Mark Memmott

Mark Memmott is one of the hosts of NPR's "The Two-Way" news blog.

"The Two-Way," which Memmott helped to launched when he came to NPR in 2009, focuses on breaking news, analysis, and the most compelling stories being reported by NPR News and other news media.

Before joining NPR, Memmott worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor at USA Today. He focused on a range of coverage from politics, foreign affairs, economics, and the media. He's reported from places across the Unites States and the world, including half a dozen trips to Afghanistan in 2002-2003.

During his time at USA Today, Memmott, helped launch and lead three USAToday.com news blogs: "On Deadline," "The Oval" and "On Politics," the site's 2008 presidential campaign blog.

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9:05am

Wed December 28, 2011
The Two-Way

Top Stories: Funeral For Kim Jong Il, Syria Releases Some Prisoners

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 9:47 am

8:30am

Wed December 28, 2011
The Two-Way

Rev. Billy Graham Makes Top 10 'Most Admired' List For 55th Time

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 8:33 am

Rev. Billy Graham poses for a portrait in 1968.
Getty Images

Scroll down Gallup's report on its latest poll results about the most admired men and women living today and you come to this:

"The Rev. Billy Graham has never finished first, but has been in the top 10 more than any other man — 55 times since 1955." This year, Gallup puts Graham at No. 4. He was mentioned by 2 percent of those surveyed.

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8:00am

Wed December 28, 2011
The Two-Way

Cheetah, Said To Be One Of Tarzan's Chimpanzee Sidekicks, Has Died

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 7:21 pm

1932 scene from Tarzan the Ape Man: Johnny Weissmuller, right, as Tarzan, Maureen O'Sullivan as Jane, and one of the chimps who played Cheetah.
AP

One of the chimpanzees who played Cheetah, Johnny Weissmuller's sidekick in the Tarzan movies of the 1930s and '40s, has died. He was said to be 80 years old and succumbed to kidney failure on Christmas Eve, according to the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary in Palm Harbor, Fla., where he had been living since the early 1960s.

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7:15am

Wed December 28, 2011
The Two-Way

Weeping, Wailing And Imagery In Pyongyang For Kim Jong Il's Funeral

Kim Jong Un, center, walks with his hand on the limousine bearing his father Kim Jong Il's body earlier today in Pyongyang.
North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency AFP/Getty Images

3:30pm

Tue December 27, 2011
The Two-Way

Sean Collins, Who Told Surfers Where To Go For The Best Waves, Has Died

Surfline.com

Sean Collins created a way for surfers to learn about where the best waves are just about anywhere in the world and in the process became a legend in the surfing community. Monday, at the age of 59, he died.

According to The Orange County Register, "his youngest son, A.J., said Collins was playing tennis at his club in Newport [Calif.] at about 2 p.m. when he died suddenly from a heart attack."

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2:25pm

Tue December 27, 2011
The Two-Way

Reports: Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson Won't Seek Re-election

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.).
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

The race for control of the Senate just got even more interesting with word from several news outlets that Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) won't be seeking re-election in 2012.

The Omaha World-Herald says "it's good news for Republicans, but incredibly bad for Democrats who need the equivalent of a Christmas miracle to keep the seat."

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1:30pm

Tue December 27, 2011

11:00am

Tue December 27, 2011

10:25am

Tue December 27, 2011
The Two-Way

Consumer Confidence Rose This Month

American consumers felt better this month about how things are going for the U.S. economy and their own financial situations, the private research group The Conference Board just reported.

Its consumer confidence index rose to 64.5 from 55.2 in November and is back at a level not seen since last April.

But in a statement, the director of the board's consumer research center advises viewing the again with caution.

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10:05am

Tue December 27, 2011
The Two-Way

Sears, Kmart Closings Will Shutter 3 Percent Of Company's Stores

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 10:09 am

Mark Lennihan AP

As you know, numbers can often be looked at several ways.

There's the headline that "dozens of Kmart, Sears stores to close" and the topline news that "between 100 and 120 Sears and Kmart stores" are going to be shut down as the retailer looks to trim costs and move ahead after it endured a pretty poor holiday shopping season.

