Alina Selyukh

Alina Selyukh is a business correspondent at NPR, where she follows the path of the retail and tech industries, tracking how America's biggest companies are influencing the way we spend our time, money, and energy.

Before joining NPR in October 2015, Selyukh spent five years at Reuters, where she covered tech, telecom and cybersecurity policy, campaign finance during the 2012 election cycle, health care policy and the Food and Drug Administration, and a bit of financial markets and IPOs.

Selyukh began her career in journalism at age 13, freelancing for a local television station and several newspapers in her home town of Samara in Russia. She has since reported for CNN in Moscow, ABC News in Nebraska, and NationalJournal.com in Washington, D.C. At her alma mater, Selyukh also helped in the production of a documentary for NET Television, Nebraska's PBS station.

She received a bachelor's degree in broadcasting, news-editorial and political science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

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For years, a record number of Chinese tourists have flocked to U.S. attractions like Hollywood, Capitol Hill and the Grand Canyon. But their numbers are now falling.

The strong dollar has made U.S. travel more expensive and tourism to the U.S. has matured — just as trade and political tensions have grown between the countries.

In Hawaii, the number of Chinese visitors dropped by a quarter in April and by more than 23% through the first four months of 2019, compared to the same time last year, according to the islands' tourism office.

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It was a daunting task. Amid a major renovation, Jani Mussetter needed a lot of appliances: a washer, dryer, refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher and stove. As she visited showrooms in January, a stressful thing kept coming up: warnings of a price increase on Feb. 1.

For Mussetter, who was shopping for higher-end appliances, that potentially meant paying hundreds of dollars more. And why? "They said, because of all the tariffs," the San Francisco resident says.

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Amazon says it's closing more than 80 of its pop-up stores where it lets customers try out and buy its devices offline. But Amazon is hardly giving up on its brick-and-mortar ambitions, as NPR's Alina Selyukh reports.

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Support is pouring in from around the country for workers with disabilities who are worried about losing their jobs as greeters for Walmart. The company is removing greeters from stores around the country. Walmart says about a thousand stores have already eliminated the position and another thousand are doing it now. Last night, NPR's Alina Selyukh was the first to report on this national move by Walmart. She's been gathering reaction today and is in the studio with us now.

Hi, Alina.

ALINA SELYUKH, BYLINE: Hello.

Editor's Note: If you're a Walmart greeter — or know someone who is — and would like to share your story with NPR, please reach out to us at tech@npr.org.

If you ask John Combs what his biggest worry is, he'll say: "How will I feed Red?"

Red is actually white. He's a labradoodle rescue, just tall enough for Combs to pet if he reaches over the armrest of his wheelchair. Combs, 42, has cerebral palsy. He has difficulty speaking. But he has no difficulty saying the line most Americans have heard at least once: "Welcome to Walmart!"

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And now a look at the year in big tech in this week's All Tech Considered.

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By the time someone clicks "buy" on Amazon, Jenny Freshwater's team has probably expected it.

Freshwater is a software director in Amazon's Supply Chain Optimization Technologies group. Her team forecasts demand for everything sold by Amazon worldwide.

This task, into which NPR got exclusive insight, underlies the entire Amazon retail operation. And it's central to Amazon's wooing of some 100 million people who shell out up to $119 a year for a Prime subscription, which guarantees two-day shipping.

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Sears has filed for bankruptcy. The company, which also owns Kmart, hopes to keep the lights on through the holidays and reorganize. It's a new low for a retailer that shaped the country's shopping culture. NPR's Alina Selyukh has this look back.

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Google has warned some senators and Senate aides that their personal Google accounts have been targets of attempted hacks backed by foreign governments, the company confirmed on Thursday.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., wrote to Senate leaders on Wednesday that his office has discovered a number of senators and Senate staff members were warned by a major technology company "that their personal email accounts were targeted by foreign government hackers."

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Time now for ALL TECH CONSIDERED.

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Updated at 9:45 p.m. ET

Facebook has taken down 652 accounts, pages and groups that originated in Iran. The accounts were used for political disinformation and targeted at users in the Middle East, Latin America, the UK and the U.S., according to Facebook.

The Trump administration has imposed tariffs on hundreds of products from many countries. We're at the beginning of what seems like an escalating trade war, with China, Canada, Mexico and the European Union already retaliating with their own tariffs.

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When you follow retail, there are a few things you hear about a lot, and one of them is returns, because processing them costs stores a lot of money.

"Well over 10 to 11 percent of goods get returned," says Larisa Summers. "In some categories 20 to 30 percent of goods get returned."

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The man who built Starbucks into a worldwide empire is finally parting ways with his company. Howard Schultz is retiring, stepping down as the executive chairman of Starbucks. This means a new wave of speculation has started that he may be looking to get into politics.

When it comes to the Olympic-style bidding for Amazon's second headquarters, the nation's capital and its neighbors could have joined together in a united front.

Instead, the District of Columbia and the suburbs of Maryland and Virginia decided to compete against each other.

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