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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The Two-Way
7:34 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Come Aboard! Here's What The 'Titanic II' Will Look Like, Inside And Out

An artist's image of the Titanic II.
Blue Star Line UPI /Landov

Declaring it will be the safest cruise ship in the world and will have more than enough lifeboats just in case something goes wrong, the designer of what's supposed to be a replica of the Titanic has unveiled images of what the Titanic II will look like, inside and out.

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The Two-Way
6:04 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Reports: U.S. Eyeing 'Direct' Aid To Syrian Rebels, Though Not Weapons

Rebel fighters in Aleppo, Syria, in January.
Thomas Rassloff DPA /LANDOV

"The Obama administration is moving toward a major policy shift on Syria that could provide rebels there with equipment such as body armor and armored vehicles, and possibly military training, and could send humanitarian assistance directly to Syria's opposition political coalition," The Washington Post reports. It cites as its sources "U.S. and European officials."

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The Two-Way
4:58 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Sometimes 'The Lord Seemed To Sleep,' Pope Says In Farewell

Pope Benedict XVI as he arrived on the altar in St. Peter's Square Wednesday for his last general audience.
Gabriel Bouys AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 9:37 am

Bidding an emotional farewell to a huge crowd gathered in The Vatican's St. Peter's Square, Pope Benedict XVI indirectly acknowledged Wednesday that his nearly 8 years as head of the Roman Catholic Church have not always been easy.

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The Two-Way
1:33 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Liberal SuperPAC Under Fire For Tweets About McConnell's 'Chinese' Wife

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and his wife Elaine Chao at last summer's Republican National Convention in Tampa.
Mike Thelier UPI /Landov

From NPR member station WFPL:

"A Democratic group is under sharp criticism for controversial online messages about Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's wife.

"For months, the liberal superPAC Progress Kentucky has attacked McConnell and held demonstrations at his offices and home.

"Recently, the group turned its attention to McConnell's wife, former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, with a focus on her race.

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The Two-Way
8:49 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Donations Pour In For Homeless Man Who Returned Ring He Got By Mistake

Billy Ray Harris.
GiveForward.com/billyray

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 9:48 am

Nearly $152,000 has been donated online to help Billy Ray Harris, a homeless man in Kansas City who returned an engagement ring to the woman who accidentally left it in a cup he uses to collect change.

Here's his good news story:

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The Two-Way
8:27 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Home Sales, Consumer Confidence And Bernanke All On Positive Side

Today's economic indicators all point up:

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The Two-Way
7:28 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Winter Weary Central Plains States Getting Walloped Again

While severe winter weather has caused problems for many in the Great Plains, it has also provided some opportunities for fun. On Monday, Simon Mourning (front) and Chance Cain went sliding in Wichita, Kansas.
Travis Heying/Wichita Eagle MCT /Landov

"Another blizzard bore down on the nation's midsection early Tuesday after lashing the Texas Panhandle with hurricane-force winds, closing highways and cutting power to thousands in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas," The Associated Press writes. It adds that "at least two people were killed in the storm, and Midwesterners still digging out from last week's deep snowpack braced for more."

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The Two-Way
6:57 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Today's 3 'Should-Read' Stories About The Sequester

The U.S. Capitol, as seen from the nearby Russell Senate Office Building.
Jonathan Ernst Reuters /Landov

As Friday's deadline approaches, we're pointing to stories that should help everyone get ready for "the sequester" — the $85 billion worth of across-the-board cuts in federal spending that would begin to kick in that day if lawmakers don't strike some sort of deal before then. (We won't call them "must-reads" because we'd never want to tell anyone that they "must" read anything about this subject. Let's refer to them as "should-reads.")

First, consider this:

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The Two-Way
6:15 am
Tue February 26, 2013

'The Worm' Turns Up In North Korea: Dennis Rodman Is On Visit

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman, in the departure hall of Beijing Capital International Airport on Tuesday, before his flight to North Korea.
Andy Wong AP

This comes from The Associated Press, not The Onion:

"PYONGYANG, North Korea — Former NBA star Dennis Rodman brought his basketball skills Tuesday and flamboyant style — neon-bleached hair, tattoos, nose studs and all — to the isolated communist country with possibly the world's drabbest dress code: North Korea.

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The Two-Way
5:17 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Tourist Tragedy In Egypt: Hot Air Balloon Catches Fire; Many Aboard Killed

The wreckage of a hot air balloon and its gondola lay in a field near Luxor, Egypt, on Tuesday. A fire and subsequent crash killed many of those who were aboard the tourist flight.
Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 12:08 pm

The final death toll has not yet been determined, but the number is high. A hot air balloon carrying tourists on a flight over historic sites around the ancient Egyptian city of Luxor caught fire Tuesday. It then plunged to the ground.

