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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10:16am

Tue March 11, 2014
The Two-Way

'Ringing' Phones Do Not Mean Malaysian Passengers Are OK

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 11:18 am

In Beijing, anxious relatives continue to wait for word about the fate of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The Beijing-bound jet disappeared on Saturday.
Mark Ralston AFP/Getty Images

Already heartbreaking images of grieving family and friends only become more poignant when you hear this:

Some family members and friends of the 239 people who haven't been heard from since Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared Saturday say they've been calling their loved ones' cellphones and hearing rings — though no one picked up the calls.

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8:43am

Tue March 11, 2014

8:25am

Tue March 11, 2014
The Two-Way

Crimean Parliament Passes 'Declaration Of Independence'

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 11:51 am

A masked man, believed to be a Russian soldier, holds a Crimean flag as members of a pro-Russian self-defense unit stand in formation Monday in the regional capital of Simferopol.
Vasily Fedosenko Reuters /Landov

"Crimea's regional legislature on Tuesday adopted a 'declaration of independence of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea,' " The Associated Press reports. "The document specified that Crimea will become an independent state if its residents vote on Sunday in favor of joining Russia."

That's just one of several developments Tuesday as the crisis in Ukraine continues. Among the other news:

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7:36am

Tue March 11, 2014
The Two-Way

Confusion Reigns Over Missing Jet's Final Location

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 6:23 am

As the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has expanded, teams from many countries have been involved. This navigator was aboard a Vietnamese helicopter searching the waters off that nation's coast.
Hoang Dinh Nam AFP/Getty Images
This post has been updated.

There's no sign yet of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 — the Boeing 777 with 239 people aboard that disappeared early Saturday while on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

At the same time, there is confusion as to where authorities last spotted the jet.

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12:19pm

Mon March 10, 2014
The Two-Way

Edward Snowden Tells SXSW He'd Leak Those Secrets Again

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 1:11 pm

Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who has leaked large amounts of classified information about the agency's electronic surveillance programs, spoke via video to a sympathetic audience at South By Southwest Interactive on Monday.

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12:06pm

Mon March 10, 2014
The Two-Way

Mexican Drug Lord Shot Dead ... For Second Time

Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, in an image from one of the quasi-religious books his cartel distributed.
Heriberto Rodriguez MCT/Landov

Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, one of Mexico's reputed drug lords, has now been killed twice.

Well, perhaps we should say that he's been declared dead for the second time.

The head of "the cultlike, pseudo-Christian La Familia cartel" was supposedly killed back in December 2010 during a two-day shootout with police.

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10:54am

Mon March 10, 2014
The Two-Way

Sandy Hook Killer's Father Wishes His Son Hadn't Been Born

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 11:47 am

Flowers, candles and stuffed animals at a makeshift memorial in Newtown, Conn., the week after 20 children and 6 adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Eric Thayer Reuters/Landov

"How much do I beat up on myself about the fact that he's my son? A lot."

The New Yorker has posted a long piece based on six interviews with Peter Lanza, whose son Adam killed 20 first-graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, 2012.

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8:54am

Mon March 10, 2014

8:36am

Mon March 10, 2014
The Two-Way

Will Blood Be Shed In Crimea Before Diplomacy Can Work?

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 2:04 pm

Russian and Crimean flags were being waved during a pro-Russia rally Sunday in Simferopol's Lenin Square. Simferopol is the capital of Crimea, an autonomous region of Ukraine.
Filippo Monteforte AFP/Getty Images
  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Emily Harris reports from Kiev

Russia continues to try to wrest control of Crimea from Ukraine and now has an estimated 20,000 troops there, Bloomberg News reports.

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7:26am

Mon March 10, 2014
The Two-Way

Fate Of Missing Malaysia Airlines Plane Still A Mystery

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 3:26 pm

At Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Sunday, prayers were said for the 239 people who have been missing since flight MH370 disappeared.
Lai Seng Sin AP
We'll be updating this post throughout the day on Monday.

Nearly three days after the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, there's still no definitive trace of the Boeing 777 or the 239 people who were on board.

As of Monday evening in Malaysia, none of the clues so far had led searchers to the plane.

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1:47pm

Fri March 7, 2014
The Two-Way

Tommy John Remembers Dr. Jobe, 'One Of The Greatest Surgeons'

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 7:29 pm

Jobe was honored for the pioneering surgery he first performed on John's elbow in 1974." href="/post/tommy-john-remembers-dr-jobe-one-greatest-surgeons" class="noexit lightbox">
Retired baseball pitcher Tommy John, left, and Dr. Frank Jobe at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in July 2013. Jobe was honored for the pioneering surgery he first performed on John's elbow in 1974.
Mike Groll AP

His name is attached to a surgery that has saved many major league pitchers' careers.

But Tommy John knows that's an honor he came by thanks in large part to good luck.

