Jim Zarroli

Jim Zarroli is a business reporter for NPR News, based at NPR's New York bureau.

He covers economics and business news including fiscal policy, the Federal Reserve, the job market and taxes

Over the years, he's reported on recessions and booms, crashes and rallies, and a long string of tax dodgers, insider traders and Ponzi schemers. He's been heavily involved in the coverage of the European debt crisis and the bank bailouts in the United States.

Prior to moving into his current role, Zarroli served as a New York-based general assignment reporter for NPR News. While in this position he covered the United Nations during the first Gulf War. Zarroli added to NPR's coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the London transit bombings and the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.

Before joining the NPR in 1996, Zarroli worked for the Pittsburgh Press and wrote for various print publications.

Zarroli graduated from Pennsylvania State University.

Tickets to the most popular concerts and other live events are often hard to find because of abusive practices by vendors who illegally use computer programs called bots to grab them up, according to a report released by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

In some cases, tickets to live events sell out within minutes, only to appear right away at enormous markups on sites such as StubHub, according to the report, which calls for major reform to the ticketing process.

The Federal Reserve has decided to keep its benchmark interest rate where it is, even as Fed officials expressed somewhat more caution about global economic conditions.

In a statement issued after the end of policymakers' two-day meeting, the Federal Open Market Committee said the federal funds rate would stay at 25-50 basis points, where it was set at the Fed's December meeting.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is on a goodwill tour through Italy and France this week, trying to drum up investment for his country's sanctions-battered economy.

But Iran still faces challenges that make it hard for companies to do business with Tehran.

In a move that was loudly celebrated in Iran, the United States and other countries earlier this month agreed to lift an economic embargo that had been imposed in 2012 in an effort to curb Iran's nuclear program.

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Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Markets tumbled today, hard. It's a continuation of a recent rough patch on Wall Street. Already this year, both the Dow and the S&P are down more than 7 percent. NPR's Jim Zarroli joins us now to discuss the sour mood among investors. Hey, Jim

Lego says it is changing its guidelines for the purchase of large amounts of its iconic toy bricks, a policy that had generated a social media firestorm when used to block sales to Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.

The company said in a statement that it will no longer ask people who want to buy the bricks in bulk what they're using them for:

Just as David Bowie left an indelible mark on music, he also played an important but lesser-known role in the world of finance.

In 1997, Bowie became the first musician to package his future royalties into a security that could be bought and sold by investors, an asset that came to be known as a "Bowie bond."

The sale of the bonds to Prudential Securities netted the musician $55 million. They were downgraded to junk by Moody's Securities in 2004, amid a wave of illegal downloading and weak overall music sales.

Already reeling from a series of food-borne-illness outbreaks, Chipotle Mexican Grill now faces a federal criminal investigation, as well.

The company says it has received a subpoena from a federal grand jury in connection with a norovirus outbreak last fall at one of its restaurants in Simi Valley, Calif.

In August, 189 customers were sickened after visiting the restaurant, as well as 18 Chipotle employees, according to Doug Beach, manager of the Community Services Program at the Ventura County Environmental Health Department, in an interview with NPR.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders traveled to the heart of the nation's financial sector Tuesday to issue a scathing denunciation of Wall Street and repeat his call to break up the biggest banks.

Chipotle Mexican Grill is struggling to convince its customers it's a safe place to eat, after several outbreaks of foodborne illnesses have sickened hundreds of its customers. But no one thinks the task is going to be easy.

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Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has imposed a $70 million civil fine on the parent company of Chrysler for failing to report safety data.

A statement from the agency said Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, or FCA, has acknowledged that it failed to turn in "early warning report" data about accidents, warranty claims and safety issues. The data are used to identify potential defects that could lead to a recall, the agency said.

Douglas Tompkins, who made a fortune in retailing as the founder of The North Face and co-founder of Esprit and went on to become a major donor to conservation causes, has died in a kayaking accident in Chile. He was 72.

Icelanders angry about government support of religion have come up with a way of making their unhappiness heard: They've formed their own religion, based on ancient Sumerian texts, and are promising to pass on any public funds they receive to their "congregation."

The group is a means of protesting Iceland's "parish tax," which goes to support organized religions, of which the largest by far is the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland.

The Federal Trade Commission has taken the first step toward blocking the proposed $6.3 billion merger of Staples and Office Depot, saying the deal would hurt competition in the market for office supplies sold to large corporations.

The commission filed an administrative complaint charging that the merger between Massachusetts-based Staples, the world's largest seller of office supplies, and Florida-based Office Depot would violate antitrust laws.

