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
6:55 am
Fri December 23, 2011

Vaclav Havel, Hero Of The 'Velvet Revolution,' Laid To Rest

A picture of former Czech President Vaclav Havel lay among candles and floral tributes as people gathered in Prague on Thursday to honor him.
Odd Andersen AFP/Getty Images

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The Two-Way
6:00 am
Fri December 23, 2011

Arlington Cemetery: Possible Problems With 64,230 Graves Or Records

A review of 259,978 gravesites and more than 510,000 records at Arlington National Cemetery has identified 64,230 cases of potential problems that range from minor mistakes in files to errors on gravestones, according to a U.S. Army report delivered to Congress on Thursday.

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The Two-Way
5:15 am
Fri December 23, 2011

Payroll Tax Cut's Last Hurdle Cleared: House Gives 'Unanimous Consent'

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Capitol Hill Thursday (Dec. 22, 2011).
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Fri December 23, 2011 11:35 am

(This post was retopped with the latest news at 1:30 p.m. ET.)

Marking the end of the latest pitched political battle in Washington, President Obama said this afternoon that Congressional approval of measures to extend for another two months a payroll tax cut and benefits for the long-term unemployed is "good news just in the nick of time for the holidays."

"I said it was critical for Congress not to go home without preventing a tax increase" and the expiration of the long-term jobless benefits, Obama said, "and I'm pleased to say they've got it done."

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The Two-Way
1:40 pm
Thu December 22, 2011

NORAD's Santa Tracker Switches On Saturday

They'll see him when he's flying.
NORAD

Assuming his elves haven't come up with some sort of stealth technology to cloak his movements, it's almost time again for children of all ages (who have access to computers or smart phones, that is) to follow the jolly guy's travels via the North American Aerospace Defense Command's Santa tracker.

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The Two-Way
12:05 pm
Thu December 22, 2011

Because Of Somali Pirates, Ocean Racers Are In A 'Stealth Zone'

The Groupama Sailing Team (shown here on Dec. 10 near Cape Town, South Africa) is somewhere out ahead in the "stealth zone."
Volvo Ocean Race Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 12:08 pm

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The Two-Way
11:10 am
Thu December 22, 2011

Obama Puts More Pressure On House GOP Over Payroll Tax Cut

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 11:21 am

The political maneuvering continues in Washington as lawmakers debate how to extend about-to-expire payroll tax cuts and jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed.

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The Two-Way
10:20 am
Thu December 22, 2011

'Mind The Gap' Indeed: Woman's Fall Beneath Train Captured On Video

A "mind the gap" reminder at the Acton Town Underground Station in London
carmen_seaby via Flickr

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 11:38 am

If you've been to Great Britain, you know that they're very persistent over there about the need to "mind the gap."

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The Two-Way
8:00 am
Thu December 22, 2011

Swept Away By '04 Tsunami, Indonesian Girl Reportedly Finds Way Home

Jan. 4, 2005: Indonesians search for names of relatives on notice boards in Banda Aceh, one of the places devastated by the Dec. 26, 2004, tsunami.
Dimas Ardian Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 8:49 am

Seven years ago, an estimated 230,000 people died after an earthquake triggered a massive tsunami that devastated South Asian coasts from Indonesia to Thailand, Sri Lanka and India.

Wednesday, one of those who was thought to be dead apparently "found her way back to her home," according to the Indonesian state news agency Antara.

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The Two-Way
6:40 am
Thu December 22, 2011

Third Quarter Growth Estimate Revised Down Again, To 1.8 Percent

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 8:21 am

The nation's economy grew at a 1.8 percent annual rate in the third quarter, the Bureau of Economic Analysis just reported.

The new estimate marks the second time that BEA has revised its third-quarter estimate downward. In its first look, BEA said gross domestic product grew at a 2.5 percent annual rate. Last month, it said the pace was 2 percent.

Still, the third quarter was better than the second — when GDP expanded at a 1.3 percent annual rate.

