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
6:10 am
Fri December 14, 2012

In Repeat Of Disturbing News, Man With Knife Attacks School Children In China

Wei Jingru, one of the students injured in today's attack, is being treated at a hospital in central China's Henan Province.
Li Bo Xinhua /Landov
  • NPR's Louisa Lim on the NPR Newscast

Twenty-two children and one adult are reported to have been injured at a school in China today by a man wielding a knife.

It happened in a village about 500 miles south of Beijing. As NPR's Louisa Lim tells our Newscast Desk, the attack is the latest of what has been a disturbing series of such incidents in recent years.

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The Two-Way
5:23 am
Fri December 14, 2012

Syrian Crisis: Turkey Getting Patriot Missiles, Some U.S. Troops To Operate Them

A U.S. Army Patriot Surface-to Air missile system on display in South Korea.
Kim Jae-Hwan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 7:12 am

"The U.S. will send two batteries of Patriot missiles and 400 troops to Turkey as part of a NATO force meant to protect Turkish territory from a potential Syrian missile attack, the Pentagon said Friday." (The Associated Press)

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The Two-Way
2:23 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Ambassador Rice Asks Not To Be Considered For Secretary Of State

U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice.
Allison Joyce Reuters /Landov

Moving to withdraw her name from among those being considered to be the next secretary of state, embattled U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice has told President Obama she does not want to be nominated.

The White House just released a statement from the president that says, in part:

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The Two-Way
2:20 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Error Of The Year: CNN And Fox News Share The Dishonor

Poynter.org

We didn't make the list, and boy are we glad.

CNN and Fox News share the shame of the Poynter Institute's "error of the year" for mistakenly telling their audiences that the Supreme Court had struck down Obamacare.

In truth, the court had done the opposite.

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The Two-Way
11:17 am
Thu December 13, 2012

Sales Soar In Gaza Of Fragrance Named For Rocket Fired At Israel

Bottles of M75 on sale at a shop in Gaza City. The fragrance is named for the rockets fired from Gaza into Israel.
Ashraf Amra APA /Landov

Originally published on Sun December 16, 2012 6:50 am

Before anyone else does, we'll make the "I love the smell of napalm in the morning" reference that comes to mind when you read this:

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The Two-Way
10:09 am
Thu December 13, 2012

Here's Some Good News: Volunteering Is On The Rise

Nov. 22: Volunteers prepared Thanksgiving dinners for people in the Queens borough of New York City, which was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 2:23 pm

Enough of the bad news for a moment.

Smack in the middle of the holiday season, here's something that underscores how generous many Americans are:

"64.3 million Americans (more than one in four adults) volunteered through a formal organization last year, an increase of 1.5 million from 2010," the Corporation for National and Community Service and the National Conference on Citizenship report.

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The Two-Way
9:27 am
Thu December 13, 2012

On 'Fiscal Cliff,' Majority Of Public Sides With Democrats, Pew Poll Says

President Obama, with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) behind him, delivering his State of the Union address last January.
Saul Loeb Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 6:01 pm

As the end-of-year tax increases and spending cuts known as the "fiscal cliff" near, "Democrats are in a strong position with the public," the Pew Research Center reports.

A new national poll Pew released this morning shows that:

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The Two-Way
8:33 am
Thu December 13, 2012

The Late Whitney Houston Was The Year's Hottest Search

Whitney Houston in 2004.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

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The Two-Way
6:33 am
Thu December 13, 2012

Nurse Who Fell Victim To Royal Hoax Was Found Hanged, Authorities Say

Westminster Coroners Court in London, where the inquest into the death of Jacintha Saldanha was held.
Dan Kitwood Getty Images

Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse "fooled by a hoax call to the London hospital treating the Duchess of Cambridge was later found hanged," the BBC says.

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The Two-Way
6:07 am
Thu December 13, 2012

Diplomatic Shift? Russia Acknowledges Assad May Be On Way Out

Northwest of Aleppo, Syria, this week, rebels were in control of this Syrian military base.
Herve Bar AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 10:33 am

"Syria's most powerful ally, Russia, said for the first time Thursday that President Bashar Assad is losing control of his country and the rebels might win the civil war, dramatically shifting the diplomatic landscape at a time of enormous momentum for the opposition," The Associated Press writes.

Here's what Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said, according to the AP:

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The Two-Way
12:58 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Flying High: Cannon Fires Cans Filled With Marijuana Across Mexican Border

They flew in from Mexico: Cans of marijuana found in a field near Yuma, Ariz.
Customs and Border Protection

Last year, smugglers tried using a catapult to get pot into the U.S.