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The Two-Way
12:51 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

101-Year-Old 'Turbaned Tornado' Retires From Running

Fauja Singh, the 101-year-old "turbaned tornado," with other runners Sunday in Hong Kong.
Jayne Russell Getty Images

Fauja Singh has decided, at the age of 101, to put his feet up and rest.

Or, at least, to stop participating in long-distance races.

The Indian-born British citizen known as the "turbaned tornado" was among the competitors Sunday at a 10-kilometer race in Hong Kong. According to Sports Illustrated, he completed the 6.2-mile course in 1 hour, 32 minutes and 28 seconds.

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The Two-Way
11:16 am
Mon February 25, 2013

At Nuclear Talks: West Will Float 'Sanctions Relief;' Iran Will Take 'Hard Line'

Talks between the U.S., its allies and Iran about the Persian giant's nuclear ambitions are due to begin Tuesday in Almaty, Kazakhstan. As the time draws near, we're seeing stories about how each side will approach the discussions.

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The Two-Way
10:52 am
Mon February 25, 2013

'The Onion' Apologizes For Offensive Tweet About 9-Year-Old Quvenzhane Wallis

Actress Quvenzhane Wallis.
Imeh Akpanudosen Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 12:10 pm

This isn't a joke.

Steve Hannah, CEO of The Onion has issued a personal apology on behalf of the satirical news outlet for a tweet that someone on its staff sent out late Sunday night during the Oscars awards.

The subject was 9-year-old actress Quvenzhané Wallis, star of Beasts of the Southern Wild. The tweet read:

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The Two-Way
9:11 am
Mon February 25, 2013

Seth MacFarlane: Crude Or Classy? Delightful Or A Dolt? You Be The Critic

Host Seth MacFarlane backstage during the Oscars ceremony Sunday night in Hollywood.
Christopher Polk Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 11:04 am

The reviews of Seth MacFarlane's performance as host of the Oscars are in and they're all over the place.

NPR's Linda Holmes thinks the bad boy behind Family Guy was "predictably juvenile" and offensive. She concludes it was "one of the worst hosting performances in Oscar history."

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The Two-Way
7:58 am
Mon February 25, 2013

A Year Later, Trayvon Martin's Mother Hopes For Justice And Change

Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 8:32 am

  • Sybrina Fulton on 'Tell Me More'
  • Attorney Benjamin Crump on 'Tell Me More'

One year ago Tuesday, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in Sanford, Fla., — a death that would reignite the national debate about race relations and raise questions about the "stand your ground" laws on the books in Florida and 29 other states.

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The Two-Way
6:04 am
Mon February 25, 2013

Trial Set To Start On BP's Responsibility For Gulf Oil Spill

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig burned on April 21, 2010.
U.S. Coast Guard Getty Images
  • From 'Morning Edition'

There is speculation about a last minute settlement. But if that doesn't happen, a federal judge in New Orleans will today begin hearing arguments about BP's liability for the 2010 oil rig explosion and spill in the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11 men and led to one of the biggest environmental disasters in the nation's history.

At stake: Billions of dollars in potential penalties.

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The Two-Way
5:29 am
Mon February 25, 2013

Pope Moves Up Start Of Conclave; British Cardinal Resigns Amid Allegations

Then-Cardinal Keith O'Brien, archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh, at St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City last week.
Franco Origlia Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 6:46 am

On the Monday of Pope Benedict XVI's final week as leader of the Roman Catholic Church begins, there's word that:

-- Britain's most senior Roman Catholic cleric has resigned and will not be taking part in the conclave of cardinals that will select the next pope. As NPR's Philip Reeves reports from London, "Cardinal Keith O'Brien's decision was announced a day after revelations that he behaved inappropriately with several priests."

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The Two-Way
12:14 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

FBI Raids The Scooter Store; Will TSA Crack Down On 'Wheelchair Miracles'?

Scooter Store ads are ubiquitous.
PR Newswire

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 4:47 pm

Somehow, the image of a slow-speed chase comes to mind:

Federal agents have "wrapped up their search of The Scooter Store's offices in New Braunfels," the San Antonio Express-News reports.

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The Two-Way
10:17 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Dead Mice Are Going To Be Dropped On Guam From Helicopters (Really)

Orlando Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 1:38 pm

Here's the latest plan scientists have come up with to kill some of the estimated 2 million brown tree snakes that have wiped out many other animals on Guam:

In April or May they're going to lace dead mice with painkillers, attach them to little parachutes, drop them from helicopters and hope that they get snagged in the jungle foliage. Then, if all goes well, the snakes — which as their name implies hang out in trees — will eat the mice and die from ingesting the painkillers' active ingredients.

