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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11:17am

Fri October 14, 2011
The Two-Way

Listen Up: Here's How Some Piranhas Bark Before They Bite

A red-bellied piranha. You don't want to hear one.

Joel Saget AFP/Getty Images

We're not recommending you dive in to some South American stream to see if you can hear them do this, but this is just too interesting not to pass along.

National Geographic writes that:

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10:26am

Fri October 14, 2011
The Two-Way

If You're So Inclined, Don A Black Turtleneck For 'Steve Jobs Day'

Here's the look, and the website.

stevejobsday2011.com

Most fans of the late co-founder of Apple probably already know, but just in case:

Some folks have declared this to be "Steve Jobs Day," and are encouraging others to "Sport your black turtleneck, jeans, tennis shoes, and glasses and snap a pic!" They're also making it easy to donate money to cancer research in Jobs' memory.

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9:47am

Fri October 14, 2011
The Two-Way

Death Toll In Syria Exceeds 3,000, UN Says

Saying that the government's uses of "excessive force to crush peaceful protests" has led to a "devastatingly remorseless toll of human lives," the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights reported today that more than 3,000 people have now died because of the violence in Syria in recent months.

And at least 187 of the fatalities were children, Commissioner Navi Pillay added.

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9:19am

Fri October 14, 2011

8:45am

Fri October 14, 2011
The Two-Way

Retail Sales Rose 1.1 Percent In September

Originally published on Fri October 14, 2011 8:53 am

Driven by gains at car dealers, U.S. retail sales rose 1.1 percent in September from August, the Census Bureau just reported.

It's the strongest one-month gain since February's 1.3 percent increase.

And sales were up 7.9 percent from September 2010, Census adds.

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8:38am

Fri October 14, 2011
The Two-Way

Berlusconi Survives Confidence Vote

Originally published on Fri October 14, 2011 8:52 am

Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi sat in the lower chamber during today's confidence vote.

Gregorio Borgia AP
Breaking news from The Associated Press:

"Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi survives confidence vote in Parliament."

The BBC says "Berlusconi won the vote by 316 to 301, the bare minimum he needed." That, it adds, "presages trouble ahead. ... If Mr Berlusconi has to get a vote of confidence on every issue, he will find it very difficult to govern."

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8:09am

Fri October 14, 2011
The Two-Way

Bartender Who Famously Shamed A Nasty Non-Tipper Got Wrong Guy

The receipt that started it all.

Victoria Liss seattlepi.com

Don't "drunk dial" an old lover.

Double check the "To" address before sending an email about your incompetent boss.

And if someone really ticks you off, sleep on it before posting about what happened. You might decide in the morning that it's best left unsaid.

That last bit of advice comes to mind with the story of a Seattle bartender who exposed a "nasty non-tipper" on her Facebook page and mistakenly identified the wrong guy — causing headaches not only for him but for her as well.

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7:15am

Fri October 14, 2011
The Two-Way

Occupy Wall Street Park Cleanup Postponed

The scene at Zuccotti Park on Thursday as Occupy Wall Street protesters started their own cleanup.Â

Timothy A. Clary AFP/Getty Images

Today's planned cleanup of Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan, where Occupy Wall Street protesters have been camped out for a month, has been postponed — bringing cheers and relief to those in the park, who thought the move might have been a ruse designed to evict or arrest them.

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3:14pm

Thu October 13, 2011
The Two-Way

Cain's 9-9-9 Plan: Just Like SimCity?

A framegrab from the Cain campaign's video about its 9-9-9 tax plan.

YouTube.com

One rival said he thought it was "the price of a pizza" (Jon Huntsman's quip). Another said you need to turn it upside down because "the devil's in the details" (Rep. Michele Bachmann's 6-6-6 reference).

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12:59pm

Thu October 13, 2011
The Two-Way

Plot Was 'Directed By Individuals In The Iranian Government,' Obama Says

"What we know is that an individual of Iranian-American descent was involved in a plot to assassinate the ambassador to the United States from Saudi Arabia, and we also know that he had direct links, was paid by and directed by individuals in the Iranian government," President Obama just said.

