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
7:15 am
Fri January 13, 2012

Marines Worried About Desecration Video's Impact On Afghan Operations

The uproar over a video that appears to show four U.S. Marines urinating on the bodies of three dead Taliban fighters in Afghanistan continues, and as we reported yesterday investigators believe they've identified two of the men and are vowing that if they're guilty of what seems to have happened they will be brought to justice.

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The Two-Way
2:40 pm
Thu January 12, 2012

In Alaska: Nome Still Waits For Fuel, Big Shovels Headed To Cordova

A member of the Alaska National Guard clearing a walkway in Cordova earlier this week.
Spc. Balinda O'Neal, Alaska National Guard AP

Originally published on Mon January 16, 2012 8:55 am

  • Tony Gorman, reporting from Valdez

It's hard to fathom from afar just how rough the weather has been in parts of Alaska for the past month or so. It's winter, sure. But things have been particularly brutal. And there seems to be no end in sight.

Here's some of the latest news about how thing are going:

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The Two-Way
10:50 am
Thu January 12, 2012

VIDEO: 'Sofia The Lion Tamer' Goes Nose-To-Nose With Big Cat

"Sofia the Lion Tamer."
YouTube.com

When 3-year-old Sofia Walker was with her family at New Zealand's Wellington Zoo last week, she had quite a close encounter with, as The New Zealand Herald says, a grumpy lion who didn't like having his breakfast disturbed.

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The Two-Way
10:05 am
Thu January 12, 2012

Stephen Colbert Looks For Fresh Face In GOP Race And Sees Himself

A Colbert candidacy?
ColbertNation.com

We've been through this with him before, so talk from Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert about running for president needs to be viewed with suspicion.

But he's at it again and promises a "major announcement" on his show tonight (it airs at 11:30 p.m. ET).

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The Two-Way
9:35 am
Thu January 12, 2012

Mine's Smaller! Claim About Tiny Frog Is Challenged

The tiny frog called Paedophryne amauensis, sitting on a dime.
Christopher Austin AFP/Getty Images

Sure, it's tiny. But is it the tiniest?

There's a frog in Papua New Guinea that researchers announced this week is "the smallest known vertebrate species" (that is, a creature with a spine).

It's so small, in fact, that the picture posted by the journal PLoS One with the scientists' report shows the little Paedophryne amauensis sitting on a dime with plenty of room to spare.

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The Two-Way
8:45 am
Thu January 12, 2012

Jobless Claims Jump Up By 24,000

Originally published on Thu January 12, 2012 10:24 am

The number of people filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance rose by 24,000 last week from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration reports. There were 399,000 such claims.

Also, "the 4-week moving average was 381,750, an increase of 7,750 from the previous week's revised average of 374,000," the agency says.

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The Two-Way
8:10 am
Thu January 12, 2012

Penn State Will Honor Paterno, School President Says

Joe Paterno, during a Penn State game last October.
Jim Prisching AP

Originally published on Thu January 12, 2012 8:13 am

Legendary football coach Joe Paterno, who lost his job at Penn State in the wake of the scandal over a former assistant's arrest on charges of sexually abusing young boys, will be honored by the school at some point, university President Rodney Erickson told alumni Wednesday evening.

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The Two-Way
7:30 am
Thu January 12, 2012

Judge Blocks Pardons Issued By Outgoing Mississippi Gov. Barbour

Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R).
Rogelio V. Solis AP

Originally published on Thu January 12, 2012 8:39 am

Most of the 203 pardons, clemencies and sentence reductions granted by outgoing Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) just before he left office Tuesday, which ignited a firestorm of criticism and controversy in the state, are now in legal limbo.

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The Two-Way
7:00 am
Thu January 12, 2012

Video Depicting Urination On Corpses Won't Derail Peace Talks, Taliban Says

Though experts are warning it will inflame anti-American sentiment in Afghanistan and hurt efforts to start peace talks with the Taliban, a video that appears to show four U.S. Marines urinating on the corpses of three Afghan men will not affect efforts to begin such negotiations, a Taliban spokesman tells Reuters.

"This is not the first time we see such brutality," the spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said.

