LOS ANGELES – A judge offered Lindsay Lohan something Wednesday that she hadn’t heard from a court in nearly two years: praise.

Superior Court Judge Stephanie Sautner said the actress was doing well under strict new terms of her probation and urged her to keep up the good work.

The starlet has completed 12 days at the county morgue and five therapy sessions since Nov. 2, when she was sentenced to a strict routine of community service and counseling after her latest probation violation.

“You’re doing well, and I’d like to see it continue,” Sautner said.

She also offered Lohan an incentive to succeed, saying the actress could take leisure trips outside California after she completes a dozen days of morgue work a month.

The actress had permission from her probation officer to take a trip to Hawaii to celebrate her sister’s birthday. She returned just hours before the hearing.

Lohan, 25, has drawn the repeated ire of judges for failing to complete counseling sessions and community service assignments on time. Sautner made clear Wednesday that she believes Lohan’s new schedule — which requires the model and actress to appear in court monthly until March — is the reason for the turnaround.

The judge even hinted that Lohan might end her supervised probation early if she works harder.

“Do more days a month and we can end this in February, possibly,” Sautner said.

The judge said Lohan should keep reporting to court in person to make sure she remains on track.

“I think she likes to come see me,” Sautner joked. “I think that’s her motivation.”

Lohan appeared in court wearing brown slacks and a beige cardigan and found a smaller crowd of reporters than has chronicled the actress’ court scoldings since she missed a hearing in May 2010.

The last time she appeared in court without a probation compliance issue on the agenda was February 2010.

Judges repeatedly sent her to jail and rehab since then, and Sautner said last month she was giving Lohan one final chance to end the court spectacle.

Bruni-Sarkozy appears without baby

PARIS – French first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy has made her first public appearance since giving birth to a little girl in October.

Bruni-Sarkozy handed out presents to children at the traditional Christmas celebration at the Elysee presidential palace. The first lady did not have baby Giulia with her Wednesday.

Born Oct. 19, Giulia Sarkozy is the first baby born to a sitting French president.

Bruni-Sarkozy and her husband, President Nicolas Sarkozy, have remained coy about the baby. Though gossip magazines splashed photos of Bruni-Sarkozy leaving the clinic with the baby on their covers, the first couple has yet to release an official photo of their daughter.

Jackson’s daughter gets film role

LOS ANGELES – Michael Jackson’s daughter says she was inspired to be an actress after seeing her father in the film “Moonwalker.”

“My dad was in the movie ‘Moonwalker’ and I knew he could sing really well, but I didn’t know he could act,” Paris Jackson told talk show host Ellen DeGeneres. “I saw that and I said, ‘Wow, I want to be just like him.'”

The film featuring Jackson’s signature dance move and other videos was released in 1988.

Paris said her father encouraged her and did improvisation sessions to develop her skills. The 13-year-old has been cast alongside Larry King in a film based on a new children’s book, “Lundon’s Bridge and the Three Keys,” which is in early stages of development.

The Internet Movie Database shows the film is tentatively scheduled for a 2013 release, although filmmakers have not presented the teen’s proposed acting contract to a Los Angeles court as required because she is a minor.