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.

Compared with the Obama administration, the Trump White House has been much slower to submit its nominees' financial arrangements for review by the federal Office of Government Ethics.

A statistical report NPR obtained from OGE on Friday shows that the Trump nominees' documents have not only come in more slowly, but also have been far more complex.

The OGE shared the data with NPR in response to a request under the Freedom of Information Act. OGE officials say the report was compiled for the Congressional Research Service in February.

President Trump has pushed aggressively against illegal immigration, while his specific plans for legal immigration — including the popular but troubled H-1B work visa — remain unclear. He has said he wants to crack down on abuses and protect American workers, but it's Congress that holds the power to fundamentally reform the program.

A broken system

The newly appointed Republican chairman of the Federal Communications Commission is moving to scale back the implementation of sweeping privacy rules for Internet providers passed last year.

Chairman Ajit Pai on Friday asked the FCC to hit pause on the rollout of one part of those rules that was scheduled to go into effect next week. This marks the latest in his efforts to roll back his predecessor's regulatory moves.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

LAKSHMI SINGH, HOST:

The Office of Government Ethics is back in the news as its website crashed, for the second time in less than a month, again under a flood of inquiries.

The advisory agency typically works to vet people who run the country and detangle them from financial ties that may influence their work in public office. And typically, this work happens quietly in the background when administrations transition from one president to another.

Ajit Pai, the senior Republican on the Federal Communications Commission, will be the country's new chief telecommunications regulator. He's a proponent of limited government and a free-market approach to regulations.

Pai's promotion within the FCC under the administration was long rumored and confirmed on Monday by his office. In a statement, Pai said he looked forward "to working with the new Administration, my colleagues at the Commission, members of Congress, and the American public to bring the benefits of the digital age to all Americans."

As the White House transitions from Barack Obama to Donald Trump, in the social-media age that means another transition — of the @POTUS Twitter account.

At 12:01 p.m., as Trump took the oath of office, the official presidential account switched to President Trump from Obama, who was the first president to use Twitter. All tweets from Obama's term as president are archived under a new account @POTUS44.

When the Watergate scandal blew up in the 1970s, one of the things to emerge from its shadow was the Office of Government Ethics. And OGE usually works quietly behind the scenes to make sure that people who run the country have no financial ties that could influence their work.

At its helm is a man named Walter Shaub Jr., a longtime ethics lawyer, who has been at OGE for a decade. And when you ask people about him, Shaub is described as careful, even-keeled, even kind of boring — a government lawyer.

Citing local regulations, Apple has removed The New York Times news app from its app store in China. The incident is the latest in the long history of media restrictions in the country, but also in the ongoing pattern of tech companies getting involved in the efforts.

ZTE is a company known for phones. Based in China, it's one of the largest smartphone makers around the world. But as it's trying to branch out, it launched a project last year to crowdsource a new path, asking its customers what they want. Maybe some kind of drone, ZTE executives thought, or a new way to use virtual reality.

In November, the typically straitlaced Office of Government Ethics surprised observers with a series of tweets mimicking Donald Trump's bombastic style, exclamation points and all: "Brilliant! Divestiture is good for you, good for America!"

Amazon's personal assistant device called Echo was one of the most popular gifts this Christmas. But this week, the device grabbed headlines for another reason: Police in Arkansas are trying to use its data in a murder investigation.

When AT&T, a leading Internet provider, proposed a massive merger with Time Warner, a huge media conglomerate, the question many people asked was: Will I have to pay more for my TV?

On Wednesday, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee quizzed the CEOs of the two companies — over and over posing basically the same question: What will the $85.4 billion merger mean for the prices that consumers may have to pay?

The debate over encryption and government access to secured communications dates decades back. But for many Americans, it grabbed their attention in the early months of this year, in the aftermath of the Dec. 2, 2015, mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif.

The federal ethics watchdog isn't the kind of agency that typically airs its positions on Twitter — let alone in a snarky tone, with exclamation points.

But it's been an all-around weird day at the U.S. Office of Government Ethics.

Picture this: You're at a park, on a walk, with a baby. A friendly middle-aged man approaches you and tells you your stroller could be really dangerous.

You might think this man is crazy. But maybe not if you knew he's the nation's product safety chief.

On April 6, 2015, my mother arrived in my one-bedroom apartment after more than 24 hours of air travel and, after a quick nap, declared it was time for presents.

Out of her suitcase emerged an opaque industrial bag dotted with some austere cyrillics. Out of the bag tumbled a small pile of gruesome-looking metal parts. My trained Russian eye instantly summoned their reconstructed visual: My gift was a hand-crank meat grinder. Two-and-a-half pounds of aluminum, in a suitcase, flown overseas.

Twitter has suspended several accounts linked to the alt-right movement, which has been associated with white nationalism.

The move comes as Twitter is rolling out a series of actions to curb hate speech and abuse on its platform as criticism has mounted of the company's failure to rein in harassment, racism, sexism and anti-Semitism.

Twitter's inability to curb harassment and trolling has long plagued the social platform — by far its biggest criticism. The company is now trying something it hopes will rein in abusive users.

Twitter says it's adding new ways for users to flag or avoid seeing offensive posts in the broadest attempt yet to tackle the problem.

For decades Freedom House has been ranking the world on free speech, political and civil rights. In recent years, this nongovernmental organization has extended its research into the state of the Internet. And for the sixth consecutive year, it has found Internet freedom on a decline.

Samsung is offering repairs, refunds and replacements for about 2.8 million top-load washers after receiving hundreds of reports of machines vibrating excessively — in some cases, so much that the lids became detached.

The consumer electronics company, still reeling from a total recall and halt of its Galaxy Note 7 phone, is recalling 34 models of its top-load washing machines, manufactured as far back as March 2011. (Front-load washers are not affected by the recall.)

Twitter shocked the Internet Thursday with a farewell to Vine: "In the coming months we'll be discontinuing the mobile app."

We could have seen it coming. The six-second looped-video site hasn't gotten much love from Twitter, which is grappling with self-reflection: another quarter of losses, layoffs of 9 percent of the staff, constant rumors of a potential sale.

Today may be the day when cable and telecom execs shake their heads at Google with a smug "I told you so."

The tech giant is scaling back its plan to wire American cities for hyper-fast Internet — the project called Google Fiber.

Telecom giant AT&T has reached an $85.4 billion deal to buy media titan Time Warner. The news of this transformational merger has shaken up both industries, raising eyebrows on Wall Street and drawing criticism from lawmakers and even the presidential campaigns.

AT&T's $85.4-billion bid to buy Time Warner is now official, facing what's expected to be a tough regulatory review, given the reach and impact of the telecom and the media behemoths.

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Hackers have attacked a major Internet infrastructure company, causing intermittent disruptions Friday to websites and services including Twitter, Reddit, Spotify and Airbnb.

The victim of the attack is a New Hampshire-based company called Dyn (pronounced "dine"). It might not be a household name, but Dyn is one of the companies that sit between you and some of the biggest websites and services — and help make sure that when you type in a Web address, your traffic is properly routed.

Now that Samsung's Galaxy Note 7s have caught fire even after the phone-maker said it had changed battery suppliers, and the real cause of overheating remains a mystery, the Korean tech giant is facing new questions about its transparency throughout the recall debacle.

The Department of Transportation did not mince any words: Starting mid-Saturday, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 will be "considered a forbidden hazardous material under the Federal Hazardous Material Regulations."

Google's products are everywhere: maps, Gmail, the Chrome browser, the Chromecast video/audio system, the Android mobile operating system, YouTube, Waze. But the company has been far less successful at selling things rather than software.

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