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
10:25 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Good Signs: Home Sales Are Up; Builders' Confidence Is Also Higher

This home sold last month in Miami.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 2:39 pm

Two positive economic indicators:

-- "Sales of existing homes increased in October, even with some regional impact from Hurricane Sandy, while home prices continued to rise due to lower levels of inventory supply," the National Association of Realtors reports.

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The Two-Way
10:04 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Outrage In India Over Woman's Arrest For Facebook Post

Bal Thackeray's funeral cortege made its way through a sea of supporters in Mumbai on Sunday.
Indranil Mukherjee AFP/Getty Images

There was no violence, as had been feared, when hundreds of thousands of people gathered Sunday in Mumbai, India, to express their grief over the death of Bal Thackeray, "a Hindu extremist leader linked to waves of mob violence against Muslims and migrant workers in India."

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The Two-Way
8:56 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Top Stories: Israel, Hamas Trade More Fire; Obama Visits Cambodia

In New York City's Rockaway neighborhood, a sign asking for help in the clean-up.
Spencer Platt Getty Images
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The Two-Way
8:23 am
Mon November 19, 2012

U.S. Policy Is To Say 'Burma'; Obama Also Uses 'Myanmar'

President Obama and President Thein Sein of Myanmar (also known as Burma) earlier today in Yangon.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 12:31 pm

  • NPR's Scott Horsley, reporting on 'Morning Edition'

We've noted before that whether you call the Southeast Asian nation Burma or Myanmar has mattered to many for many years.

It's official U.S. policy, out of support for the opposition that has pressed for democratic reform in that country, to call it Burma. That's the name the nation was known by before a military regime took power in 1989 and started using Myanmar.

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The Two-Way
7:25 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Pressure For Truce Grows, But Israel And Hamas Continue Firing

A man covers his face as he passes smoke and fire after Israeli air strikes in Gaza City earlier today.
Mohammed Abed AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun November 25, 2012 9:48 am

  • On 'Morning Edition': Anthony Kuhn reports from Gaza City
  • On 'Morning Editon': Sheera Frankel reports about 'Iron Dome'

(We rewrote the top of this post at 7:45 p.m. ET to sum up the day's news.)

The sixth day of Israel's military operation in the Gaza Strip saw Israel striking a media center and other Palestinian targets, raising the Palestinian death toll to more than 100. Palestinian militants fired 95 rockets at Israel; a third of them were intercepted by Iron Dome, the Israeli missile shield. Also Monday, a flurry of diplomacy that attempted to mediate a cease-fire between the two sides.

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The Two-Way
6:24 am
Sun November 18, 2012

It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's A ... Guy In A Giraffe Suit?

Armstrong Baillie, in costume.
YouTube

"Scotland Is Growing To Love The Good Giraffe's High Ideals:

"A Dundee man who carries out random acts of kindness while dressed as a giraffe admits the bizarre wheeze came to him during a trip to the toilet."

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The Two-Way
10:41 am
Fri November 16, 2012

Fiscal Cliff Talks Get Started

Getting started: President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, at the start of today's meeting.
Larry Downing Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 12:13 pm

President Obama and congressional leaders from both major parties met at the White House this morning for the first of what will likely be many negotiations aimed at averting a plunge over the so-called fiscal cliff.

We watched for news from the key players — who include House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio — and updated with highlights.

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The Two-Way
9:23 am
Fri November 16, 2012

East German Political Prisoners Made Some Of Its Products, IKEA Admits

Denis Charlet AFP/Getty Images

News outlets in German and Sweden have been reporting for the past year that some of the products made in past decades for Swedish furniture giant IKEA were produced by political prisoners in Cold War-era East Germany.

Today, IKEA conceded that the reports are true and that some of its "representatives" were aware of what was happening.

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The Two-Way
8:22 am
Fri November 16, 2012

No More Twinkies? Hostess Brands Is Shutting Down

Stock up now.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 9:53 am

Carrying through on its warning about what could happen, the management of Hostess Brands announced this morning that the company is going out of business and laying off its 18,500 employees.