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The Two-Way
5:30 pm
Wed January 11, 2012

Pentagon Disgusted, Marines Investigating Disturbing Video

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 5:31 pm

"The Marine Corps is promising to investigate a disturbing web video that appears to show [four] Marines in Afghanistan urinating on the bloody corpses of [three] alleged Taliban fighters," Gannett Co.'s Marine Corps Times reports.

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The Two-Way
4:40 pm
Wed January 11, 2012

Ethics Committee Releases Report On Rep. Hastings, Probe Will Continue

Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.)
Carl de Souza AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 4:57 pm

"The House Ethics Committee said Wednesday it needs more time to consider sexual harassment allegations against Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.)," The Associated Press writes, "but released a report in which the alleged victim detailed a pattern of sexually suggestive remarks and unwanted hugs."

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The Two-Way
3:15 pm
Wed January 11, 2012

How's The Economy? Federal Reserve Reports 'Ongoing Improvement'

As we've said before, to figure out what the Federal Reserve means when it reports about how the economy is doing and whether policymakers think it's doing better or worse, you need to carefully compare the central bank's latest words to what it has said in preceding months.

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The Two-Way
2:02 pm
Wed January 11, 2012

'El Gordo,' Galaxy With Mass 2 Quadrillion Times The Sun's, Discovered

"El Gordo" — the "big" or "fat" one in Spanish — as seen in a composite image produced by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory.
NASA/CXC/Rutgers/J.Hughes

Take the number 2. Put 15 zeroes behind it, as Space.com says:

2,000,000,000,000,000

Now, think about the news from this story at that website:

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The Two-Way
1:08 pm
Wed January 11, 2012

Hundreds Of Pardons, Some For Killers, Spark Outrage In Mississippi

Just before he left office this week, outgoing Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) issued more than 200 pardons or sentence reductions — including more than a dozen to persons convicted of murder, manslaughter or other death-related crimes. And that has sparked outrage and calls for changes in the law that gives the state's governor such authority.

The list of Barbour's executive orders in the last four days before his departure from office on Tuesday is posted here.

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The Two-Way
12:00 pm
Wed January 11, 2012

Natalie Wood's Death Still Looks Like An Accident, Investigators Say

Natalie Wood in 1960.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 12:01 pm

Two months after announcing they were going to take another look at the circumstances surrounding the 1981 death of actress Natalie Wood, authorities in Los Angeles are saying there's "no evidence to suggest that the cause was anything but accidental," the Los Angeles Times reports.

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The Two-Way
11:30 am
Wed January 11, 2012

Suspect In Natalee Holloway Case Pleads Guilty To Murder In Peru

Dutch national Joran Van der Sloot as he arrived for a court hearing earlier today (Jan. 11, 2012) at the Lurigancho prison in Lima.
Ernesto Benavides AFP/Getty Images

Joran van der Sloot, the main suspect in the 2005 disappearance of Alabama teen Natalee Holloway in Aruba, this morning pleaded guilty to the 2010 murder of a 21-year-old Peruvian woman, Stephany Flores, in Lima.

The Associated Press reports that van der Sloot told a court in Lima that "yes, I want to plead guilty. I wanted from the first moment to confess sincerely. ... I truly am sorry for this act. I feel very bad."

The wire service adds that:

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The Two-Way
6:10 pm
Tue January 10, 2012

New Hampshire Primary: Join Us For Live Updates

Here it is: The New Hampshire Republican presidential primary — the second significant vote of the 2012 presidential campaign.

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The Two-Way
2:24 pm
Mon January 9, 2012

White House Chief Of Staff Daley Stepping Down

White House Chief of Staff William Daley.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 10, 2012 7:20 am

White House Chief of Staff William Daley is stepping down from his post and will be replaced by Budget Director Jack Lew, NPR's Scott Horsley has confirmed.

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The Two-Way
1:50 pm
Mon January 9, 2012

20-Year Ban Put On Mining Claims Near Grand Canyon

A view into the Grand Canyon from the South Rim in Arizona.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 9, 2012 2:05 pm

The Obama administration just announced a 20-year federal ban "on new mining claims affecting a million acres near the Grand Canyon, an area known to be rich in high-grade uranium ore reserves," as The Associated Press writes.