Now, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents say they recently discovered 30 large cans of marijuana in a field near Yuma, Ariz., — and that the barrels apparently landed there after being fired from a pneumatic-powered cannon 500 feet away in Mexico.

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The Two-Way
11:07 am
Wed December 12, 2012

Federal Reserve Boosts Effort To Lift Economy

The Federal Reserve's headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Saying it is concerned that the economy won't be strong enough in coming months to keep adding jobs to the labor market, the Federal Reserve announced this afternoon that is increasing its efforts to give the economy a boost.

And in an unusually specific statement from the central bank, its policymakers said they expect to keep a key short-term interest rate at or near zero percent "as long as the unemployment rate remains above 6.5 percent."

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The Two-Way
9:24 am
Wed December 12, 2012

Census: We Continue To Get Older And More Diverse; Though More Slowly

The crowded scene on "Black Friday" at Macy's in Manhattan. The U.S. population is projected to hit 400 million in 2051, Census says, up from 321 million in 2015.
Stan Honda AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 1:02 pm

The trends continue:

"The U.S. population will be considerably older and more racially and ethnically diverse by 2060, according to projections released today by the U.S. Census Bureau."

Based on data from the 2010 census, the bureau projects that:

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The Two-Way
7:59 am
Wed December 12, 2012

Just Because We Can: 12 Lines Of 12 Words Each About 12-12-12

An auspicious date? The rings for a wedding earlier today — 12/12/12 — in Mumbai, India.
Indranil Mukherjee AFP/Getty Images

Last year, lots of folks certainly seemed to be excited about 11/11/11.

So we feel obliged to point out the obvious: Today is 12/12/12.

And, yes, once again there's much fuss being made about a date:

-- "Other-dimensional energy abounds" on double-digit dates, numerologist Scott Petullo tells ABC News.

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The Two-Way
6:55 am
Wed December 12, 2012

McAfee To Be Released, Supporters Say

John McAfee, in Guatemala City before his detention.
Johan Ordonez AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 1:21 pm

Update at 3 p.m. ET. On His Way To Miami:

John McAfee, the anti-virus software pioneer who's wanted for questioning in Belize about the murder of a neighbor, tells Bloomberg TV that he has been released from a detention center in Guatemala and is flying to Miami.

He also says he has apologized to Guatemala's president for "putting him into a very slippery position."

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The Two-Way
6:04 am
Wed December 12, 2012

As Shots Rang Out In Oregon Mall, Shoppers And Santa Dove For Cover

Jacob Tyler Roberts.
Clackamas County (Ore.) Sheriff's Department

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 12:52 pm

1:30 p.m. ET. Gunman Identified:

The man who killed two people and seriously wounded a third person at a suburban Portland, Ore., shopping mall on Tuesday has been identified by police as Jacob Tyler Roberts, 22, of Portland, Oregon Public Broadcasting tells us.

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The Two-Way
5:20 am
Wed December 12, 2012

'Global Chorus Of Condemnation' After North Korea's Rocket Launch

A North Korean military band performed today in Pyongyang to celebrate the country's rocket launch. Other nations, though, condemned the launch.
Kyodo Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 12:52 pm

  • Louisa Lim on 'Morning Edition'

"The global chorus of condemnation has been loud and clear," after North Korea's successful launch of a long-range rocket that carried a satellite into space, NPR's Louisa Lim said today on Morning Edition.

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The Two-Way
1:32 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Rush Is In! The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, That Is

Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson (left) and singer/bassist Geddy Lee.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 2:30 pm

After all our whining, we have to pass along word that Rush has made it into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

And, yes, we know that some of this year's other inductees, announced today, may be more "important":

-- Heart.

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The Two-Way
12:42 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Sick Of Year-End Lists Yet? Or Do You Love Them?

If we listed the sites that do the most lists, Gawker would be up there.
Gawker.com

Twitter's out with its take on what the tweets of 2012 supposedly tell us about ourselves. The "Golden Tweets" (most retweeted) were the "four more years" photo of President Obama and the first lady hugging, and the "RIP Avalanna.

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The Two-Way
12:11 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

NFL Players' 'Bountygate' Suspensions Vacated

New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma.
Chris Szagola CSM /LANDOV

The four NFL players who were fined and given multi-game suspensions for their alleged parts in the New Orleans Saints' "bountygate" scheme that paid bonuses for injuring opposing players have had their punishments vacated, the league says.