At issue: According to Hostess CEO Gregory Rayburn, "we simply do not have the financial resources to survive an ongoing national strike."

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The Two-Way
7:57 am
Fri November 16, 2012

Petraeus Supports White House On Post-Benghazi Accounts, Lawmakers Say

Sept. 11: The U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was aflame after coming under attack.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 12:44 pm

  • Dina Temple-Raston on 'Morning Edition'
(We added a new top to this post at 12:40 p.m. ET to round up the latest developments.)

The White House did not insert politics into the process of determining what could be said about the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in the days immediately afterward, former CIA Director David Petraeus told Congress this morning, according to lawmakers who were inside closed briefings today.

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The Two-Way
7:29 am
Fri November 16, 2012

Both Sides 'Ready To Escalate' As Israel And Hamas Fire Away

Israeli tanks on the border with the Gaza Strip earlier today. Israeli officials have said they are prepared to mount a ground offensive.
Menahem Kahana AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun November 18, 2012 9:26 am

  • NPR's Anthony Kuhn talks with Steve Inskeep

Even though there were talks of a ceasefire to coincide with the visit of the Egyptian prime minister to Gaza, today, the fighting has instead escalated.

Avital Leibovich, a spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces confirmed that for the first time, rockets fired from Gaza hit an area outside Jerusalem. The Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, who leads the West Bank, said that the "escalation is at its peak," both in Gaza and out of Gaza.

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The Two-Way
3:44 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Al Gore: Most Americans Still Agree Climate Change Is Getting Worse

Former Vice President Al Gore.
Jon Kalish NPR

Originally published on Sat November 17, 2012 7:04 pm

Climate change and the environment were not major topics of the presidential campaign. And on Wednesday, President Obama said that while he believes more needs to be done to address what's happening, he won't "ignore jobs and growth simply to address climate change."

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The Two-Way
12:08 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

BP's $4 Billion Criminal Penalty: Who Gets The Money?

July 2010: Two pelicans sit on booms protecting Queen Bess Island, La., from oil that spilled after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in April.
Chris Graythen Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 2:37 pm

(We updated this post with more details at 2:25 p.m. ET. Scroll down to see them.)

Now that BP has pleaded guilty and agreed to pay $4 billion in criminal penalties for misconducted related to the 2010 Gulf Oil spill, there's a logical question:

Where does the money go?

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The Two-Way
10:41 am
Thu November 15, 2012

Update: United Airlines Says It's Back In Operation

United Airlines jets in San Francisco earlier this year.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 11:08 am

Update at 11:05 a.m. ET: "Our system is up. We're resuming operations for affected flights," United Airlines says. There's no word yet on how long it will take to get everyone where they need to go.

Our original post:

If you're headed to the airport and planning to fly on United today, be aware:

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The Two-Way
9:58 am
Thu November 15, 2012

What Are They Smoking In Seattle? Check Out Police Dept.'s Guide To Pot Use

A young cannabis plant at grows at The Joint Cooperative in Seattle, Washington Jan. 27.
Cliff DesPeaux Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 12:11 pm

We love when police departments put some personality and pizzazz into their public statements.

So the Seattle Police Department's blog post headlined "Marijwhatnow? A Guide to Legal Marijuana Use In Seattle," definitely got our attention.

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The Two-Way
8:56 am
Thu November 15, 2012

Superstorm Sandy Sends Jobless Claims Up Sharply

The line was long last week at a job fair in Chicago.
Scott Olson Getty Images

There were 439,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, up by 78,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration says. Behind the big increase: Superstorm Sandy, which threw some people in the Mid-Atlantic onto the unemployment rolls and shut down state unemployment offices the week before — meaning that some claims were postponed into last week.

