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.

Goldman Sachs will pay about $5 billion to resolve state and federal investigations into its handling of mortgage-backed securities in the years leading up to the 2008 financial crisis, the bank said today.

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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.

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.

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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Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy said Thursday he intends to sign an executive order blocking people on federal terrorism watch lists from buying guns in his state.

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.

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.

Britain's House of Commons has voted overwhelmingly to launch airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria, bolstering the U.S.-led campaign against the group.

The vote was 397-223, with support coming from both the ruling Conservatives and some Labour MPs.

Britain's Royal Air Force already participates in the campaign against Islamic State militants in Iraq. Lawmakers were asked to decide whether to extend the bombing runs into Syria as well.

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:

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