Oscar nominated Swede.
Patrik Eklund's film “Istället för abracadabra” (“Instead of Abracadabra”) has been Oscar nominated in the “Best live action short film” category. “Instead of Abracadabra” picked up the 2008 Startsladden prize and was nominated for a Swedish Guldbagge award. The film was also in competition at last year's Sundance Festival to wide critical acclaim. “It’s unbelievable,” says Patrik Eklund about the Oscar nod. “I feel warm all over, and that must be a good sign. I am surprised but very happy.” Another Swede can be found among the nominees, and that is Paul Ottoson, who has lived and worked in the US for over 20 years. Ottoson is nominated in two categories: “Best sound mixing” and “Best sound design” for his work on the film “The Hurt Locker” by Kathryn Bigelow. That film is also nominated in the category “Best picture”. The Oscars will take place on March 7. www.oscar.go.com

Carola to Haiti.
For Swedish singer Carola the earthquake in Haiti touched something personal as she has sponsored several children there throughout the years. As an 18-year old she sponsored the then 4-year old girl Cececuinne, and she visited Haiti two years later to see with her own eyes the suffering. Since then, Carola is also sponsoring a boy named Eden Dorelus. Today Cececuinne is no longer a child, but a 29-year old woman, but when the earthquake happened, Carola worried much whether she and Eden had survived. “I had to wait a long time before I found out, and it was immediate relief. I wanted to hug them.” Carola has now returned to Haiti, to witness for herself the destruction that has taken place and what needs to be done in order to help rebuild everything. She has done so through an organization called Hoppets Stjärna (Star of Hope). “My goal is to inform everyone in Scandinavia about the needs in Haiti in a personal way, and to show them that the help we give really reaches Haiti, there aren’t any middle men,” says Carola. “I also visit to become a better hostess for “Hopp för Haiti” (Hope for Haiti), a concert that will be held on February 25 in Filadelfiakyrkan in Stockholm. But first of all I want to meet Cececuinne and Eden.” Expressen followed Carola to Haiti and captured the moment when she met Eden, for the very first time. He stood under a tree, eagerly waiting for her. “Is that you Eden?” said Carola. “Wow, you’ve grown!” Eden was a bit shy in front of all the cameras, he had no idea that Carola is a famous artist in Sweden. And he explained she isn’t quite what he had expected. “I thought she’d be old, but she looks really young,” he said. “Tomorrow I will come to visit you at home and we will talk more and I will give you a present,” Carola says. The gift, a perfume, is something that Carola’s son Amadeus picked out for Eden. www.hoppetsstjarna.se

Paul sues Anna.
What is going on with troubled love birds Paul and Anna Anka? Well, we wondered too. Paul Anka has stepped up his bitter divorce battle with estranged wife Anna - he's suing her for defamation in a dispute over their prenuptial agreement. Anka filed for divorce in December following a heated argument outside their California home over the dismissal of a family maid. The star has now filed suit against Anna, claiming she implied to reporters that he had forged her signature on their prenup after previously proclaiming not to have signed a financial deal prior to their 2008 wedding. Anka goes on to allege she only married him to boost her own profile in a bid to "get herself a television show". Anna later appeared on reality show “Swedish Hollywood Wives”. She reportedly defamed the singer/songwriter while promoting the TV program. Anka is suing for libel and slander, alleging his estranged wife "deliberately and maliciously spread false and defamatory statements regarding Paul to the Swedish press... damaging his good reputation". The singer also blasts Anna for her reportedly violent behavior, highlighting an incident that occurred months after they wed, when she allegedly threw a piece of ice at Anka's head after banning him from kissing their son Ethan goodnight. Anka says he is seeking "justice for a pattern of emotional violence and abuse by Anna, including a battery she committed against Paul on November 28, 2008". Anna was arrested for felony domestic battery after the alleged assault, but the charges were subsequently dropped.

Cutest snowman in town.
Skåne, the southern part of Sweden, has been hit with what can only be called “snow chaos” lately. Not much fun, but it has lead to some amazing creativity. On Lokföraregatan in Lund, for instance, sits an intricate snow Buddha, fat and smiley, holding on to a string of prayer beads. The Buddha has gotten a lot of attention and it was made by Ulrika Nilsson, who carved him out early one Monday morning with a Mora knife after a sketch she had done. “There aren’t enough snowmen in Lund,” Ulrika explained. “I live next to a daycare center but I haven’t seen a single snowman. So I had to make one.”