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.

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.

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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:

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