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12:10pm

Thu October 13, 2011
The Two-Way

Dennis Ritchie, C Programmer And Unix Co-Creator, Has Died

Dennis Ritchie at the 1999 ceremony when he received the National Medal of Technology from President Clinton.

Bell Labs.

Dennis Ritchie is being remembered today as a pioneering computer scientist, the "father of [the] C programming language," co-creator of the Unix operating system and "a 'titan' of the [computer] industry whose influence was largely unknown."

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11:31am

Thu October 13, 2011
The Two-Way

11-Year Sentence For Hedge Fund Boss Rajaratnam

Originally published on Thu October 13, 2011 1:10 pm

Raj Rajaratnam, billionaire co-founder of Galleon Group, entering Manhattan federal court in May.

Louis Lanzano AP

Raj Rajaratnam, the hedge-fund billionaire convicted of insider trading, has just been given what's said to be the longest-ever prison sentence in the U.S. for that crime.

He's due to spend 11 years behind bars, The New York Times' DealBook blog and other news outlets are reporting. And he's been fined $10 million.

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11:17am

Thu October 13, 2011
The Two-Way

Slovak Parliament OKs Eurozone Bailout Fund

As expected, "Slovakia's Parliament has approved expanding the powers of the European Union bailout fund," The Associated Press reports from Bratislava.

The wire service adds that:

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10:41am

Thu October 13, 2011
The Two-Way

French Prosecutors Drop Strauss-Kahn Sex Assault Inquiry

Originally published on Thu October 13, 2011 11:22 am

"French prosecutors have suspended the investigation into sexual assault claims against former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn," France 24 reports. "French journalist Tristane Banon has accused Strauss-Kahn of attempting to rape her in 2003."

The Associated Press writes that "the prosecutor's office said Thursday that Strauss-Kahn admitted to sexual aggression against writer Tristane Banon but that it is too late to prosecute for that charge, because the incident in question happened in 2003."

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9:55am

Thu October 13, 2011
The Two-Way

VIDEO: In Bhutan, Land That Measures Happiness, A Royal Wedding

Just for the beautiful colors and relative simplicity of the ceremony, it's worth noting and taking a look at today's wedding in Bhutan of King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck to "commoner bride" Jetsun Pema.

The Associated Press has video.

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8:54am

Thu October 13, 2011

8:35am

Thu October 13, 2011
The Two-Way

Jobless Claims Nearly Unchanged

Originally published on Thu October 13, 2011 8:38 am

The number of Americans filing first-time claims for jobless benefits last week was basically the same as the week before, the Employment and Training Administration just reported.

It says 404,000 such claims were submitted, vs. 405,000 the week before (a number that was revised up slightly from the previous estimate of 401,000).

As we wrote last week:

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8:03am

Thu October 13, 2011
The Two-Way

GOP Presidential Contender Herman Cain Takes Lead In Second Poll

"Fueled by Tea Party supporters, conservatives and high-interest GOP primary voters, former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain now leads the race for the Republican presidential nomination, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll," NBC News deputy political director Mark Murry reports.

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7:30am

Thu October 13, 2011
The Two-Way

Alleged Iran Plot Is More 'Caper Novel' Than Spy Novel

The suspect: Manssor Arbabsiar (front, right) appearing in court Tuesday.

Shirley Shepard AFP/Getty Images

Here's another way to look at what U.S. law enforcement officials say was a plot by two Iranians — with assistance from "factions" of Iran's government — to kill the Saudi ambassador to the U.S.:

Yesterday, we posted about how "brazen and bizarre" the alleged scheme appears.

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2:50pm

Wed October 12, 2011
The Two-Way

National Book Awards Finalists Announced

Originally published on Wed October 12, 2011 2:59 pm

National Book Awards finalist medal.