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The Two-Way
5:50 am
Thu December 22, 2011

U.S. Cites 'Self Defense,' Concedes Poor Coordination In Pakistan Incident

Protesters in Karachi, Pakistan, burned an American flag earlier this month to express their anger over the airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.
Rizwan Tabassum AFP/Getty Images

American military forces, "given what information they had available to them at the time, acted in self defense and with appropriate force after being fired upon" when they called for airstrikes along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in late November in an incident that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, the Pentagon said this morning.

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The Two-Way
5:10 am
Thu December 22, 2011

Dozens Killed, Scores Injured In Wave Of Bombings In Baghdad

Iraqi security forces inspect a crater caused by a car bomb attack in the neighborhood of Karrada in Baghdad earlier today (Dec. 22, 2011). It was one in a wave of such bombings in the Iraqi capital today.
Hadi Mizban AP

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 6:38 am

It's been a terrible day in Baghdad, where at least 16 explosions in 13 different locations have killed dozens of people and left about 200 wounded, NPR's Sean Carberry reports from the Iraqi capital.

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The Two-Way
12:00 pm
Wed December 21, 2011

For First Time, Women Share 'First Kiss' At A Navy Homecoming

When Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta kissed Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell today in Virginia Beach, a little bit of history was made.

As The Virginian-Pilot explains:

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The Two-Way
11:05 am
Wed December 21, 2011

FAA Issues New Rules Aimed At Keeping Tired Pilots Out Of Cockpits

Feb. 16, 2009: Flowers are left in memorial near where Continental Connection Flight 3407 crashed in Clarence, N.Y. Fifty people died. Pilot fatigue was cited as a factor.
David Duprey/pool Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 12:24 pm

Saying that they will help make sure that airline pilots are rested before they fly, the Federal Aviation Administration today unveiled new rules about the amount of time off they must get between flights and how long they can be on the job.

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The Two-Way
10:30 am
Wed December 21, 2011

NewtGingrich.com Is Sending Surfers To Sites And Stories He Wouldn't Like

Looking for Newt Gingrich? Don't type "newtgingrich.com." You might get directed to Freddie Mac, Tiffany's or other sites that bring to mind less flattering stories about the Republican presidential candidate.
FreddieMac.com

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich's official campaign website — at newt.org — is working fine.

But if anyone types "newtgingrich.com" and hits enter right now, they're not going to see things that the former House speaker would find very funny.

In the last few minutes when we've done that we've been directed to:

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The Two-Way
9:20 am
Wed December 21, 2011

Criminal Charges For English Soccer Star John Terry Over Alleged Racial Abuse

John Terry, right, and opponent Anton Ferdinand during the English Premier League on Oct. 23 in which it's alleged that Terry hurled a racial slur at Ferdinand. Terry denies doing that. He's going to face criminal charges.
Nick Potts AP

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 9:22 am

One of England's biggest soccer stars is going to face criminal charges for allegedly aiming a racial slur at an opponent.

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The Two-Way
8:30 am
Wed December 21, 2011

Sales Of Existing Homes Rose In November; Previous Years Revised Down

A "sold" sign outside a home in Pasadena, Calif., in September 2009. New data show fewer such sales that year.
David McNew Getty Images

While it says sales of existing homes rose 4 percent in November from October and were 12.2 percent above the level of November 2010, the National Association of Realtors also reported today that revisions to its data show there were about 2.9 million fewer homes sold from the start of 2007 through the end of 2010 than previously thought.

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The Two-Way
7:45 am
Wed December 21, 2011

Army Charges 8 Soldiers In Connection With Private's Death In Afghanistan

Charges including negligent homicide, involuntary manslaughter and dereliction of duty have been brought against eight American soldiers in connection with what was thought to be the Oct.

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The Two-Way
6:40 am
Wed December 21, 2011

Accused Of Sexually Abusing Children Decades Ago, Sportswriter Retires

July 23, 2011: Sportswriter Bill Conlin speaking at the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Mike Groll AP

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 6:44 am

Bill Conlin, a Philadelphia Daily News sportswriter for 46 years and this year's winner of the National Baseball Hall of Fame's award for "meritorious contributions to baseball writing," retired Tuesday after three women and a man came forward to accuse him of molesting them in the 1970s when they were between the ages of 7 and 12.

