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
10:35 am
Tue December 6, 2011

Egypt And Tigerblood Top Twitter's List Of Hashtags This Year

Charlie Sheen turned #tigerblood into a hashtag of note.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 6, 2011 10:38 am

Yet another sign of the very diverse interests of the world's webizens:

Twitter says the top two hashtags this year have been #egypt and #tigerblood.

Egypt went to the top of words to search and post thanks to the Arab Spring and the uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak. As for No. 2, its popularity is all due to actor Charlie Sheen and his famous claim to have "tiger blood."

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The Two-Way
9:10 am
Tue December 6, 2011

U.S. Ambassador Returning To Syria

U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford on June 20, 2011, in Jisr al-Shughur, Syria.
Louai Beshara AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 6, 2011 9:14 am

"Ambassador Robert Ford has completed his consultations in Washington and is returning to Syria," the State Department confirms on its official Twitter page.

He left there the weekend of Oct. 22 because of what State said had been "credible threats against his personal safety."

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The Two-Way
8:40 am
Tue December 6, 2011

Green Bay Packers Stock Is Hot As Sale Begins

Packers fans do love their team.
Scott Boehm Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 6, 2011 8:44 am

They're Super Bowl champions. They're 12-0 this season.

And they're hot with investors (sort of).

Things couldn't be much better for the Green Bay Packers. And this morning we're hearing that the team's fifth sale of stock in its 92-year history is going very well.

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The Two-Way
8:00 am
Tue December 6, 2011

Gingrich Takes Lead In New Iowa Poll

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 6, 2011 8:32 am

With the Jan. 3 Iowa Republican caucuses set to kick off the "real" battle for the party's presidential nomination, there's word that:

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The Two-Way
6:40 am
Tue December 6, 2011

Before Obama Invites Teddy Roosevelt Comparisons, Read TR's Words

Theodore Roosevelt, twenty-sixth president of the United States serving from 1901 to 1909.
National Archives Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 6, 2011 1:01 pm

As NPR's Scott Horsley reported for Morning Edition:

"President Obama will try Tuesday to follow in the footsteps of Teddy Roosevelt when he delivers an economic speech in Osawatomie, Kan., the same city where Roosevelt issued a famous call for a 'New Nationalism' more than 100 years ago.

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The Two-Way
5:50 am
Tue December 6, 2011

BP Accuses Halliburton Of Destroying Gulf Spill Evidence

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig burned on April 21, 2010.
U.S. Coast Guard Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 6, 2011 7:13 am

The complicated effort to assign blame for the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history took another legal twist Monday when BP went to court to accuse Halliburton of "destroying damaging evidence about the quality of its cement slurry that went into drilling the oil well," The Associated Press writes.

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The Two-Way
5:30 am
Tue December 6, 2011

Coal Company To Pay More Than $200 Million In W. Va. Disaster

Originally published on Tue December 6, 2011 1:33 pm

(1:45 p.m. ET: We've retopped this post with the latest news and put earlier entries in chronological order so you can see how the story developed.)

The owner of West Virginia's Upper Big Branch coal mine where 29 men died in an explosion last year has agreed to a nearly $210 million settlement that will compensate the victims' families, pay fines and fund upgrades in safety standards at its facilities, NPR's Howard Berkes reports from Charleston, W. Va.

That package includes about $46 million for the miners' families.

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The Two-Way
5:10 am
Tue December 6, 2011

Dozens Of Bodies Scattered After Deadly Bombings In Afghanistan

A man grieves as others try to help victims and remove bodies from the scene in Kabul earlier today (Nov. 6, 2011) after a suicide bomb exploded in a crowd of Shiite worshipers.
Massoud Hossaini AFP/Getty Images

A suicide bomb detonated today in the midst of a crowd of Shiite worshipers in Kabul has left about 50 people dead. NPR's Quil Lawrence reports from there that witnesses say dozens of bodies were scattered around the gate of a mosque.

Al-Jazeera says the Afghan ministry of health reports more than 100 people were injured.

Another four people were reportedly killed and more were injured in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif by a similar attack. Al-Jazeera adds that:

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The Two-Way
2:30 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Record Folders: 54,000 Feet Of Paper; 13 Folds; One New Standard

The St. Mark's School record folders.
Courtesy of St. Mark's School.

Using 54,000 feet of toilet paper and the 825-foot long "Infinite Corridor" at MIT as a workspace, students from a small boarding school in Massachusetts say they broke an unofficial record for folding paper on Sunday.

