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.

Puerto Rico will default on bond payments worth about $37 million on Jan. 1, as it struggles to contend with a mountain of debt worth $72 billion, government officials said today.

Still, the commonwealth will be able to pay off most of the $328 million it owes on its general obligation debt — but that's only by clawing back some of the money from other government sources, Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla noted.

The U.S. economy has improved enough for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates, but much of the rest of the world remained mired in slow growth and high unemployment in 2015.

And the picture was especially grim in the so-called emerging markets, countries such as Brazil, Russia, Venezuela and South Africa.

What these places share is that they export a lot of oil and other commodities, and they've been hard-hit by the slowdown in China.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has placed one breed of African lions on its endangered species list, a move aimed at discouraging hunting of the animals at a time when their numbers are dwindling.

A second breed of lion will be designated as threatened, the agency said today.

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Congress is getting closer to lifting a 40-year-old ban on oil exports, a move that could be a boon for U.S. oil producers hoping to expand into the global market.

President Obama and environmentalists oppose ending the ban, but Congressional leaders made it part of a $1.14 trillion spending bill, unveiled Tuesday, greatly increasing its chance of passage.

The junk bond market rebounded a bit on Tuesday, but big questions remain about what the recent rout means for the stock market and the broader economy.

One of the largest junk bond investment funds (inelegantly called the iShares iBoxx High Yield Corporate Bond exchange-traded fund) was up 1.5 percent after two consecutive days of steep losses.

Junk bonds are sold by companies with less than perfect credit. Because they're riskier, they typically pay higher returns. That makes them especially attractive to investors during periods of low interest rates, like now.

The gloom deepened in the high-yield debt market on Monday, with bonds issued by dozens of companies losing ground, and concerns mounting about how long the rout will last.

Bonds issued by lower-rated companies such as Dynegy, Charter Communications, Chesapeake Energy and Oasis Petroleum have taken a tumble, as have investment funds that trade in such debt.

Newell Rubbermaid said today that it will acquire Jarden Corp., paying nearly $16 billion to acquire all of its stock and debt.

The deal brings together two companies with numerous familiar consumer brands under one roof, creating a single entity to be known as Newell Brands.

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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.

A campaign by Japan's government to encourage the hiring of women for senior government and business positions as a way of stimulating the economy has fallen short of its goals.

The government's Gender Equity Bureau has lowered its target for women executives in government to 7 percent from 30 percent and in the private sector to 15 percent from 30 percent.

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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.

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.

In France, the third Thursday in November is usually a day of fireworks and festivals, when people pause to celebrate a uniquely French custom: the uncorking of the first Beaujolais of the season.

But in a country in deep mourning, no one feels much like celebrating.

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