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
7:30 am
Mon February 6, 2012

Syrian Regime Has 'License To Kill' After Diplomatic Impasse, Activists Say

Activists say this image, taken from a video uploaded to YouTube, shows Syrians outside a field hospital in Homs earlier today. Blood stains the sidewalk. Because few foreign journalists are inside Syria, images such as this cannot be independently verified.
AFP/Getty Images
  • Steve Inskeep talks with Kelly McEvers about the violence in Homs

People in Homs, Syria, say government forces are shelling the city and that at least 15 to 20 people have died so far today. The renewed attacks follow an even deadlier weekend barrage — human rights groups say government forces killed about 200 people in Homs on Saturday, making it perhaps the bloodiest day since opposition protests began last spring.

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The Two-Way
3:20 pm
Fri February 3, 2012

Winklevoss Twins May Reap $300 Million From Facebook IPO

Tyler (left) and Cameron Winklevoss.
Thomas Samson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 3, 2012 3:23 pm

Before we finish the week, we have to pass on at least one more story related to Facebook's plan to raise about $5 billion with its first sale of shares to the public.

It seems that Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss — the "Winklevii" twins — could get up to $300 million worth of Facebook shares when the deal goes through.

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The Two-Way
1:40 pm
Fri February 3, 2012

'Anonymous' Follows Hacking Of FBI-Scotland Yard Phone Call With Attacks

The Greek Ministry of Justice website after it was hacked earlier today.
Louisa Gouliamaki AFP/Getty Images

A day that began with the Anonymous hackers posting a nearly 17-minute recording of a conference call between officials of the FBI and Scotland Yard has been followed with some tweeted taunting of law enforcement and the news media, and the hacking of websites for the Greek Ministry of Justice, Boston Police Department and lawyers who defended a U.S. Marine at the center of the killing of 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians.

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The Two-Way
11:35 am
Fri February 3, 2012

Komen Foundation Now Says It Will Continue Grants To Planned Parenthood

Originally published on Fri February 3, 2012 2:14 pm

The Susan G. Komen Foundation just announced it will be providing grants to Planned Parenthood for that organization to use in basic screening and educating women about breast cancer.

"We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants, while maintaining the ability of our affiliates to make funding decisions that meet the needs of their communities."

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The Two-Way
11:03 am
Fri February 3, 2012

Reports: Two American Women Freed In Egypt

NBC News, al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya are reporting that police in Egypt say two American women and an Egyptian tour guide have been released by gunmen who kidnapped them earlier today near the Red Sea

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The Two-Way
10:20 am
Fri February 3, 2012

Baseball's Josh Hamilton Reportedly Suffers Relapse; Seen Drinking At Bar

Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers during last year's World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Ezra Shaw Getty Images

Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers, one of baseball's biggest stars and someone who has been battling addiction demons for the last decade, was spotted drinking alcohol at a Dallas bar on Monday, the local Morning News has reported.

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The Two-Way
8:32 am
Fri February 3, 2012

Unemployment Rate Edges Down To 8.3 Percent

Originally published on Fri February 3, 2012 9:41 am

The nation's unemployment rate dipped to 8.3 percent in January from 8.5 percent the month before as private employers added 257,000 jobs to their payrolls, the Bureau of Labor Statistics just reported. Overall, after a small drop at government agencies, employment grew by 243,000.

We'll add more from the report momentarily.

Update at 9:40 a.m. ET. White House, Republican Reactions:

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The Two-Way
8:20 am
Fri February 3, 2012

Egypt Roiling: Deaths At Protests; Two Americans Reportedly Kidnapped

In Cairo earlier today, a masked Egyptian protester prepared to throw back a tear gas canister fired by security forces.
Mahmud Hams AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 3, 2012 8:23 am

The news from Egypt is grim again today:

-- "At least two people have been shot and killed in the Egyptian city of Suez, as police used live rounds to hold back crowds during a protest over security forces' failure to prevent a deadly football riot," al-Jazeera reports. And it adds that "one person was killed in Cairo just feet away from the Interior Ministry, as police in Cairo set off salvos of tear gas and fired birdshot."

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The Two-Way
7:55 am
Fri February 3, 2012

Freddie Mac's Regulator 'Completely Puzzled' By Allegations Of Conflict

Federal Housing Finance Agency Acting Director Edward DeMarco during testimony before Congress in December.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images
  • Steve Inskeep speaks with Edward DeMarco

Saying he is "completely puzzled by the notion that there was something immoral that went on here," the man at the top of the agency that regulates Freddie Mac has explained why he believes the taxpayer-owned mortgage company did nothing wrong when one of its arms, as NPR and ProPublica have reported, "placed multibillion-dollar bets against American homeowners being able to refinance to cheaper mortgages."