Oil prices fell to their lowest levels in seven years, after OPEC officials failed to agree Friday on how to address the global supply glut.

By midday Monday, Brent crude futures fell 5 percent to $40.68 a barrel, the lowest price since 2009. The U.S. oil benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude dropped below $38 a barrel.

The decline sent energy stocks such as ExxonMobil, Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell tumbling, and helped drag the major stock indexes down sharply.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

An international consortium that wants to build the world's biggest telescope on the Big Island of Hawaii says it's deciding what to do next, after the state's Supreme Court invalidated the project's building permit.

The consortium "will follow the process set forth by the state, as we always have. We are assessing our next steps on the way forward," said Henry Yang, chairman of the Thirty Meter Telescope International Observatory Board of Directors.

European regulators have launched an investigation into Luxembourg's tax treatment of McDonald's, saying the fast-food giant's franchise office has paid virtually no taxes on franchise profits it earned in Europe and Russia since 2009.

It's the latest in a series of investigations into corporate tax avoidance schemes by the European Commission, which has also targeted Starbucks and Apple.

An appeals court in South Africa has convicted double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius of murdering his live-in girlfriend, a ruling that could send him back to prison for a minimum of 15 years.

The court ruled that the trial judge erred last year when she convicted Pistorius of "culpable homicide," the equivalent of manslaughter, for killing Reeva Steenkamp by shooting her through a bathroom door in 2013.

Brazil's Congress has opened impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff, who is accused of manipulating government finances to benefit her re-election effort.

The move injects a new element of instability into the political landscape in Brazil, which is being roiled by corruption scandals and a sharp economic downturn.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is signaling that it may finally be time to raise interest rates, saying the U.S. economy has recovered substantially since the Great Recession.

Speaking to the Economic Club of Washington, Yellen said Wednesday that the economy has come a long way toward its twin goals of maximum employment and price stability.

Spain's highest court has halted a push for independence by the northeastern region of Catalonia, ruling Wednesday that secession would be unconstitutional.

From Madrid, Lauren Frayer told NPR's Newscast unit that the decision, which was widely expected, came unusually quickly:

"In its ruling, Spain's Constitutional Court affirmed the country's unity — and said, therefore, Catalonia can't declare independence, secede, and divide the country."

Puerto Rico has managed to make a payment due today on its bond debt, but officials are warning that the commonwealth's fiscal position remains tenuous.

As a result, the government will have to pay for essential government services by using money budgeted for upcoming debt payments, said Melba Acosta Febo, president of the Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico, in a statement. She added:

The International Monetary Fund says it will add the Chinese renminbi to its basket of reserve currencies, a significant milestone in China's long campaign to be recognized as a global economic power.

The decision means that the renminbi, also known as the yuan, will join the U.S. dollar, the Japanese yen, the Euro and the British pound as one of the currencies that the IMF uses to denominate its loans.

Amazon has released a glimpse of what its much-anticipated drone deliveries could look like, although it warns the service is still very much in a testing phase.

A court in Jerusalem has convicted two Israeli teenagers in the 2014 kidnapping and killing of a 16-year-old Palestinian boy, a crime that heightened tensions in the run-up to the Gaza war that summer.

The two teenagers, who were not named because they are juveniles, are expected to be sentenced in January.

As NPR's Emily Harris reports, a ruling on the accused ringleader, 31-year-old Yosef Haim Ben-David, has been delayed. She tells our Newscast unit:

A 15-year-old boy died of Ebola in Liberia on Monday night, the first person in the country to perish from the disease since July, health officials say.

At least 16 people were injured when shooting suddenly broke out in a New Orleans park Sunday evening, police said.

Hundreds of people were gathered at Bunny Friend Playground in the city's Upper Ninth Ward to record a music video when two groups began firing at each other, according to the New Orleans Police Department.

None of the injuries was described as life-threatening.

The U.S. drug giant Pfizer and its smaller rival Allergan have agreed to merge, creating the world's biggest pharmaceutical company by sales.

The $160 billion deal is the largest example so far of a corporate inversion, in which a U.S. company merges with a foreign company and shifts its domicile overseas in order to lower its corporate taxes.

UnitedHealth Group, the nation's largest health insurance company, says it's considering dropping out of the public exchanges that are an integral part of the Affordable Care Act, because it's losing money on them.

"We cannot sustain these losses," CEO Stephen Hemsley said in an investor call Thursday morning. "We can't really subsidize a marketplace that doesn't appear at the moment to be sustaining itself."

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