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The Two-Way
12:20 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

FAA Administrator Charged With DWI

Originally published on Mon December 5, 2011 12:28 pm

The head of the Federal Aviation Administration, who among other duties is in charge of the nation's air traffic controllers, was charged with driving while intoxicated Saturday night in Fairfax, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C.

And Federal News Radio says Jerome "Randy" Babbitt has now been "placed on a leave of absence." The Associated Press reports that the leave was "at Babbitt's request."

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The Two-Way
11:08 am
Mon December 5, 2011

Queen Elizabeth's 'Pay' Has Been Frozen

Queen Elizabeth II in November.
Cris Jackson/pool AFP/Getty Images

She'll still get about $50 million a year in taxpayers' money to run her palaces and travel the world, but there's word from the U.K. that Queen Elizabeth II has had her "pay" frozen until at least 2015.

Hard times, after all, require sacrifices.

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The Two-Way
9:17 am
Mon December 5, 2011

Post Office Lays Out More Details On Service Changes, Closings

Scott Schechter, a United States Postal Service employee, collected mail from the boxes in front of a mail processing center on Sept. 16, 2011 in Pembroke Pines, Fla.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 5, 2011 12:30 pm

Dropping a first-class letter in the mail in the morning and expecting it will get to its destination by the next day would be a thing of the past under changes the U.S. Postal Service is detailing this hour.

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The Two-Way
6:25 am
Mon December 5, 2011

All Eyes On 'Merkozy' As Leaders Try To Save Euro

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Paris today (Dec. 5, 2011).
Lionel Bonaventure AFP/Getty Images

While The New York Times says German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are working on a deal to save the euro that has "several moving parts," The Financial Times cautions that "officials on both sides have cautioned against expectations of an announcement of a detailed plan by the two."

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The Two-Way
5:45 am
Mon December 5, 2011

Report: Cain To Endorse Gingrich

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich (right) and Herman Cain during a Republican presidential debate Nov. 22, 2011, in Washington, D.C.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Update at 12:35 p.m. ET. Not Today:

Newt Gingrich's campaign just told Reuters that there are no plans for former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain to endorse his fellow Georgian's quest for the Republican nomination today — which, of course, does not rule out it happening at another time.

Our original post and an earlier update:

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The Two-Way
5:30 am
Mon December 5, 2011

Putin 'Still Sure To Win' Next Year Despite Setback For His Party

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as he voted in Moscow on Sunday (Dec. 4, 2011).
Alexander Nemenov AFP/Getty Images

Though Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's United Russia party lost dozens of seats in Russia's parliament in elections held Sunday, and may have had to resort to fraud to keep from losing even more, he's "still sure to win" election as president next March, Masha Lipman, an analyst at the Carnegie Moscow Center, said on Morning Edition today.

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The Two-Way
3:00 pm
Sat December 3, 2011

Cain's Train Comes To A Stop

Originally published on Sat December 3, 2011 3:16 pm

In case you haven't heard yet:

Republican Herman Cain effectively ended his presidential campaign this afternoon, as the toll from allegations about sexual harassment and an affair (all of which he has denied) combined to effectively end his chances at getting the GOP nomination.

Here's how the story is playing:

-- "Campaign Over, Cain Vows To Go With 'Plan B'." (NPR.org)

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The Two-Way
5:00 am
Sat December 3, 2011

Son's Funny And Loving Obituary About Dad Charms Readers

"Robert Spiegel's passion for Russian literature, the New York Mets, ethnic cooking and beagles endeared him to generations of students and colleagues at Central Connecticut State University," The Associated Press says. "Now, through the power of social media, the 77-year-old former English professor's obituary is charming strangers, as well."

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The Two-Way
12:33 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Cain To Make Announcement Saturday; Wife Leads 'Women For Cain' Effort

There's word from Rock Hill, S.C., that Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain says he'll be making an announcement on Saturday about the future of his presidential bid, The Associated Press reports.

Meanwhile, here's a related bit of news to consider: His campaign just launched a "Women for Cain" effort, chaired by the candidate's wife Gloria.

As the webpage says:

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The Two-Way
11:50 am
Fri December 2, 2011

Egyptian Elections: 62 Percent Turnout

Nov. 28: Women place their votes in a ballot box at a polling station in a girls school in Cairo.
Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

Results from the first round of voting in Egypt's parliamentary elections are being announced this hour. Already, according to al-Jazeera and other news outlets, there's word from the head of Egypt's Elections High commission that 62 percent of eligible voters cast ballots.

The Associated Press adds that Abdel-Mooaez Ibrahim called the number "the highest since the time of pharaohs."