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The Two-Way
7:15 am
Fri February 3, 2012

Iran Defiant Amid Talk Of Israeli Attack On Its Nuclear Sites

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in 2009.
Behrouz Mehri AFP/Getty Images

"We have our own threats to impose at the right time" and "I have no fear of saying that we will back and help any nation or group that wants to confront and fight against the Zionist regime (Israel)," Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said today after reports surfaced that Israel could soon mount air strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities.

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The Two-Way
9:50 am
Thu February 2, 2012

Angelo Dundee, 'Savvy Cornerman' For Ali And Others, Has Died

Angelo Dundee and boxer Cassius Clay (later Muhammad Ali), during a training session in 1966.
George Freston Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

We should pause to note the death of Angelo Dundee, the "genial trainer" of 15 world champion boxers, most notably Muhammad Ali.

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The Two-Way
8:45 am
Thu February 2, 2012

Jobless Claims Fell By 12,000 Last Week

The number of Americans filing first-time claims for jobless benefits fell by 12,000 last week, to 367,000 from 379,000 the week before, the Employment and Training Administration just reported.

The agency also said that "the 4-week moving average was 375,750, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week's revised average of 377,750."

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The Two-Way
8:20 am
Thu February 2, 2012

Same-Sex Marriage Bill Easily Clears Key Hurdle In Washington State

Sen. Ed Murray, D,, left, and his partner Michael Shiosaka wave at spectators in the upper gallery after the Washington state Senate voted for a proposal to legalize same-sex marriage.
Elaine Thompson AP

"In the end, it wasn't even close," The Seattle Times writes this morning.

By a 28-21 vote early Wednesday evening, the Washington State Senate approved a bill legalizing gay marriage in the state.

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The Two-Way
7:50 am
Thu February 2, 2012

Anger, Blame And Protests In Egypt After Deadly Soccer Riot

Fans rushed on to the field Wednesday after the soccer match in Port Said, Egypt.
AFP/Getty Images

The tragic riot following a soccer game Wednesday in Port Said, Egypt, which left more than 70 people dead and at least 1,000 wounded, "highlights the problems with security in this country," NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson said earlier today in a conversation with Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep.

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The Two-Way
7:10 am
Thu February 2, 2012

Punxsutawney Phil Sees Six More Weeks Of Winter

Punxsutawney Phil and his buddies earlier today.
Gene J. Puskar AP

Breaking "news" at 7:27 a.m. ET: Punxsutawney Phil predicts six more weeks of winter. He saw "many shadows."

Our original post:

It's that time again.

Time for Americans to pause and watch as a Pennsylvania groundhog supposedly tells us whether we will or won't have six more weeks of winter.

Punxsutawney Phil is due to emerge from his "burrow" at 7:20 a.m ET.

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The Two-Way
7:00 am
Thu February 2, 2012

Ferry Sinks Off Papua New Guinea: 200+ Rescued, But 100+ Missing

Two life rafts from the MV Rabaul Queen, seen from a helicopter, float in the open waters off Papua New Guinea's east coast, earlier today (Feb. 2, 2012).
AP

Originally published on Thu February 2, 2012 7:17 am

"Rescuers have plucked 238 survivors from waters off Papua New Guinea after a ferry carrying up to 350 people sank," officials tell The Australian. The newspaper adds that officials say it's too early to declare whether the vessel was overloaded and what caused the disaster.

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The Two-Way
4:55 pm
Mon January 30, 2012

Japanese Auto Parts Companies To Pay $548M In Fines For Price-Fixing

Originally published on Mon January 30, 2012 5:21 pm

One of the biggest antitrust investigations in the nation's history has led to fines of $470 million against one Japanese auto parts manufacturer and $78 million against another, the U.S. Justice Department announced today.

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The Two-Way
2:35 pm
Mon January 30, 2012

Republicans, Democrats Aren't That Far Apart, Study Says

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, listening last week as President Obama (a Democrat) gave his State of the Union address.
Saul Loeb/pool Getty Images

If creatures from another planet are listening in on what our politicians and pundits have to say, they might think Democrats and Republicans are about as far apart politically as possible.

But there's new research that supports what many people already suspect: Most "real" Republicans and Democrats (that is, average Americans who have busy lives and aren't running for office or talking on TV), aren't that different when it comes to politics.