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The Two-Way
9:53 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Delta Makes Deal To Buy 49 Percent Of Virgin Atlantic

Two bag tags that may soon be together a lot.
Photo illustration by Christopher Furlong Getty Images

Looking to grab more of "the lucrative New York-to-London market," Delta Air Lines said today that it plans to spend $360 million for a 49 percent stake in Virgin Atlantic.

As USA Today writes:

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The Two-Way
7:50 am
Tue December 11, 2012

World's Most Expensive Whisky? It's Not The One We Toasted

The record-holder, according to Guinness: A bottle of 64-year-old Macallan whisky in a Lalique Cire Perdue decanter. In 2010 it sold for $460,000.
Alpha /Landov

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 7:38 pm

On Sunday, Weekend All Things Considered aired an interview with Glenfiddich Malt Master Brian Kinsman. He talked about the $94,000 that a buyer recently paid at auction for one bottle of Glenfiddich Janet Sheed Roberts Reserve 55 Year Old whisky.

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The Two-Way
7:09 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Today's Three Stories To Read About The 'Fiscal Cliff'

President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, at the White House on Nov. 16.
Toby Jorrin AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 10:18 am

As we've said now several times, "the White House and congressional leaders continue to talk about taxes, spending cuts and how to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff that arrives at midnight Dec. 31 — when Bush-era tax cuts are set to expire and automatic spending cuts are set to go into effect."

As NPR and others cover the story, we're pointing to interesting reports and analyses. Here are some of the latest.

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The Two-Way
6:06 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Syrian Defector: Assad Will Use Chemical Weapons If He's Desperate

Syrian President Bashar Assad in 2009.
Louai Beshara AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 12:25 pm

If Syrian President Bashar Assad gets desperate enough he will use chemical weapons against his own people, the former chief of staff for that country's chemical weapons tells NPR's Deborah Amos.

Maj. Gen. Adnan Sillu, who defected in July and is now in Turkey, is convinced that if rebel forces close in on Damascus, Assad will order the use of mustard gas, sarin or other chemicals in a "last desperate act," Deb reported today on Morning Edition.

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The Two-Way
1:42 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

The Feds Can Tell Ernest Hemingway's Cats What To Do; Here's Why

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 9:06 am

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The Two-Way
12:20 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

Navy SEAL Killed During Afghan Rescue Is Identified

Originally published on Mon December 10, 2012 6:44 pm

The member of Navy SEAL Team 6 killed during this weekend's rescue in Afghanistan of an American doctor was Petty Officer 1st Class Nicholas Checque, 28, of Monroeville, Pa.

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The Two-Way
10:27 am
Mon December 10, 2012

Many Apps For Children Still Raise Privacy Concerns, FTC Says

Who's collecting information about her?
Peggy Turbett The Plain Dealer /Landov

Originally published on Mon December 10, 2012 6:44 pm

Developers of smartphone and tablet apps aimed at children have done little in the past year to give parents "the information they need to determine what data is being collected from their children, how it is being shared, or who will have access to it," the Federal Trade Commission reports.

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The Two-Way
9:43 am
Mon December 10, 2012

After Helping Europe Rise From Ashes, EU Accepts Nobel Peace Prize

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso of Portugal during today's Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo.
Nigel Waldron Getty Images

Giving the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union has been controversial.

As The Associated Press reports:

Three previous Peace Prize laureates "South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mairead Maguire of Northern Ireland and Adolfo Perez Esquivel from Argentina, have demanded that the prize money of $1.2 million not be paid this year. They say the bloc contradicts the values associated with the prize because it relies on military force to ensure security."

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The Two-Way
8:24 am
Mon December 10, 2012

Royal Hoax: Nurse's Family 'Devastated,' Radio Hosts 'Shattered' By Her Death

Flowers and a note outside the apartments near King Edward VII Hospital in central London where Jacintha Saldanha and other nurses stayed.
Carl Court AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 10, 2012 10:40 am

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The Two-Way
6:59 am
Mon December 10, 2012

Top Stories: 'Fiscal Cliff' Talks; Syrian Conflict; Minnesota Blizzard

This dog likes snow: In Minneapolis on Sunday, Adam Womersley and his English Springer Spaniel, Stella, had some fun out in the winter weather.
Richard Tsong-Taatarii MCT /Landov

Good morning.

Our early headlines:

-- Can A 'Fiscal Cliff' Deal Be Both In And Out Of Reach? Yes.

-- Jenni Rivera: A Beautiful Voice Goes Silent.

Other stories making news:

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