And "in doing so," the wire service adds, "the administration brushed off pressure from congressional Republicans and mining industry figures who wanted a policy change."

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The Two-Way
12:12 pm
Mon January 9, 2012

In Alaska: Nome Waits For Fuel; Cordova Digs Out From 18-Feet Of Snow

They're running out of places to put the snow in Cordova, Alaska. This photo was taken on Saturday (Jan. 7, 2012).
Erv Petty/Alaska Div. of Homeland Security and Emergency Management AP

Winter continues to wallop Alaska with some weather and some challenges that even the seen-it-all locals seem to be amazed about.

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The Two-Way
10:45 am
Mon January 9, 2012

VIDEO: Bungee Cord Snaps; Woman Survives 365-Foot Plunge

Don't press play if you're don't like heights and scary thrills. But rest assured, 22-year-old Australian Erin Langworthy survived to tell the tale after her bungee cord broke on New Year's Eve during a jump from a bridge over the Zambezi River on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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The Two-Way
10:00 am
Mon January 9, 2012

Beer For Bowser? It's Been Around For A While

Our friends at Morning Edition picked up on the news from Newcastle, England, that The Branding Villa pub has created a non-alcoholic beer for dogs and is inviting its customers to bring their four-legged friends in to have a pint or two.

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The Two-Way
8:15 am
Mon January 9, 2012

Steelers Dared Tebow To Beat Them, And He Did

Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow celebrates after beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 29-23 in overtime of an NFL wild card playoff football game on Sunday, (Jan. 8, 2012).
Chris Schneider AP

Originally published on Mon January 9, 2012 8:18 am

  • David Greene and Tom Goldman talk football

Just as football fans around the country (outside of Denver, that is) were thinking that Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow was out of miracles because he hadn't played well in recent weeks, he came through Sunday on the first play of overtime against the favored Pittsburgh Steelers.

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The Two-Way
7:30 am
Mon January 9, 2012

VIDEO: Rep. Giffords Leads Crowd In 'Pledge' At Tucson Memorial

One year to the day after a gunman opened fire during a Tucson meet-and-greet with her constituents — killing six people and wounding 13 — the still-recovering Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) on Sunday spoke for the first time since then at a public event.

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The Two-Way
7:00 am
Mon January 9, 2012

Iran Sentences Former U.S. Marine To Death, Accused Him Of Spying

An American man has been sentenced to death in Iran after a court there convicted him of working for the CIA and going to the Persian nation to spy.

The family of Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, a 28-year-old former U.S. Marine, says he was in Iran to visit his grandmothers.

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The Two-Way
7:00 am
Sun January 8, 2012

At One Maryland Prison, They're 'Knitting Behind Bars'

Yarn. It's good for you.
Michael Brandy AP

Originally published on Sun January 8, 2012 7:03 am

  • Lynn Zwerling talks with Michel Martin

This blogger's mom was a knitter. She and a friend made hundreds of knit caps that went to children in Rochester, N.Y. Some made their way to a village in Afghanistan when her youngest son went there on assignment for USA Today in 2002 and 2003.

Watching her, it always seemed as if knitting was calming and challenging at the same time. It's repetitive, yet also has to be done precisely right if you want to succeed. And if you mess up, you may have to unravel and start over.

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The Two-Way
2:00 pm
Fri January 6, 2012

Mountain Dew Mouse Story Goes Viral

No, he wasn't going extreme, Pepsi says.
Eric Isselee iStockphoto.com

We thought the World Wide Web was supposed to make information fly.

But now we have to question that notion.

It's taken a year and a half for us to hear that Pepsi is defending itself against a lawsuit claiming that a mouse was found in a can of Mountain Dew by saying that the furry little creature couldn't have been there because:

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The Two-Way
12:00 pm
Fri January 6, 2012

U.S. Navy Reports Rescuing 13 Iranians From Somali Pirates

Thursday: The guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd responds to a distress call from the master of the Iranian-flagged fishing dhow Al Molai.
U.S. Navy photo

A team from the aircraft carrier strike force group that Iran threatened earlier this week has rescued 13 Iranian sailors who were being held by Somali pirates for several weeks, the U.S. Navy reports.

In a statement issued this morning, the Navy says:

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