That's a lot of stores, obviously.

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9:35am

Tue December 27, 2011
The Two-Way

Home Prices Fell Again In October

Renzo Salazar, from Real Signs of Ace Post Holding Inc., placed a bank owned sign on top of a for sale sign outside a foreclosed home in Miami last month.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Home prices dropped from September to October in 19 of the 20 cities where it tracks the real estate markets, according to the widely watched S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices report.

According to a statement from David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices:

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9:05am

Tue December 27, 2011
The Two-Way

Top Stories: Yemeni Leader May Be Treated In U.S.; Syria Moves Tanks

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 9:08 am

Good morning.

If you're just getting into the swing of things after a long Christmas weekend, welcome back. If you're still on vacation, we're jealous.

Our early headlines:

-- Activists Condemn Syrian Army's 'Show,' Say Tanks Didn't Move Far.

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8:15am

Tue December 27, 2011
The Two-Way

Activists Condemn Syrian Army's 'Show,' Say Tanks Didn't Move Far

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 8:49 am

A Syrian tank driving through the city of Homs on Monday (Dec. 26, 2011).
AFP/Getty Images

"Syria's army suspended days of punishing attacks on the restive city of Homs," The Associated Press writes, "and began withdrawing its tanks Tuesday just as Arab League monitors visited the area and met with local leaders, activists and officials said."

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7:45am

Tue December 27, 2011
The Two-Way

Lost Money: $41 Billion In Gift Cards Haven't Been Redeemed Since 2005

You may have given one — or two, or three. You may have gotten one — or two, or three.

Gift cards.

The presents that show up in Christmas stockings all across America. The go-to gifts for aunts and uncles trying to please those finicky teenaged nieces and nephews. The tokens of affection that may say "I got this on the way over here."

And, also, the gifts that sometimes never get used.

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1:10pm

Fri December 23, 2011
The Two-Way

Dozens Killed In Syria: Regime Blames Terrorists, Opposition Blames Regime

Originally published on Fri December 23, 2011 4:59 pm

A crater left by an explosion at the site of a suicide attack today in Damascus.
Louai Beshara AFP/Getty Images

"Twin suicide car bomb blasts ripped through an upscale Damascus district Friday, targeting security and intelligence buildings and killing at least 40 people" according to authorities, The Associated Press writes.

NPR's Deborah Amos says it's the "first such attack since the beginning of a 10-month revolt" against President Bashar Assad's regime.

Now there's the question of who is responsible.

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11:10am

Fri December 23, 2011
The Two-Way

Cue The Scary Music: 'Space Ball' Crashes In Namibia

Originally published on Fri December 23, 2011 12:43 pm

The space ball. What is it?
Namibia's National Forensic Science Institute AFP/Getty Images

It's said to be made of a "metal alloy known to man," according to Agence France Presse. (We enjoyed that Spock-like line.)

But there's much that isn't known about what's being called a "space ball" that came down in Namibia last month: Such as where or what it came from.

Officials from NASA and the European Space Agency have been contacted.

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10:20am

Fri December 23, 2011
The Two-Way

Revisiting Istalif, Famed For Pottery And Picnics

Originally published on Fri December 23, 2011 10:24 am

A man in Istalif last year.
Shah Marai AFP/Getty Images

Hearing Renee Montagne's Morning Edition report today about the village of Istalif, Afghanistan, brought back memories for this blogger.

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9:20am

Fri December 23, 2011

8:55am

Fri December 23, 2011
The Two-Way

Vaclav Havel, Hero Of The 'Velvet Revolution,' Laid To Rest

A picture of former Czech President Vaclav Havel lay among candles and floral tributes as people gathered in Prague on Thursday to honor him.
Odd Andersen AFP/Getty Images

8:00am

Fri December 23, 2011
The Two-Way

Arlington Cemetery: Possible Problems With 64,230 Graves Or Records

A review of 259,978 gravesites and more than 510,000 records at Arlington National Cemetery has identified 64,230 cases of potential problems that range from minor mistakes in files to errors on gravestones, according to a U.S. Army report delivered to Congress on Thursday.