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The Two-Way
5:20 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Pistorius Granted Bail

Oscar Pistorius, standing at the dock Friday in a Pretoria courtroom.
Mike Hutchings Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 8:54 am

10:55 a.m. ET: Declaring that Olympic and Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius "has made a case to be released on bail," a South African magistrate on Friday set the stage for Pistorius to be set free while he awaits trial on the charge that he murdered his girlfriend.

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The Two-Way
1:06 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Pretty Picture: Mount Etna Boils Over; NASA Adds Color To Shot From Space

Sicily's Mount Etna early this week, as seen from space. The bright red is lava. Snow is blue-green. Clouds are white. "Shortwave infrared, near infrared, and green light" combine to produce the colors.
NASA

Sicily's Mount Etna has been blowing off steam, and lava, this week. NASA's Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite flew over it on Wednesday and took an image that "combines shortwave infrared, near infrared, and green light in the red, green, and blue channels."

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The Two-Way
11:46 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Tough Turkeys Are Taking Over A California Town

You talking to me? (A turkey on New York's Staten Island; who's probably just as intimidating, if not more, than those in California.)
Jonathan Fickies Landov

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 11:59 am

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The Two-Way
8:46 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Existing Home Sales Rise Again; 'Seller's Market Is Developing,' Realtors Say

A "for sale" sign in San Francisco last summer.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Sales of existing homes rose 0.4 percent in January from December and were up 9.1 percent from January 2012, the National Association of Realtors reports.

The trade group also says "a seller's market is developing and home prices continue to rise."

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The Two-Way
8:11 am
Thu February 21, 2013

L.A. Hotel Where Body Was Found In Water Tank Has 'Long, Dark History'

The Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles, which advertises "low monthly rates."
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 8:44 am

  • From KPCC: Chris Nichols speaks with Susanne Whatley about the Cecil Hotel

(Feb. 22, 7:15 a.m. ET: Scroll down for an update. "The water's safe, authorities say.")

The gruesome discovery this week of a young woman's body inside a rooftop water tank at the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles is not the Cecil's first brush with such notoriety, as Southern California Public Radio's KPCC reports.

Chris Nichols, associate editor at Los Angeles Magazine, told KPCC about the hotel's "long, dark history."

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The Two-Way
6:48 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Inflation Was In Check Last Month; Jobless Claims Jumped Last Week

Gasoline prices at a station in Encinitas, Calif., earlier this week.
Mike Blake Reuters /Landov

Consumer prices were flat in January, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says. But a driving force behind that good news has reversed itself since then. According to BLS, gasoline prices fell 3 percent last month. In February, though, gas prices have risen sharply. So watch for next month's BLS report on consumer prices to tell a different story.

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The Two-Way
6:29 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Who's Been Hacked By China? Better Question Might Be: Who Hasn't?

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 6:51 am

This week's stories about alleged cyberthieves based in China have news outlets chasing related angles. Today's include:

-- "Chinese Cyberspies Have Hacked Most Washington Institutions, Experts Say."

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The Two-Way
5:59 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Pistorius Case Dealt 'Serious Blows'; Detective Faces Own Shooting Charges

Oscar Pistorius as he entered a court in Pretoria on Thursday.
Mike Hutchings Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 9:03 am

Update at 10 a.m. ET. New Lead Investigator:

A new lead investigator has been appointed in the murder case against South African athlete Oscar Pistorius, The Associated Press reports from Pretoria. That announcement follows the news from earlier Thursday, as we reported below, that the detective who had been in charge of the case faces attempted murder charges of his own stemming from a 2011 shooting incident.

Our original post:

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The Two-Way
12:16 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Former Sen. Domenici Reveals 'Son Born In Secrecy'

Former Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M.
Madeline Marshall UPI /Landov

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 2:19 pm

Stepping forward now because he thought others were about to "breach this privacy," former New Mexico Sen. Pete Domenici has told the Albuquerque Journal that he fathered a son outside of his marriage more than 30 years ago.

The mother is Michelle Laxalt, the daughter of another prominent Republican politician — former Nevada Sen. and Gov. Paul Laxalt. Their son is Adam Paul Laxalt, a lawyer in Nevada according to the Journal.

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The Two-Way
8:59 am
Wed February 20, 2013

OfficeMax, Office Depot Confirm Merger Deal

Justin Sullivan Getty Images

The deal has been talked about for days. Now it's official:

"OfficeMax Incorporated and Office Depot, Inc. today announced the signing of a definitive merger agreement," reads a statement posted online by Office Depot.

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