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The Two-Way
6:00 am
Wed December 21, 2011

Mood In North Korean Capital Is 'Subdued But Calm,' U.K. Diplomat Says

This image taken today from North Korean TV footage shows people mourning for Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang.
AFP/Getty Images

While North Koreans in Pyongyang are "in a state of mourning and ... paying their respects at landmarks across the city," the overall mood is "subdued but calm" as people there react to Saturday's death of leader Kim Jong Il and the likelihood that his son Kim Jong Un is now in charge, according to one of Britain's diplomats in the capital city.

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The Two-Way
1:25 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

From Homeless To White House To 'The Martha Stewart Show'

One of the decorations in the Red Room of the White House, where David Bondarchuck was among the volunteer decorators.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:11 am

When NPR's Ari Shapiro earlier this month filed a report on the 2011 holiday decorations at the executive mansion, he focused some of his attention on the diverse group of volunteer decorators who were called on to help dress up 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

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The Two-Way
12:15 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

Report: Ohio State Football Team 'Banned From Postseason Play Next Year'

"The NCAA today stunned Ohio State University's football program by banning it from postseason play after the 2012 season," multiple sources tell The Columbus Dispatch.

It adds that:

"The penalty means Ohio State automatically is out of the running for any bowl, or a Big Ten or national championship next year, just as newly appointed head coach Urban Meyer is wooing recruits to the Buckeyes."

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The Two-Way
11:30 am
Tue December 20, 2011

'Ultimate Dog Tease' Is No. 2 On YouTube's List, No. 1 In Some Hearts

How can you not love that face?
Talking Animals

YouTube is out with its most-viewed video list for the year and if you didn't know that Rebecca Black's Friday would be on top, than you're among the (dare we say?) lucky few who didn't get her song stuck in their head this year.

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The Two-Way
8:35 am
Tue December 20, 2011

Cool Video: Massive Cloud 'Waves' Roll Over Alabama

Huge clouds roll over Birmingham, Ala., on Dec. 16, 2011.
ABC 33/40

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 3:28 pm

Video of some pretty awesome looking clouds rolling across the sky last Friday in Birmingham, Ala., is beginning to roll up a lot of views.

They sure look like either some amazingly huge waves or a line of Loch Ness monsters marching across the horizon.

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The Two-Way
7:55 am
Tue December 20, 2011

VIDEOS: Lights Go Out At Candlestick During 'Monday Night Football'

Most of the lights were out, but between camera flashes and emergency back-ups it wasn't pitch black when there were two power failures Monday night at San Francisco's Candlestick Park.
Ezra Shaw Getty Images

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The Two-Way
7:20 am
Tue December 20, 2011

Top Stories: Blizzard, North Korea, Payroll Tax Dispute

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 7:25 am

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The Two-Way
7:05 am
Tue December 20, 2011

Home Construction Rose In November; 2011 Still A Weak Year

There was a 9.3 percent rise in "housing starts" last month vs. October, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development just reported.

"Single-family housing starts in November were at a rate of 447,000," the agencies say. "This is 2.3 percent above the revised October figure of 437,000." The really big increase was in construction of buildings with five or more living units. Starts in that category were up 32.2 percent.

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The Two-Way
6:55 am
Tue December 20, 2011

House Rejects Senate's Extension Of Payroll Tax Cut

House John Boehner (R-Ohio) at the U.S. Capitol on Monday (Dec. 19, 2011).
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 12:23 pm

Update at 12:56 p.m. ET. House Rejects Bill:

Voting mostly along party lines, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to send a Senate bill extending unemployment benefits and a payroll tax cut to conference. With the Senate in recess, the move leaves the bill in limbo and could mean that come January, 2 million Americans will lose their long-term unemployment benefits and 160 million workers could see their taxes rise by 2-percentage points.

Before the vote, Democrats and Republicans went head to head on the House floor.

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