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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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

Assuming his elves haven't come up with some sort of stealth technology to cloak his movements, it's almost time again for children of all ages (who have access to computers or smart phones, that is) to follow the jolly guy's travels via the North American Aerospace Defense Command's Santa tracker.

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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

If you've been to Great Britain, you know that they're very persistent over there about the need to "mind the gap."

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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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2:00pm

Wed December 21, 2011
The Two-Way

For First Time, Women Share 'First Kiss' At A Navy Homecoming

When Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta kissed Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell today in Virginia Beach, a little bit of history was made.

As The Virginian-Pilot explains:

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1:05pm

Wed December 21, 2011
The Two-Way

FAA Issues New Rules Aimed At Keeping Tired Pilots Out Of Cockpits

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 2:24 pm

Feb. 16, 2009: Flowers are left in memorial near where Continental Connection Flight 3407 crashed in Clarence, N.Y. Fifty people died. Pilot fatigue was cited as a factor.
David Duprey/pool Getty Images

Saying that they will help make sure that airline pilots are rested before they fly, the Federal Aviation Administration today unveiled new rules about the amount of time off they must get between flights and how long they can be on the job.

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12:30pm

Wed December 21, 2011
The Two-Way

NewtGingrich.com Is Sending Surfers To Sites And Stories He Wouldn't Like

Looking for Newt Gingrich? Don't type "newtgingrich.com." You might get directed to Freddie Mac, Tiffany's or other sites that bring to mind less flattering stories about the Republican presidential candidate.
FreddieMac.com

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich's official campaign website — at newt.org — is working fine.

But if anyone types "newtgingrich.com" and hits enter right now, they're not going to see things that the former House speaker would find very funny.

In the last few minutes when we've done that we've been directed to:

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11:20am

Wed December 21, 2011
The Two-Way

Criminal Charges For English Soccer Star John Terry Over Alleged Racial Abuse

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 11:22 am

John Terry, right, and opponent Anton Ferdinand during the English Premier League on Oct. 23 in which it's alleged that Terry hurled a racial slur at Ferdinand. Terry denies doing that. He's going to face criminal charges.
Nick Potts AP

One of England's biggest soccer stars is going to face criminal charges for allegedly aiming a racial slur at an opponent.

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10:30am

Wed December 21, 2011
The Two-Way

Sales Of Existing Homes Rose In November; Previous Years Revised Down

A "sold" sign outside a home in Pasadena, Calif., in September 2009. New data show fewer such sales that year.
David McNew Getty Images

While it says sales of existing homes rose 4 percent in November from October and were 12.2 percent above the level of November 2010, the National Association of Realtors also reported today that revisions to its data show there were about 2.9 million fewer homes sold from the start of 2007 through the end of 2010 than previously thought.

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9:45am

Wed December 21, 2011
The Two-Way

Army Charges 8 Soldiers In Connection With Private's Death In Afghanistan

Charges including negligent homicide, involuntary manslaughter and dereliction of duty have been brought against eight American soldiers in connection with what was thought to be the Oct.

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9:13am

Wed December 21, 2011

8:40am

Wed December 21, 2011
The Two-Way

Accused Of Sexually Abusing Children Decades Ago, Sportswriter Retires

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 8:44 am

July 23, 2011: Sportswriter Bill Conlin speaking at the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Mike Groll AP

Bill Conlin, a Philadelphia Daily News sportswriter for 46 years and this year's winner of the National Baseball Hall of Fame's award for "meritorious contributions to baseball writing," retired Tuesday after three women and a man came forward to accuse him of molesting them in the 1970s when they were between the ages of 7 and 12.

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8:00am

Wed December 21, 2011
The Two-Way

Mood In North Korean Capital Is 'Subdued But Calm,' U.K. Diplomat Says

This image taken today from North Korean TV footage shows people mourning for Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang.
AFP/Getty Images

While North Koreans in Pyongyang are "in a state of mourning and ... paying their respects at landmarks across the city," the overall mood is "subdued but calm" as people there react to Saturday's death of leader Kim Jong Il and the likelihood that his son Kim Jong Un is now in charge, according to one of Britain's diplomats in the capital city.

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3:25pm

Tue December 20, 2011
The Two-Way

From Homeless To White House To 'The Martha Stewart Show'

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:11 am

One of the decorations in the Red Room of the White House, where David Bondarchuck was among the volunteer decorators.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

When NPR's Ari Shapiro earlier this month filed a report on the 2011 holiday decorations at the executive mansion, he focused some of his attention on the diverse group of volunteer decorators who were called on to help dress up 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

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2:15pm

Tue December 20, 2011
The Two-Way

Report: Ohio State Football Team 'Banned From Postseason Play Next Year'

"The NCAA today stunned Ohio State University's football program by banning it from postseason play after the 2012 season," multiple sources tell The Columbus Dispatch.

It adds that:

"The penalty means Ohio State automatically is out of the running for any bowl, or a Big Ten or national championship next year, just as newly appointed head coach Urban Meyer is wooing recruits to the Buckeyes."

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1:30pm

Tue December 20, 2011
The Two-Way

'Ultimate Dog Tease' Is No. 2 On YouTube's List, No. 1 In Some Hearts

How can you not love that face?
Talking Animals

YouTube is out with its most-viewed video list for the year and if you didn't know that Rebecca Black's Friday would be on top, than you're among the (dare we say?) lucky few who didn't get her song stuck in their head this year.

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