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
9:14 am
Fri October 28, 2011

Find Your Spot Among World's 7 Billion And Meet The 'Most Typical Person'

National Geographic's composite sketch of the world's most typical person (left) and the real Mu Li.

CBS/National Geographic

Maybe you haven't heard yet, but the world's population is set to hit 7 billion people on Monday. At least that's what the United Nations Population Fund says.

Most news outlets are already covering the story or have plans to (Morning Edition has a four-part series scheduled for next week).

Two reports this week caught our attention.

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The Two-Way
7:50 am
Fri October 28, 2011

Consumer Spending Rose In September, But At Expense Of Savings

There was a 0.6 percent increase in consumer spending in September vs. August, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reports. The increase was much larger than the 0.2 pecent gain in August from July.

But personal income grew only 0.1 percent last month — meaning that consumers dug into their savings in order to boost spending. According to the bureau: "Personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income was 3.6 percent in September, compared with 4.1 percent in August."

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The Two-Way
7:35 am
Fri October 28, 2011

International Criminal Court Confirms 'Indirect' Talks With Gadhafi Son

Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, in Tripoli on Aug. 23, 2011.

Imed Lamloum AFP/Getty Images

Officials of the International Criminal Court are having "indirect" talks with Saif al-Islam Gadhafi about his possible surrender, the ICC's prosecutor told The Associated Press and other news outlets today.

Saif al-Islam, one of Moammar Gadhafi's sons, once was seen as the heir apparent to the former Libyan dictator.

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The Two-Way
7:05 am
Fri October 28, 2011

Report: Prominent Obama Fundraisers Have Ties To Lobbyists

"Despite a pledge not to take money from lobbyists, President Obama has relied on prominent supporters who are active in the lobbying industry to raise millions of dollars for his re-election bid," The New York Times reports this morning.

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The Two-Way
6:32 am
Fri October 28, 2011

British Princesses To Be Equal To Princes In Line Of Succession

April 29, 2011: Their Royal Highnesses Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge kiss on the balcony at Buckingham Palace after their wedding.

Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

"Sons and daughters of any future U.K. monarch will have equal right to the throne" under royalty succession reforms agreed to today by all 16 Commonwealth countries, the BBC reports.

And under the new rules, British kings and queens will no longer be banned from marrying Roman Catholics — though the rule barring a Catholic from becoming king or queen will remain.

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The Two-Way
5:54 am
Fri October 28, 2011

Top Stories: Cards Win, Markets May Dip, Bangkok Braces For More Flooding

Good morning.

If you're looking for the score and a heads-up on the key moments from last night's World Series action, we've got that here:

-- Cards Win On 11th-Inning Freese Clout; Force Game 7. St. Louis beat Texas 10-9 thanks to a dramatic solo home run in the 11th inning from third baseman David Freese.

As for other stories making headlines, they include:

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The Two-Way
11:05 am
Thu October 27, 2011

Our Heads Are Spinning: U.S. Skater Nailed First 'Quadruple Lutz'

Figure skater Brandon Mroz.

Harry How Getty Images

The sports channel in our brains was tuned to baseball and the World Series yesterday, so we missed this announcement from the world of figure skating:

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The Two-Way
10:27 am
Thu October 27, 2011

Arrests Made In Alleged $1 Billion Disability Scheme On Long Island

An alleged scandal involving doctors, a union president and hundreds of Long Island Rail Road workers led to the arrest of 10 people today on charges related to what officials say was a scam that paid an estimated $1 billion in disability benefits to people who didn't deserve them.

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The Two-Way
9:17 am
Thu October 27, 2011

Six Animals That Survived Ohio Tragedy To Be Given To Owner's Wife

(A new lede was put on this story at 2:35 p.m. ET)

As the widow of the Ohio man who last week paralyzed a community by releasing 56 lions, tigers, bears and other exotic animals from his farm came this afternoon to claim the six creatures who survived, the Ohio Department of Agriculture put a stop to her plans.