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7:15am

Fri December 23, 2011
The Two-Way

Payroll Tax Cut's Last Hurdle Cleared: House Gives 'Unanimous Consent'

Originally published on Fri December 23, 2011 1:35 pm

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Capitol Hill Thursday (Dec. 22, 2011).
Evan Vucci AP
(This post was retopped with the latest news at 1:30 p.m. ET.)

Marking the end of the latest pitched political battle in Washington, President Obama said this afternoon that Congressional approval of measures to extend for another two months a payroll tax cut and benefits for the long-term unemployed is "good news just in the nick of time for the holidays."

"I said it was critical for Congress not to go home without preventing a tax increase" and the expiration of the long-term jobless benefits, Obama said, "and I'm pleased to say they've got it done."

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3:40pm

Thu December 22, 2011
The Two-Way

NORAD's Santa Tracker Switches On Saturday

They'll see him when he's flying.
NORAD

2:05pm

Thu December 22, 2011
The Two-Way

Because Of Somali Pirates, Ocean Racers Are In A 'Stealth Zone'

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 2:08 pm

The Groupama Sailing Team (shown here on Dec. 10 near Cape Town, South Africa) is somewhere out ahead in the "stealth zone."
Volvo Ocean Race Getty Images

1:10pm

Thu December 22, 2011
The Two-Way

Obama Puts More Pressure On House GOP Over Payroll Tax Cut

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 1:21 pm

The political maneuvering continues in Washington as lawmakers debate how to extend about-to-expire payroll tax cuts and jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed.

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12:20pm

Thu December 22, 2011
The Two-Way

'Mind The Gap' Indeed: Woman's Fall Beneath Train Captured On Video

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 1:38 pm

A "mind the gap" reminder at the Acton Town Underground Station in London
carmen_seaby via Flickr

10:00am

Thu December 22, 2011
The Two-Way

Swept Away By '04 Tsunami, Indonesian Girl Reportedly Finds Way Home

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 10:49 am

Jan. 4, 2005: Indonesians search for names of relatives on notice boards in Banda Aceh, one of the places devastated by the Dec. 26, 2004, tsunami.
Dimas Ardian Getty Images

Seven years ago, an estimated 230,000 people died after an earthquake triggered a massive tsunami that devastated South Asian coasts from Indonesia to Thailand, Sri Lanka and India.

Wednesday, one of those who was thought to be dead apparently "found her way back to her home," according to the Indonesian state news agency Antara.

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9:05am

Thu December 22, 2011

8:40am

Thu December 22, 2011
The Two-Way

Third Quarter Growth Estimate Revised Down Again, To 1.8 Percent

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 10:21 am

The nation's economy grew at a 1.8 percent annual rate in the third quarter, the Bureau of Economic Analysis just reported.

The new estimate marks the second time that BEA has revised its third-quarter estimate downward. In its first look, BEA said gross domestic product grew at a 2.5 percent annual rate. Last month, it said the pace was 2 percent.

Still, the third quarter was better than the second — when GDP expanded at a 1.3 percent annual rate.

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7:50am

Thu December 22, 2011
The Two-Way

U.S. Cites 'Self Defense,' Concedes Poor Coordination In Pakistan Incident

Protesters in Karachi, Pakistan, burned an American flag earlier this month to express their anger over the airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.
Rizwan Tabassum AFP/Getty Images

American military forces, "given what information they had available to them at the time, acted in self defense and with appropriate force after being fired upon" when they called for airstrikes along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in late November in an incident that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, the Pentagon said this morning.

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7:10am

Thu December 22, 2011
The Two-Way

Dozens Killed, Scores Injured In Wave Of Bombings In Baghdad

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 8:38 am

Iraqi security forces inspect a crater caused by a car bomb attack in the neighborhood of Karrada in Baghdad earlier today (Dec. 22, 2011). It was one in a wave of such bombings in the Iraqi capital today.
Hadi Mizban AP

It's been a terrible day in Baghdad, where at least 16 explosions in 13 different locations have killed dozens of people and left about 200 wounded, NPR's Sean Carberry reports from the Iraqi capital.

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