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The Two-Way
10:45 am
Fri December 2, 2011

Why Burma? Why Myanmar? Why Both?

Aung San Suu Kyi, right, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton embraced today when they met at Suu Kyi's home in Yangon, Myanmar (also known as Burma).
Saul Loeb AP

Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 12:10 pm

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's visit to Myanmar, where she has pledged with opposition leader Aung Sang Suu Kyi to continue the push for democracy and respect for human rights there, has focused attention on that long-oppressed Asian nation.

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The Two-Way
8:12 am
Fri December 2, 2011

Some Combat Dogs Suffer Post-Traumatic Stress Too

A U.S. Army soldier with the 10th Special Forces Group and his military working dog jump off the ramp of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment during water training over the Gulf of Mexico as part of exercise Emerald Warrior 2011 on March 1, 2011.
Tech Sgt. Manuel J. Martinez defense.gov

Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 1:17 pm

Dogs who have served alongside U.S. military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan now typically go on to live with their handlers in the civilian world after their service days are over, as All Things Considered reported in August.

That's a change from the past, when many combat dogs were euthanized once they were done working with the military.

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The Two-Way
6:34 am
Fri December 2, 2011

Unemployment Rate Drops To 8.6 Percent; 120,000 Jobs Added

A job fair in San Francisco last month.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 9:46 am

The nation's unemployment rate fell to 8.6 percent in November from 9 percent in October as payrolls went up by 120,000 jobs, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says.

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The Two-Way
6:00 am
Fri December 2, 2011

'Freakishly Powerful Winds' To Ease In Southern California, Utah

Toppled trees in the Highland Park section of Los Angeles did some heavy damage to vehicles parked along a street.
Mike Meadows AP

Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 6:01 am

The worst is over in Utah, where winds that topped 100 mph Thursday toppled trucks trees and power lines.

And things should be calmer in Southern California too, where "freakishly powerful winds" on Thursday stunned people and left behind shredded rooftops and "yards littered with downed trees," as the Los Angeles Times says.

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The Two-Way
5:30 am
Fri December 2, 2011

U.S. Officials Say Pakistan Gave Go-Ahead For Airstrikes

The airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers have sparked protests. In Peshawar, Pakistan, on Thursday students shouted anti-U.S. slogans.
A. Majeed AFP/Getty Images

"Pakistani officials at a border coordination center gave the go-ahead to American airstrikes that inadvertently killed 24 Pakistan troops, unaware that their own forces were in the area, according to U.S. officials briefed on the preliminary investigation," The Wall Street Journal reports this morning.

A Pakistani official quoted by Reuters says that's not true.

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The Two-Way
1:27 pm
Thu December 1, 2011

Photo Of Clinton, Suu Kyi, Says It All

Sometimes a picture does indeed tell the story.

In this case, a photo taken today when Hillary Rodham Clinton had a private dinner in Myanmar with Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi speaks volumes about the purpose and meaning of the first visit to the country by an American secretary of state in more than five decades.

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The Two-Way
12:05 pm
Thu December 1, 2011

Dog Shoots Man: Butt, And Pride, Injured

It's best to keep this out of Rover's paws.
Sandra Mu Getty Images

We're a day late, but some stories just beg to be passed along:

"Utah Duck Hunter Shot In Buttocks By His Dog." (The Salt Lake Tribune)

It seems two guys and a dog were out hunting on Sunday. One man was in their boat with the canine. A loaded shotgun was lying across the bow pointed toward the other guy, who was in the water. Fido got excited, stepped on the gun and ... a little while later doctors were plucking 27 pieces of birdshot out of a butt.

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The Two-Way
11:25 am
Thu December 1, 2011

Afghan Rape Victim Pardoned After Agreeing To Marry Her Attacker

For many women in Afghanistan, life has not changed significantly in the 10 years since the fall of the Taliban.
Shah Marai AFP/Getty Images

An Afghan woman who was sentenced to prison after being raped by a relative — because in the eyes of authorities she had committed adultery — has been pardoned by President Hamid Karzai.

But her freedom comes with a price, according to news reports: She must become the second wife of the man who attacked her. Karzai's office says the woman and her attacker both have agreed to the marriage.

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The Two-Way
10:05 am
Thu December 1, 2011

'Top Gear' Host Clarkson Slammed For Saying Strikers Should Be Shot

Jeremy Clarkson. (2007 file photo)
Edmond Terakopian AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 1, 2011 10:18 am

There are calls for Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson to be fired by the BBC because he said on the air last night that the U.K. public sector workers who staged a massive strike Wednesday should be shot "in front of their families."

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