That’s when physics entered his life and became his third and most important passion. Today the Nanometer Structure Consortium at Lund University has a staff of 150 persons, and they all work in interdisciplinary ways within a broad field that covers both quantum physics and biomedicine. Samuelson has developed a technique to create thin threads that in turn will create development possibilities within several areas of Nanotechnology. When others tried to make thin threads from the outside in using what is called the “top-down-method”, Samuelson managed to make the atoms themselves form thin strings using a method that’s built on a self-organization called “bottom-up”. He got unexpected help from a man in New York, whose company spent thousands of dollars investigating Samuelson and his team. That man represented the investment company Teknoinvest, which took on financing Samuelson’s discoveries. Samuelson today has five patents ready, all of which have helped established three electronic companies. “I focus at what I’m doing best,” Samuelson says. “There are others who are better than I when it comes to building companies.” In the laboratory, Samuelson sees himself as a playleader. “As a child I was often the one to come up with new games and plays, and I am just continuing that now. The games I am inventing now are all about exploring physics for the smallest Nano systems. Together with my colleagues I create playgrounds where we let electrons pass through labyrinths and tunnels.”
End of the story?
The secret problem in Princess Madeleine and her fiancé Jonas’ relationship could be another woman, and it was a Norwegian gossip magazine that first published the story. According to Tora Uppstrøm Berg, a young Norwegian girl, she and Jonas spent a passionate night together last year. What is probably a quite common problem among young people dating, takes on enormous proportions and might have severe consequences when it comes to royals. Although the royal court maintains that Madeleine and Jonas still very much is a couple, they do admit there’re problems and there are several questions to worry over. Are they intending to stay a couple? If not, is Madeleine going to attend her sister’s wedding in June alone? Or are they coming as a couple only to split up afterwards? Can Madeleine (and the royal family and the Swedish people) ever forgive Jonas this gaffe? Will they be able to work it out? The Swedish magazine Svensk Damtidning has already stated their belief, which is that this is a mistake that will cause the permanent break-up between Madeleine and Jonas. Meanwhile Tora, the alleged other woman, claims she had no idea that the man who introduced himself as “Jakob” was in reality Jonas, Princess Madeleine’s boyfriend. She decided to go public with her story in order for Madeleine to know the truth. “Madeleine deserves something better,” Tora said in an interview. The court has not commented on the story, and Jonas has only said: “We will comment. But as for now, please respect that I have nothing more to say.”
The new Swedish wave in Hollywood.
Recently Nordstjernan has covered a lot of Swedish film, and there’s no denying it: There’s a renewed interest in Swedish film today, and once again Sweden is exporting actors and directors to Hollywood just like in the good old days. Directors like Tomas Alfredson (“Let the Right One In”) and Daniel Espinosa (“Fast Cash”) and actors like Alexander Skarsgård, Tuva Novotny and Joel Kinnaman are hot. Says Pia Lundberg, Director of the International Department at the Swedish Film Institute: “American talent scouts are always courting us. They keep an eye on our actors and directors, even our technical behind-the-camera personnel. Sweden is in right now.” Sweden has had a good repute since the days of silent movies, and Ingmar Bergman is still very much in focus at all international film conferences, but Lundberg says that a few films and a few actors recently also broke the barrier, which in turn has created a domino effect. The “New Swedish Wave” was set in motion after Tomas Alfredson’s highly acclaimed vampire drama, “Let the Right One In” and continued with thriller blockbusters like the Millenium trilogy and “Fast Cash”. Hollywood is now busy making its own versions of all these films. And several Hollywood production companies are trying to make a film based on John Ajvide Lindqvist’s zombie novel “Hanteringen av odöda” (Handling the Undead), before it has even turned into a Swedish made film. Lindqvist is the author of the vampire novel “Let the Right One In”. “The remake market is much bigger internationally,” Lundberg continues. “What this tells us is that it’s an uncertain market that is suffering from the recession. Everyone would like to produce films that are proven to work. Earlier Americans just bought the rights to Swedish films and then it all sort of fizzled out, now it’s actually happening.”
But it’s not just the stories Hollywood is after, it’s also the directors and the actors. Daniel Espinosa (director of “Fast Cash”) is highly sought after, whereas Tomas Alfredson (“Let the Right One In”) left the project “The Danish Girl” to Lasse Hallström, so that he instead could focus on the screen version of John Le Carré’s novel “Mullvaden” (“Tinker, tailor, soldier, spy”). Swedish actor Alexander Skarsgård, who has played major parts in the HBO series “Generation Kill” and “True Blood” is now preparing for the filming of “Straw Dogs”. Alexander’s brother Gustaf has a lead in Peter Weir’s action drama “The Way Back” where Colin Farrell and Ed Harris also have parts. And Joel Kinnaman (who plays JW in “Fast Cash”) is also preparing for a career in America. He has moved to Los Angeles and is set to play the lead in a new TV series called “The Killing”. Actress Tuva Novotny will soon be seen with Julia Robert’s in the drama comedy “Eat, pray, love”, while Helena Mattson, who has previously been seen in series like “CSI”, has gotten a part in “Desperate Housewives” and the upcoming film “Iron Man 2”. Says Jenny Planthaber at the agency Agentfirman, which represents many of the hottest Swedish talent internationally: “Noomi Rapace (Lisbeth Salander in the Millenium films) is also getting a lot of proposals from Hollywood, as well as Europe. We have daily contact with the US.” There is also of course already an established group of Swedish talent in Hollywood, most notably directors Lasse Hallström and Mikael Håfström, and actors like Max von Sydow, Stellan Skarsgård, and Peter Stormare. But the new generation of Swedes are getting different parts, often playing heroes, unlike in the earlier days when they often got stuck playing the bad guys. Still, there are more men than women who are exported. Helena Lindblad, film editor at Dagens Nyheter, believes that has to do with the Hollywood ideals. “Hollywood might not be interesting for highly qualified Swedish actresses, who must subject themselves to severe beauty ideals in order to compete with American actresses,” she says.