NationalBook.org

Our colleagues at Oregon Public Broadcasting's Think Out Loud hosted today's announcement of the 20 finalists for this year's National Book Awards.

They report that the nominees are:

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1:21pm

Wed October 12, 2011
The Two-Way

Clinton's Condemns 'Dangerous Escalation,' Iran Slams 'Baseless Claims'

Originally published on Wed October 12, 2011 1:22 pm

The alleged plot by two Iranians to kill Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, which U.S. investigators say had the support of some "factions" within Iran's government, marks a "dangerous escalation" in that nation's support for terrorism, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said this morning.

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12:57pm

Wed October 12, 2011
The Two-Way

Harrisburg Lawmakers Spar As City Moves Toward Bankruptcy

Originally published on Wed October 12, 2011 2:06 pm

After a 4-3 vote by the Harrisburg, Pa., city council Tuesday night to file for Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy protection, a council member delivered the necessary documents to court today.

But now, The Associated Press reports, Harrisburg Mayor Linda Thompson (D) is making the case that the council doesn't have the authority to seek bankruptcy.

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12:06pm

Wed October 12, 2011
The Two-Way

Family Lost In Corn Maze Dials 911 For Help

The family got lost in this corn maze on Connors Farm in Danvers, Mass., but were eventually found close to the exit. The maze was shaped in the theme of the "Headless Horseman."

Courtesy of Connors Farm

Maybe they'd recently read or watched Children of the Corn:

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11:03am

Wed October 12, 2011
The Two-Way

Rep. Issa Sends 'Fast And Furious' Subpoenas To Holder, Other Officials

Originally published on Wed October 12, 2011 2:53 pm

Saying "it's time we know the whole truth" about the so-called Fast and Furious gun trafficking operation, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee today followed through on his promise to issue subpoenas to Attorney General Eric Holder and other high-ranking Justice Department officials.

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10:23am

Wed October 12, 2011
The Two-Way

'Underwear Bomber' Pleads Guilty

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is this hour pleading guilty to attempting to blow up a Detroit-bound passenger jet on Christmas Day 2009.

The Detroit Free Press, which is live-blogging the court action, reports that attorney Anthony Chambers surprised the courtroom earlier by announcing that "his client plans to plead guilty." And it adds that:

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10:09am

Wed October 12, 2011
The Two-Way

Israel, Hamas Prisoner-Swap Deal: The Ripple Effects

What does the deal reached by Israel and Hamas to exchange long-held Sgt. Gilad Schalit for about 1,000 Palestinian prisoners mean for the seemingly never-ending Mideast peace process and politics in the region?

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9:00am

Wed October 12, 2011

8:30am

Wed October 12, 2011
The Two-Way

BlackBerry Outages Continue, Reports Say They've Spread To North America

Originally published on Wed October 12, 2011 5:14 pm

Stan Honda AFP/Getty Images

The focus remains on "Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India," where millions of BlackBerry users are without text services for a third straight day, Reuters reports, but there's word now that the problems are also affecting folks in North America.

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7:59am

Wed October 12, 2011
The Two-Way

Top Stories: Terror Plot, Baghdad Bombings, Republican Debate

Good morning.

Our early headline today was a follow to the news about an alleged plan by two Iranians to kill Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the U.S.:

Alleged Terror Plot: 'Brazen And Bizarre'

As for other stories making headlines (and we'll have more about some of them later), they include:

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7:30am

Wed October 12, 2011
The Two-Way

Alleged Terror Plot: 'Brazen And Bizarre'

This courtroom drawing shows Manssor Arbabsiar (front, right), appearing before U.S. Southern District Court Judge Michael H. Dolinger on Tuesday.

Shirley Shepard AFP/Getty Images

Two words — brazen and bizarre — come to mind about the alleged plot by two Iranians to hire members of a Mexican drug cartel to kill the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. and possibly bomb the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Washington, NPR's Tom Gjelten said earlier today on Morning Edition.

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