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The Two-Way
7:58 am
Thu October 27, 2011

Real-Life 'Slumdog Millionaire': Poor Clerk Wins $1M On Indian Game Show

Sushil Kumar, left, with Bollywood actor and game show host Amitabh Bachchan, shows off his $1 million check.

AP

In a case of life imitating the movies, a young man in India who earns about $120 a month as a government office worker has won $1 million on his country's version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.

Sushil Kumar, the first person to win $1 million on an Indian show, is now something of a real-life Slumdog Millionaire, the rags-to-riches tale from 2008 that won an Oscar for Best Picture.

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The Two-Way
7:03 am
Thu October 27, 2011

Cities Aim To Control 'Occupy' Protests, But Oakland Clashes Loom Large

Tuesday in Oakland: An Occupy protester and police.

Kimihiro Hoshino AFP/Getty Images

Scott Olsen, a 24-year-old veteran of the Iraq War, is hospitalized in Oakland with a skull fracture. Tuesday night he suffered, as the Oakland Tribune says, "the first serious injury nationwide in the Occupy Wall Street movement" when some type of projectile — possibly a tear gas canister fired by police — struck above his right eye.

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The Two-Way
5:50 am
Thu October 27, 2011

'Horrific' Situation Led Bernard And Ruth Madoff To Try Suicide, She Says

"I thought, 'I just can't, I can't take this. I don't know how I'll ever get through this, nor do I want to.' So we decided to do it."

So says Ruth Madoff — wife of the mastermind behind what's thought to be the biggest Ponzi scheme ever — to The New York Times about the Christmas Eve 2008 suicide attempt by the couple.

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The Two-Way
5:10 am
Thu October 27, 2011

European Debt Deal: Markets Rally Because It Could Have Been Worse

A pedestrian passes a vendor selling Greek flags in Athens on Wednesday (Oct. 26, 2011). Greece's crushing debts triggered the latest crisis.

Thanassis Stavrakis AP

Originally published on Thu October 27, 2011 8:17 am

Marathon talks that ended around 4 a.m. local time today in Brussels produced a deal that European leaders hope will mark the beginning of the end of the continent's debt crisis, as NPR's Eric Westervelt reports for Morning Edition.

And financial markets are rallying on the news.

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The Two-Way
11:22 am
Wed October 26, 2011

World Series: Decision Coming On Whether To Play Tonight

Originally published on Wed October 26, 2011 2:15 pm

Update at 3:35 p.m. ET: MLB.com has posted the news that Game 6 of the World Series, which was scheduled for tonight in St. Louis, has been postponed to Thursday at 8:05 p.m. ET because of rainy weather.

That means Game 7, if one is needed, would be played on Friday (weather permitting).

The American League's Texas Rangers lead the National League's St. Louis Cardinals, 3 games to 2.

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The Two-Way
10:16 am
Wed October 26, 2011

Report: College Costs Continue Rising, Aid Cuts Could Add To Pain

Students and parents won't be surprised to hear that the prices colleges and universities officially charge for tuition, room and board went up yet again this academic year.

The College Board reported Tuesday that:

-- "Published in-state tuition and fees at public four-year institutions average $8,244 in 2011-12, $631 (8.3 percent) higher than in 2010-11."

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The Two-Way
9:19 am
Wed October 26, 2011

Community Board Backs 'Occupy' Protesters; Asks Them To Quiet Down

The local community board for the part of Manhattan where the Occupy Wall Street protests are being held voted Tuesday night to bless the occupation "within certain parameters," The Village Voice reports.

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The Two-Way
8:32 am
Wed October 26, 2011

Sales Of New Homes Rose In September As Builders Cut Prices

Originally published on Wed October 26, 2011 8:35 am

There was a 5.7 percent increase in sales of new homes in September from August, the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development report.

The 313,000 (at an annual rate) pace was still down 0.9 percent, however, from a year earlier.

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The Two-Way
8:20 am
Wed October 26, 2011

Alcohol Killed Amy Winehouse, Coroner Rules

Amy Winehouse in 2007.

Matt Dunham AP

There were no illegal drugs in singer Amy Winehouse's system when she died on July 23, a British coroner reported today.

