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Flights to Ukraine are being canceled

Flights over Ukraine are being canceled as a possible Russian invasion looms

Airplanes are shown parked at an airport.
This story was published on our Quartz Daily Brief newsletter, The concise, conversational rundown you need to start your day.
  • Morgan Haefner
By Morgan Haefner

Deputy email editor

Published

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Here’s what you need to know

Flights flying over or to Ukraine are being canceled and diverted. As worries of a possible Russian invasion escalate, airlines like KLM are temporarily suspending flights to Ukraine.

Covid is overwhelming Hong Kong’s health system. China has stepped in to help the region fight an omicron-fueled surge, which is also disrupting food supplies.

Regulators fined the National Stock Exchange in India. Leaders, including the NSE’s former CEO, have been accused of allowing a yogi to guide their decisions for 20 years.

Protestors were cleared from a key trade connection between Canada and the US. One projection found that Michigan auto workers may have lost $51 million in wages during the week-long block.

The US is reopening its Solomon Island embassy. China’s growing influence over the Pacific Islands led to the decision.

US athlete Erin Jackson made Olympic history. She’s the first Black woman to win gold in speed skating.

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What to watch for

American consumers are set to spend close to $24 billion on Valentine’s Day gifts this year, a 9.6% increase from last year, according to the National Retail Federation.

Most people plan to buy V-day classics like chocolate, cards, and flowers. But they’ll be spending more thanks in part to inflation. US prices have risen 7.5% in the last year.

A line graph showing valentines day spending by us consumers.

Experiential gifts like theater or concert tickets are also gaining popularity as people return to activities that were stymied by pandemic restrictions last year. The NRF expects Americans to spend $4.3 billion on “evening out” experiences, and restaurant reservation site OpenTable reported a 30% increase in reservations for Feb. 14 compared to last year.

Overall, the average US consumer is expected to spend $175.41 on gifts, up from $164.76 last year. While roses are traditional, orchid sales are booming in the US.

Hot for inflation

Americans aren’t just spending more on gifts. The US’s January inflation report shows that the economy has ironed out some pandemic disruptions—but is still very much mired in others.

For example, prices for rental cars, which skyrocketed in the spring and summer of 2021 as newly vaccinated consumers started to travel and cars got more expensive with semiconductor shortages, dropped by 7% in January after falling 2.7% a month before.

A chart showing how much prices for common goods in the US has changed since January 2020. Used vehicles and car and truck rentals have seen some of the steepest increases.

But some goods haven’t been so lucky. If you want to look spiffy for your Valentine, be prepared to spend a little bit more on the garb. Men’s suits are 13.6% more expensive than a year ago.

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