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The Two-Way
1:25 pm
Mon January 30, 2012

Secretary Clinton Heading To U.N. For Session Condemning Syrian Regime

Originally published on Mon January 30, 2012 2:56 pm

As reports come in about an escalation in fighting around Damascus and the deploying of army troops in the city's suburbs, the State Department just announced that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will go to the United Nations on Tuesday to join other nations in condemning the Assad regime's use of violence.

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The Two-Way
5:30 pm
Fri January 27, 2012

'Welcome Home Heroes' Parade For Iraq Vets Set For Saturday In St. Louis

Veterans of the war in Iraq will be honored Saturday morning in St. Louis in what organizers say is the first major welcome home parade in the nation.

Local KSDK-TV reports that "75 floats, two marching bands and the Budweiser Clydesdales" will be involved.

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The Two-Way
4:30 pm
Fri January 27, 2012

Multiple Views Add Perspective To Colten Moore's Extreme Crash At X Games

Colten Moore lost his hold on his snowmobile in mid-air.
X Games

The cable news networks have been replaying a pretty spectacular crash from Thursday's snowmobile freestyle event at the X Games in Aspen, Colo.

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The Two-Way
3:45 pm
Fri January 27, 2012

In Egypt: Charges, Trial Could Be Next, Says Sam LaHood

While he says it is "patently false" for anyone to say that the International Republican Institute offices he directs are in any way behind the anti-government protests in Egypt, American Sam LaHood told All Things Considered host Melissa Block this afternoon that he's been warned by the organization's attorney that he and others may soon be charged and brought to trial by authorities there.

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The Two-Way
3:15 pm
Fri January 27, 2012

Facebook's IPO Filing Could Come Next Week, 'Wall Street Journal' Says

Originally published on Fri January 27, 2012 3:17 pm

We've been hearing it would happen for quite a while, so keep that in mind when you read this scoop. The Wall Street Journal says:

"Facebook Inc. could file papers for an initial public offering as early as next week and is currently looking at a deal that would value the social network between $75 billion to $100 billion, said people familiar with the matter."

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The Two-Way
2:50 pm
Fri January 27, 2012

'Barefoot Bandit' Gets 6 1/2 Years On Federal Charges

Colton Harris-Moore, the "Barefoot Bandit."
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Fri January 27, 2012 2:55 pm

Colton Harris-Moore, who gained international fame for being the so-called Barefoot Bandit, was just sentenced by a federal judge to 6 1/2 years in prison.

But since the time is to be served while he finishes out the 7 years in prison that he was sentenced to by a state court last December, it looks like Harris-Moore won't actually be spending any additional time behind bars.

The Associated Press reminds us that in 2010:

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The Two-Way
1:55 pm
Fri January 27, 2012

Why Could Romney's Father Run For President If He Was Born In Mexico?

George Romney, center, with his wife, Lenore, and teenage son Mitt, in 1962.
AP

Originally published on Fri January 27, 2012 2:29 pm

One of the more dramatic moments in Thursday night's Republican presidential debate was when Mitt Romney said it was "repulsive" of Newt Gingrich to suggest that Romney was the most "anti-immigrant" candidate among the GOP contenders.

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The Two-Way
11:25 am
Fri January 27, 2012

Spokesman Rejects Report That Ron Paul 'Signed Off' On Racist Newsletters

Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, during Thursday night's Republican presidential debate in Jacksonville, Fla.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 27, 2012 1:11 pm

For more than a decade, Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has had to deal with questions about why a newsletter he published in the 1980s and '90s included some racist writings. He's said more than once that, while he takes responsibility for what was in the newsletters, he didn't pay enough attention to what was printed, wasn't aware of the racist messages at the time and rejects them.

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The Two-Way
6:50 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

Later Tonight: Live Blogging The Latest GOP Debate

With just four full days to go before Tuesday's crucial Florida primary, the four remaining major Republican presidential candidates gather tonight for another debate.

This time the setting is the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. The host network is CNN. The network's Wolf Blitzer will moderate. The other sponsors are the Republican Party of Florida and the Hispanic Leadership Network, a center-right advocacy group.

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The Two-Way
5:10 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

McCain Says History Will Judge Obama Harshly On Policy Toward Iran

Sen. John McCain, right, as he endorsed Mitt Romney's bid for the presidency earlier this month.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

President Obama has made the case that his administration spoke out forcefully when Iran's government used deadly force to suppress protests in the spring of 2009.

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