Alina Selyukh | WYPR

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.

It's a case of animal versus vegetable — and the steaks are high.

A growing number of states have been passing laws saying that only foods made of animal flesh should be allowed to carry labels like "meat," "sausage," "jerky," "burger" or "hot dog."

Updated at 3:07 p.m. ET

Does Amazon hurt competition by exploiting data from other sellers in its marketplace? The European Union has opened a formal antitrust investigation into the giant online retailer to answer that question.

Automation is already here. Robots helped build your car and pack your latest online shopping order. A chatbot might help you figure out your credit card balance. A computer program might scan and process your résumé when you apply for work.

What will work in America look like a decade from now? A team of economists at the McKinsey Global Institute set out to figure it out in a new report out Thursday.

Updated at 11:04 a.m. ET

For Douglas Clark, the darkest part of working for Nike in the 1980s was watching American shoe manufacturing "evaporate" in the Northeast in a mass exodus to Asia in pursuit of cheaper labor.

"As a true Yankee — and my father was a Colonial historian — you know, it was heartbreaking," he said.

Updated at 5:36 p.m. ET

Target's cash registers are functioning again after stores nationwide were hobbled by a computer crash.

"After an initial but thorough review, we can confirm that this was not a data breach or security-related issue, and no guest information was compromised at any time," Target announced. "We appreciate all of our store team members who worked quickly to assist guests and thank everyone involved for their patience."

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.

At 6:30 a.m., four of five Gordon family members are roaming around their suburban Sacramento house — if you count only the humans. There are also four dogs, a bunny, a tortoise, chickens, ducks, goats and a not-so-miniature miniature pig named Squiggy.

Hilary Gordon is discussing the day's schedule with her husband in the middle of wrapping a breakfast sandwich for their 14-year-old, checking on cereal for their 17-year-old and staring down their 11-year-old, who just realized he forgot to finish today's math homework.

One weekend in February, Justin Kelley, 33, made the biggest financial commitment of his life: He paid a friend to start custom-building an airboat. He had dreamed of owning one since an early age.

"That's my level playing ground. It's my freedom," Kelley says. Onshore, he uses a walker to get around and a wheelchair at work, because he has cerebral palsy. But on an airboat on a Florida lake? "To me it's the one place that, when I'm in that seat, you don't see that walker. You don't see the chair. ... It's my escape. It's my happy place."

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.

Updated at 4: 25 p.m. ET

A bill to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour has cleared a legislative hurdle that sets it up for a vote by the House of Representatives in the coming weeks.

This move in Congress is a sign of broader political momentum for the minimum wage issue, long embraced by progressives who were key to the Democrats taking control of the House. The matter is poised to play prominently in the 2020 presidential campaign.

Walmart's U.S. CEO Greg Foran is telling all store managers that they should make "every effort" to provide new job options for greeters with disabilities. Many of these front-door workers remain in limbo as the company plans to eliminate its trademark greeter position in about 1,000 stores in coming months.

Updated at 6:02 p.m. ET

Gap Inc. plans to separate into two publicly traded companies, spinning off Old Navy into a separate firm as it closes about 230 Gap stores over the next two years.

As Old Navy becomes its own company, the other company, which has not been named yet, will consist of the Gap brand, Athleta, Banana Republic, Intermix and Hill City, Gap Inc. said.

Updated at 5:15 p.m. ET

Amazon will no longer build its additional headquarters in New York City.

The decision announced Thursday comes after an outcry from local politicians, union leaders and community organizers who had organized weeks of protests against massive financial breaks promised to Amazon, one of the world's most valuable companies.

Will the bankers be wearing bluejeans on Wall Street?

Levi Strauss & Co., which patented bluejeans in 1873, is planning to go public in one of the most high-profile initial public offerings of the year. The company, which is still controlled by the descendants of its namesake founder, has been private since 1985.

The news confirming the highly anticipated Levi Strauss stock offering sent shares of other apparel-makers on a roller-coaster ride: The stock prices of Urban Outfitters, Abercrombie & Fitch, Gap, American Eagle Outfitters and Buckle all declined.

Almost nine months after the Parkland shooting, Ed Stack — the CEO of Dick's Sporting Goods — stood up in the audience of a New York Times conference. He got up to talk about restricting gun sales at his stores. He had done it many times before, but this time, he got personal.

"I'm not embarrassed to say I'm viewed as a relatively tough guy," Stack said. "I wouldn't characterize myself as a crier. And that weekend, I watched those kids, and I watched those parents, and I hadn't cried as much since my mother passed away."

Think about the last time you went to the supermarket. You probably spent no more than a few seconds choosing from all the different brands of toothpaste, frozen peas or oatmeal.

Those few seconds used to be the holy grail for brands, the moment you would get hooked forever on that Tide detergent or Heinz ketchup — an event referred to as "the first moment of truth." But lately, the moment of truth has moved to the Internet. What's more, ripples from the 2008 recession have changed us as shoppers.

More and more people have started saying: "I'm not a brand person."

The Grinch might as well get in line behind millennials.

More than 1 in 10 U.S. workers' work is in retail. That's not counting hundreds of thousands more who sort and pack orders in retail warehouses, answer retail customer service calls, deliver retail packages — or otherwise work for the benefit of the American shopper and the retail companies.

Is your job associated with shopping or warehousing? NPR plans to explore the shifting retail workforce in an upcoming series and we want to hear from you.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

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.

Since its creation in 1994, Amazon has grown far beyond books. It has become almost synonymous with online shopping, while building a large physical footprint of warehouses and stores, a workforce of more than 600,000 people and a cloud business used extensively by the U.S. government, among others.

Updated at 2:07 p.m. ET on Wednesday

Amazon's HQ2 is getting divided by two.

Amazon's second headquarters will be split between two locations, according to two people with knowledge of the discussions. The plan would bring up to 50,000 jobs, split between the two cities. The average salary has been promised to pay more than $100,000 annually over the next 10 to 15 years.

Amazon is still in the final stages of negotiations, the sources say, but Crystal City in Arlington, Va., is expected to pick up one-half of the deal, the people told NPR. Crystal City is a suburb of Washington, D.C.

Updated at 5:18 p.m. ET

Officials from 14 states' top legal offices and the Justice Department have begun a coordinated conversation about ways to keep tabs on — and potentially rein in — the fast-growing tech giants.

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."

California's top lawyer is calling on the Department of Justice to invite Democratic as well as Republican attorneys general to an upcoming meeting on alleged bias against conservative views on social media.

Amazon's stock value briefly topped $1 trillion on Tuesday, a little over a month after Apple crossed the same milestone.

The tech and retail behemoth, founded as an online bookstore by CEO Jeff Bezos in 1994, has been consistently profitable only since 2015. In fact, Amazon profits have averaged $2 billion in each of the first two quarters of this year.

Seven-year-old Aviana Conyers bounces around the bustling back-to-school aisles of a Walmart Supercenter. She grabs her second-grade supply list from her mother, Andrea.

"Mama, do you have any pencils in your bag?" Aviana asks, eager to cross off items on the list.

Apple became the first private-sector company in history to be worth $1 trillion, after its share price reached an all-time high above $207 on Thursday.

The share price jumped by more than 8 percent this week after Apple reported impressive quarterly earnings on Tuesday, driven largely by strong sales for high-priced iPhones. In a call with investors, CEO Tim Cook also touted growth in other areas such as smart home products, wearable and services like the App Store and Apple Pay.

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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