Instead, the troubled 27-year-old suffered "death by misadventure" — a drinking binge.

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The Two-Way
7:50 am
Wed October 26, 2011

Army Ranger On 14th Deployment Killed In Afghanistan

Sgt. 1st Class Kristoffer B. Domeij.

U.S. Army Special Operations Command

Originally published on Wed October 26, 2011 7:58 am

This young man's death says a lot about how much has been asked of the nation's men and women in uniform and their families since Sept. 11, 2001:

Sgt. 1st Class Kristoffer B. Domeij, 29, was killed on Saturday in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, by an improvised explosive device, according to the U.S. Army Special Operations Command.

"He was on his 14th combat deployment to Afghanistan in support of the War on Terror," the statement adds.

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The Two-Way
6:57 am
Wed October 26, 2011

New Insider Trading Case Reaches Into 'Iconic Corporate America'

The news this morning that "a prominent former Goldman Sachs board member" has surrendered to federal authorities in New York City "to face criminal charges stemming from a massive hedge fund insider trading case" (as the AP writes), takes the federal investigation into new territory, New York Times reporter Azam Ahmed said earlier today on Morning Edition.

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The Two-Way
5:45 am
Wed October 26, 2011

Violence At 'Occupy Oakland,' Some Protesters Vow To Regroup

"Dozens of police in riot gear and hundreds of protesters supporting the Occupy Wall Street movement engaged in a game of cat-and-mouse in downtown Oakland on Tuesday," The Associated Press writes, "with authorities using tear gas to respond to demonstrators' repeated agitations."

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The Two-Way
5:00 am
Wed October 26, 2011

Was Libya A 'Recipe For Success,' As Obama Says?

President Obama gestures during his appearance Tuesday (Oct. 25, 2011) on NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 26, 2011 5:20 am

The U.S.-NATO mission in Libya was a "recipe for success in the future," President Obama said Tuesday on NBC-TV's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

During a sober discussion that lasted several minutes, the president told Leno that he doesn't agree with critics who say the U.S. led from behind.

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The Two-Way
11:12 am
Tue October 25, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Drummers Generate Loud Debate

The scene on Oct. 10 at one of the Occupy Wall Street drum circles in Manhattan's Zuccotti Park.

Andrew Burton AP

Originally published on Tue October 25, 2011 11:30 am

"The defining sound of the Occupy Wall Street" protests in Manhattan, as Weekend Edition Sunday's Audie Cornish has said, is "the never-ending drum circle."

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The Two-Way
9:43 am
Tue October 25, 2011

Perry Unveils His 'Cut, Balance And Grow Plan'

Texas Gov. Rick Perry at last week's Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas.

John Gurzinski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 25, 2011 9:45 am

Saying that it "reorders the way they do business in Washington by reinventing the tax code and restoring our nation to fiscal health through balanced budgets and entitlement reform," Texas Gov. Rick Perry is this hour unveiling his "cut, balance and grow plan" on taxes.

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The Two-Way
9:14 am
Tue October 25, 2011

Occupy Oakland Protest Broken Up By Police

"Oakland police arrested dozens of people at a plaza outside City Hall and at a second, smaller camp nearby early this morning, two weeks after the protesters launched efforts as part of the nationwide Occupy Wall Street movement against corporate greed and economic inequality," The San Francisco Chronicle reports.

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The Two-Way
8:38 am
Tue October 25, 2011

Consumer Confidence Back Down To Recession Level

A sharp drop in a widely watched gauge of consumer confidence has brought that key economic barometer to a low "last seen during the 2008-2009 recession," Conference Board director of consumer research Lynn Franco says in a report released by the private research group this morning.

The board says its consumer confidence index fell this month to 39.8, from 46.4 in September. Other measures of consumer sentiment, about current conditions and expectations, also declined.

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The Two-Way
8:16 am
Tue October 25, 2011

All The Poop About The #no2trial Is Being Tweeted

If you need a break from the "real news:"

The Washington Post's Justin Jouvenal is "live-tweeting" from the so-called #no2trial today in Fairfax, Va.

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