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GDP growth at 2.3 percent in 2016, 8.4 percent of wealth taken by foreign owners

Czech economic growth in 2016 came in at 2.3 percent, the Czech Statistical Office confirmed on Friday. Growth in the last quarter of the year was 1.9 percent. The office said that average household income rose by a real 3.1 percent in the year with spending by households up 2.7 percent. The amount of income taken by foreign companies as a result of the ownership of Czech firms came to 8.4 percent of GDP in 2016.

Penta bets on 100 percent control of Fortuna

The Penta investment group has made a bid to buy out minority shareholders in the Fortuna betting company. Penta owns around 68 percent of the company but some of the outstanding shares are traded on Prague and Warsaw stock exchanges. Penta explains the move saying that it wants to be a long term investor in the betting company. Česká Spořitelna is managing the buy out and is offering 98.69 crowns per share although Fortuna shares were recently trading higher at 108 crowns a share.

Pioneering surgeon Vladimír Kočanderle dies

Pioneering Czech and international surgeon Vladimír Kočanderle has died at the age of 83. Kočanderle led the team I 1984 that carried out the first successful heart transplant in the then Czechoslovakia. Some of the preparation for that were made in the United States, including at the prestigious Stanford University. He also pioneered kidney and pancreas transplants. Kočanderle was for seven years the head of the Prague’s Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine (IKEM) until the early 1990s. A member of the ruling Communist party, Kočanderle said that his pioneering work would not have been possible without link to top party members.

Icelandic director Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson wins Febiofest main award

The winner of the Prague Febiofest Grand Prix award is Icelandic writer and director Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson for his film Heartstone. The 35-year-old director has said the Danish-Icelandic co-production is partly based on his own experience growing up in an isolated Icelandic fishing village. The film has already won prizes at Chicago, Solun, and Warsaw festivals. A special award is to be given to Serbian film director and musician Emir Kusturica for his lifetime contribution to cinema.

Czechs arrested over sophisticated hashish smuggling ring to Greenland

Police have broken up an international gang that used Czechs to smuggle hashish between Denmark and Greenland. Two Czechs were caught red-handed in a police swoop in Greenland and found in possession of one kilogram of the drug. They have been deported back to the Czech Republic. Another five Czechs have been arrested in their homeland. Police carried out long term surveillance of the sophisticated smuggling operation that profited from the high price of the drug in Greenland. The ringleader was a US citizen living in Denmark but a Czech was highly placed in the logistics of the operation. Some drugs were also shipped to the Czech Republic for sale, mostly in the South Moravia region.

People have last chance to exchange 50-crown banknote

Friday is the last day people can exchange the 50-crown banknote, featuring Saint Agnes of Bohemia, for the copper and zinc coin of the same denomination. The banknote had been gradually withdrawn from circulation and ceased to be legal tender as of April 2011 on account of the coin’s greater durability. According to the Czech National Bank, people still have around 11.6 million banknotes with a value reaching 581 million crowns. People can exchange the notes for free by Friday evening at the branches of the Czech National bank across the country.

Tennis: Czechs knocked out of Miami open tournament

In tennis, Czech second seed Karolína Plíšková failed to reach the finals of the Miami Open tournament after she was defeated by former world number one Caroline Wozniacki 5-7, 6-1, 6-1. In men’s singles quarter-finals, Tomáš Berdych lost to Roger Federer 6-2 3-6 7-6. Berdych served for the match at 6-4 in the tiebreak, but Federer reeled off four points in a row, winning when Berdych double-faulted.


The weather on Saturday will be sunny across the country, with clouds only in the far west. Top daytime temperatures will range between 20 and 23 degrees Celsius.