"Fortunately for me, I was at the right place at the right time," he told All Things Considered host Melissa Block on Friday. "I happened to have one of the greatest surgeons of all time being the surgeon for the Los Angeles Dodgers."

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11:50am

Fri March 7, 2014
The Two-Way

'Memory Wound' Will Be Stark Reminder Of Norway's Massacre

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 9:44 am

This illustration, provided by artist Jonas Dahlberg, shows his vision for a "memory wound" near the Norwegian island where dozens of people died during an attack by a right-wing extremist in 2011.
Jonas Dahlbert Studio EPA/Landov

If you've had a chance to visit the Sept. 11 memorials at ground zero in Manhattan, the Pentagon and western Pennsylvania — or perhaps have been to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. — then you have a sense of the powerful emotions that such places can stir up.

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9:35am

Fri March 7, 2014

8:34am

Fri March 7, 2014
The Two-Way

Jobless Rate Ticks Up, But Job Growth Is Better Than Expected

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 11:14 am

The scene at a job fair for veterans earlier this year in Washington, D.C.
Mark Wilson Getty Images
This post has been updated.

The nation's unemployment rate edged up to 6.7 percent in February from 6.6 percent the month before, but employers added more jobs than expected, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday.

According to BLS, the number of jobs on public and private payrolls grew by 175,000 last month — about 25,000 more than economists had expected.

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7:00am

Fri March 7, 2014
The Two-Way

Russian Lawmakers Welcome Separatist Steps By Crimea

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 11:22 am

Vladimir Konstantinov (in purple tie) is the speaker of Crimea's parliament. He was welcomed with flowers Friday during his meeting with Valentina Matviyenko, speaker of Russia's upper house of parliament. She is at the far right of this photo.
Yuri Kadobnov AFP/Getty Images

One day after President Obama condemned steps taken by Crimea's parliament to leave Ukraine and join the Russian Federation, Russian lawmakers are welcoming such a move by Crimean separatists.

"Russia's parliament gave its defiant support Friday to Crimean lawmakers who want to see their region split from Ukraine and join Russia," CNN reports from Moscow.

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2:27pm

Thu March 6, 2014
The Two-Way

VIDEO: Dalai Lama Prays Senators Will 'Act With A Pure Mind'

The Dalai Lama delivers the opening prayer Thursday at the U.S. Senate.
C-SPAN.org

The U.S. Senate's opening prayer on Thursday was delivered by the Dalai Lama — in his words, "a simple Buddhist monk."

The Tibetan spiritual leader has been in the U.S. for several weeks and his itinerary has included a White House meeting with President Obama, over the strong objections of China. As The Associated Press puts it:

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1:58pm

Thu March 6, 2014
The Two-Way

Obama Condemns Russian 'Intervention' In Ukraine

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 6:06 am

In a news conference about the situation in Ukraine, President Obama said Thursday that the world is "well beyond the days when borders can be withdrawn over the heads of democratic leaders."
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Referring to Russia's actions in Crimea as an "intervention" and saying the U.S. will continue to "mobilize the international community to condemn this violation of international law," President Obama just delivered some of his most extensive remarks to date about the crisis in Ukraine.

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12:04pm

Thu March 6, 2014
The Two-Way

Claims And Counterclaims Fly As CIA And Senate Exchange Fire

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 1:59 pm

The seal of the CIA at the agency's headquarters in Virginia.
Greg E. Mathieson Sr. MAI/Landov

The Central Intelligence Agency and one of the congressional panels that oversees its work, the Senate Intelligence Committee, are in what looks to be an increasingly bitter battle over just who's been behaving improperly.

McClatchyDC and The New York Times have been rolling out stories this week about claims that the CIA may have been monitoring the work of the committee's staffers in recent years and that some of those congressional aides may have left CIA headquarters with classified documents that shouldn't leave that secure facility.

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9:41am

Thu March 6, 2014

9:02am

Thu March 6, 2014
The Two-Way

UPDATE: Massachusetts Bans 'Upskirt' Photos

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 2:29 pm

The groping of women and snapping of upskirt photos is a problem on mass transit systems around the world. East Japan Railway is among those systems that have created women-only cars to deal with the problem.
Yuriko Nakao Reuters /Landov

Update at 11:50 a.m. ET, March 7: Governor Signs New Ban:

"Two days after the state's highest court sparked outrage when it ruled that state law allows people to take such photos, Governor Deval Patrick signed a bill today to ban the practice, known as 'upskirting,' " the Boston Globe writes.

So the controversy we first posted about Thursday has led to quick action.

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7:45am

Thu March 6, 2014
The Two-Way

'We Are Ready To Protect Our Country,' Ukrainian Leader Says

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 1:25 pm

Demonstrators carried a Russian flag during a rally this week in the western Crimean city of Yevpatoria.
Genya Savilov AFP/Getty Images
We're updating this post as the day continues.

