Alina Selyukh | WGLT

Alina Selyukh

Alina Selyukh is a business reporter 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.

My father parks the car and gestures toward the ground-level window of a squat red-brick apartment building, pocked with jutted-out balconies.

"This was my room," he says. "Mom would send me off to do homework, but I'd go quietly to the window — hop! — and off to the stadium."

As in: a few leaps to cross the street, jump the fence and there you are.

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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."

On a cold December night last year, a meeting was called in the lobby of my apartment building. Concerned residents gathered to discuss a matter of great import: what to do about the swarms of packages jamming the lobby closet and overflowing into the entryway.

Unclaimed boxes were an eyesore and a nuisance. Finding the right package was starting to require gymnastic ability. And the boxes kept coming, by the dozens, maybe hundreds. Most of them were from Amazon: brown, with a smile on the side.

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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.

From the company that brought you the option of letting a courier inside your home comes a new service: package delivery inside your car.

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A federal grand jury in Arizona has indicted seven people behind the classified-ads website Backpage.com on 93 counts, including charges of facilitating prostitution and money laundering.

The defendants include founders Michael Lacey, 69, and James Larkin, 68, as well as other shareholders and employees. The indictment accuses the executives of presenting Backpage as a site to advertise escort services while knowing that "the overwhelming majority of the website's ads involve prostitution." The indictment says the site made over $500 million in "prostitution-related revenue."

President Trump has argued in recent days that the U.S. Postal Service has lost a fortune delivering Amazon packages at a discount.

However, some of the agency's problems might lie with the president. The top planning and oversight board at the Postal Service has been unable to meet and consider matters such as the agency's long-term relationship with Amazon, because the president has failed to appoint any of the nine governors to the 11-member Board of Governors of the U.S. Postal Service.

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Updated at 5:17 p.m. ET

It's 1995, and Chris Cox is on a plane reading a newspaper. One article about a recent court decision catches his eye. This moment, in a way, ends up changing his life — and, to this day, it continues to change ours.

The case that caught the congressman's attention involved some posts on a bulletin board — the early-Internet precursor to today's social media. The ruling led to a new law, co-authored by Cox and often called simply "Section 230."

There's a big movement among major retail companies to become more than just places that sell you things. In the latest example, Walmart is partnering with a home-services app called Handy to give shoppers a deal on professional help assembling furniture or installing a TV.

Updated at 7:10 p.m. ET

After decades of being the go-to toy store for many Americans, Toys R Us is officially going out of business. Unable to get its finances in order through a months-long bankruptcy process, the retail chain has reached the end of the line.

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The Federal Communications Commission is working toward officially taking current net neutrality rules off the books. The agency took the requisite formal step of publishing the rules on Thursday, opening the door for lawsuits from a number of state attorneys general and advocacy groups.

If you've never seen it, a Tide Pod looks like a little rounded packet, white with two separate swirls of blue and orange liquid.

To be clear, a Tide Pod is laundry detergent heavily concentrated into a single packet, meant to dissolve in water and clean a single load of laundry. But these days, it's a dare — an Internet meme, in which teenagers try to eat Tide Pods as a "challenge."

The wheels of a tall, metal cart squeak as Chris Beatty, 26, pulls it through a maze of aisles inside a cosmetics warehouse in Burlington, N.J.

A hand-held scanner helps Beatty find specific items, such as face cream or lipstick — to be sorted, packed and shipped to online customers. In his industry, this is called picking.

Asked if a robot could do his job, Beatty responds with a long pause. "That's a tough one," he says eventually, "but I don't think a robot could do this."

The chart on the screen looks like something out of a TV crime drama: an elaborate web of emails and phone numbers, some names and photos, all connected by a mesh of thin lines.

The man standing in front of the maze is an investigator. But if you met him at a bar, he'd probably tell you he's a software engineer. That's because his work is sensitive — but also, because he works for a tech company in Silicon Valley.

Updated at 3:27 p.m. ET

After a brief security evacuation, U.S. telecom regulators have voted to repeal so-called net neutrality rules, which restrict the power of Internet service providers to influence loading speeds for specific websites or apps.

After weeks of heated controversy and protests, the Republican majority of the Federal Communications Commission voted along party lines on Thursday to loosen Obama-era regulations for Internet providers.

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The way Brenda Bracey tells the story, it's just short of a miracle.

"Twenty-three years," she says. "This is the first Thanksgiving in 23 years that I have not worked at least an eight-hour shift."

For almost a quarter-century, Bracey has been working at grocery stores in the town of Largo, on Florida's west coast. She's done all different jobs, she says, her voice bubbly over the phone line.

The Trump Organization is severing ties with the controversial Trump SoHo building in New York City.

The development, which is a hybrid hotel-condominium building where owners of units can only live in their properties for a certain amount of time each year, has the potential to be a thorn in the side of President Trump — linking him to murky financing arrangements, allegations of fraud and a Russian-born developer with a criminal past.

Federal regulators are on track to loosen regulations of cable and telecom companies.

The Federal Communications Commission will vote Dec. 14 on a plan to undo the landmark 2015 rules that had placed Internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon under the strictest-ever regulatory oversight.

The vote is expected to repeal so-called net neutrality rules, which prevent broadband companies from slowing down or blocking any sites or apps, or otherwise deciding what content gets to users faster.

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The Department of Justice is suing to block AT&T's purchase of Time Warner, legally challenging a $85 billion deal that would give the telecom giant control of a media empire including CNN, Warner Brothers, HBO, and other major media brands.

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