5 things to know Thursday

Financial world awaits key report on inflation

Wall Street will be watching closely Thursday as the Labor Department releases its report on inflation for January. Economists are forecasting the report to show inflation rose to a four-decade high of 7.3%, the Associated Press reported. If prices continue their upward surge, it could increase pressure on the Federal Reserve to speed up its plans to raise interest rates in order to fight inflation. But if the Fed is forced to raise rates too quickly, it could cause a recession, which in turn could result in higher unemployment. Economists expect overall inflation to ease in coming months as gasoline and other energy prices continue to pull back. But core inflation – which excludes food and energy – is expected to drift higher before edging down. 

German chancellor to meet Baltic leaders before traveling to Russia, Ukraine

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is due to receive on Thursday the leaders of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, the three Baltic states that specifically feel the heat from Moscow, before traveling to Ukraine and Russia next week. It comes as Germany, which has led a NATO battlegroup in Lithuania for the past five years, will reportedly send up to 350 more troops there, reinforcing its presence on NATO’s eastern flank. Elsewhere, a few dozen elite U.S. troops and equipment were seen landing Sunday in Poland near the border with Ukraine, following Biden’s orders to deploy 1,700 soldiers there amid fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.  

Team USA shines early Thursday at the Winter Olympics in Beijing

Thursday has already been an action-packed day at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Team USA superstars Chloe Kim and Nathan Chen won gold medals in impressive fashion: Kim, 21, became the first woman in Olympic history to win more than one halfpipe snowboarding gold medal. And Chen, who has been the world’s most dominant male figure skater for nearly four years, became the seventh American to win the men’s individual competition. Meanwhile, a cloud hangs over the Russian team as the medal ceremony for the Olympic figure skating team competition was delayed by a positive drug test among the gold medal-winners. Kamila Valieva, the 15-year-old superstar who was expected to win the gold medal in women’s figure skating, practiced as usual Thursday, hours after reports that she tested positive for a banned substance. Fans will also get chances Thursday to see a series of ice hockey games, curling matches and two men’s snowboard finals, the halfpipe and the snowboard cross.

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