While conceding that his nation can't come close to the military power of Russia, the interim prime minister of Ukraine said Thursday that "we are ready to protect our country" if Russia does not stop its "military aggression" in Crimea.

Arseniy Yatsenyuk told reporters in Brussels, Belgium, that the presence of Russian forces in that autonomous region of his nation "is unacceptable in the 21st century."

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1:13pm

Wed March 5, 2014
The Two-Way

Putin Reportedly Joins List Of Nobel Peace Prize Nominees

Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Alexey Nikolsky AFP/Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin is among the 278 nominees for a 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, according to Peace Research Institute Oslo, an institution that closely tracks the Nobel committee's work.

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11:44am

Wed March 5, 2014
The Two-Way

Ex-IRS Official Invokes 5th Amendment Again, Then Things Get Hot

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 12:34 pm

Former IRS official Lois Lerner raises her hand as she's sworn in Wednesday at the start of a House Oversight & Government Reform Committee hearing. She declined to answer questions posed by Chairman Darrell Issa, invoking her Fifth Amendment right.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

As she's done before, the woman at the center of the political storm over the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of some conservative groups from 2010 into 2012 invoked her Fifth Amendment right not to answer questions during a brief appearance before a congressional committee on Wednesday.

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9:47am

Wed March 5, 2014
The Two-Way

Don't Worry, They Say, 100-Foot Asteroid Will Miss Us Today

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 11:56 am

A NASA artist's illustration depicts an asteroid belt around a star that the space agency says is "the same age and size as our Sun."
NASA/JPL-Caltech

Don't say you weren't warned.

But also don't worry, the experts say.

As we wrote last month when an asteroid measuring about 900 feet long passed near enough to Earth to generate headlines about a "close encounter," more rocks are always headed our way.

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8:58am

Wed March 5, 2014
The Two-Way

Job Growth Was Weak Again In February, ADP Survey Shows

The scene at a job fair last year in Emeryville, Calif.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Private employers added only 139,000 jobs to their payrolls in February and job growth in January was even less than previously thought, according to the latest ADP National Employment Report.

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7:58am

Wed March 5, 2014
The Two-Way

Overruled: Gov. Says Kentucky Will Appeal Same-Sex Marriage Order

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 9:54 am

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear
Bill Greenblatt UPI/Landov

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear says his state will hire outside counsel to appeal a federal judge's order to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages.

The governor's announcement follows word from the state's attorney general, Jack Conway, that his office will not pursue such an appeal.

Both men are Democrats.

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7:47am

Wed March 5, 2014
The Two-Way

Time For Tense Negotiations In Ukraine, Kerry Says

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 7:15 am

Armed men in unmarked military uniforms — who witnesses believe are Russian troops, but who Russian leaders say are "local self-defense" forces — stand outside the territory of a Ukrainian military unit in the Crimean village of Perevalnoye.
Maxim Shipenkov EPA/Landov

This post was updated at 5:10 p.m. ET.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said all sides agree that the crisis on the Crimean Peninsula must be resolved through dialogue, but he acknowledged there has yet to be one-on-one discussions between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart.

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2:18pm

Tue March 4, 2014
The Two-Way

'12 Years A Slave' Leads To Correction Of 161-Year-Old Story

In Twelve Years A Slave, Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Solomon Northup, who was kidnapped and sold into slavery.
Jaap Buitendijk Fox Searchlight Pictures

Here's something of another victory for new media over old media.

The New York Times on Tuesday corrected a 161-year-old report about the enslavement of Solomon Northup, after a Twitter user pointed out that the story had twice misspelled Northup's name — including in the headline.

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12:54pm

Tue March 4, 2014
The Two-Way

Obama's $3.9 Trillion Budget Would Produce $564 Billion Deficit

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 1:53 pm

Copies of President Obama's proposed budget for fiscal 2015, after they were delivered to the Senate Budget Committee on Tuesday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

As expected, President Obama on Tuesday unveiled a $3.9 trillion budget plan for fiscal 2015 that his number crunchers say would produce a $564 billion deficit.

The gap between spending and revenue, while large, would be down from more than $744 billion this fiscal year and a record $1.4 trillion in 2009 — a fiscal year that began when President George W. Bush was still in office. Since then, deficits during the Obama years have topped $1 trillion three times.

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11:20am

Tue March 4, 2014
The Two-Way

Kentucky Won't Appeal Order To Recognize Same-Sex Marriages

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 12:40 pm

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, pictured in January 2013, said that appealing the judge's order "would be defending discrimination."
Roger Alford AP

"Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway will not appeal a federal judge's order that the state must recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages," NPR member station WFPL reports from Louisville.

"From a constitutional perspective, Judge Heyburn got it right," Conway said in announcing his decision on Tuesday, the station adds.

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