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The Two-Way
7:31 am
Thu November 15, 2012

In Israel And Gaza Strip: More Explosions, Deaths On Both Sides

An Israeli soldier lies on the ground as missiles are fired from an Iron Dome anti-missile station on Thursday near the city of Beer Sheva, Israel. The Iron Dome was activated to intercept incoming rockets launched from Gaza.
Ilia Yefimovich Getty Images

Originally published on Sun November 18, 2012 9:21 am

  • Anthony Kuhn talks with Linda Wertheimer on 'Morning Editon'

Update at 1:30 p.m. ET. Firing Continues:

"Intensive fire" has continued through the day across the border of Israel and the Gaza Strip, correspondent Linda Gradstein, who is in Jerusalem, tells our Newscast Desk.

Hamas has now fired more than 130 rockets toward southern Israel and the Israeli military continues to fire at targets in Gaza. Palestinian officials report at least 13 deaths on their side of the border. The death toll in Israel remains at three.

White House spokesman Jay Carney today told reporters that:

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The Two-Way
1:22 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Live Blog: President Obama's News Conference

President Obama during his news conference at the White House today.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 9:44 pm

  • Listen to NPR Coverage of the News Conference

Eight days after his re-election — with the fiscal cliff looming, questions being raised about the deadly attack on the U.S.

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The Two-Way
10:55 am
Wed November 14, 2012

Israel Aims Airstrikes At Hamas Targets In Gaza

A car hit by one of today's airstrikes in Gaza City.
Ali Hassan Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Sun November 18, 2012 9:13 am

Update at 3 p.m. ET. At Least 10 Dead; Israel Issues More Warnings:

As we've been reporting, Israel hit targets in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip today with multiple airstrikes. The Associated Press says at least 10 people were killed. Among them was Ahmed Jabari, the commander of Hamas' military wing.

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The Two-Way
9:39 am
Wed November 14, 2012

Reports: Pelosi Wants To Remain Democratic Leader In House

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 10:31 am

Update at 10:25 a.m. ET. Pelosi Confirms:

Saying that she wants to work on "empowering women .... growing the economy ... [and] a healthy political climate," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California just confirmed that she intends to remain as leader of the Democratic caucus in the House.

Pelosi, who was first elected to Congress in 1987, is the only woman to have served as speaker of the House (from 2007 to 2011).

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The Two-Way
8:49 am
Wed November 14, 2012

Should Petraeus Scandal Be A Big Topic At Obama's News Conference Today?

President Obama at the White House last week.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Eight days after his re-election, President Obama today holds his first full-scale news conference in the East Room of the White House since March.

It's safe to think that the White House had hoped the focus would be on subjects such as the fiscal cliff, taxes, the economy and the president's thoughts on what he can get accomplished in his second term.

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The Two-Way
7:47 am
Wed November 14, 2012

Panetta: Don't Leap To Conclusions About Gen. Allen

Then-Army Gen. David Petraeus (left) and Marine Corps Gen. John Allen in August, 2011.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 7:24 pm

  • Journalist Tom Ricks talks with NPR's Steve Inskeep on 'Morning Edition'

"No one should leap to any conclusions" about whether the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan did anything inappropriate when he was communicating with a Tampa socialite, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told reporters today.

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The Two-Way
1:46 pm
Tue November 13, 2012

Prince Charles Doesn't Order Seven Eggs And Eat Just One, Palace Says

Prince Charles does like eggs, but he doesn't insist on being able to choose from among many, the palace says.
Michael Dunlea PA Photos /Landov

Weird headline, right? But in case you were wondering, Britain's royal website says:

-- Prince Charles has not asked that seven eggs be boiled for his breakfast, only to eat just the one that pleases him most. He's never done that "at breakfast or any other time."

-- His wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, "gave up smoking many years ago."

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The Two-Way
12:49 pm
Tue November 13, 2012

'Washington Post' Editor Steps Down; 'Boston Globe' Editor To Fill Job

Jonathan Ernst Reuters /Landov

The Washington Post just announced that executive editor Marcus Brauchli is leaving that position to "become vice president of The Washington Post Company with responsibility for evaluating new media opportunities."

His successor has already been hired: Martin Baron, editor of the Boston Globe, will move to the Post on Jan. 2.

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The Two-Way
11:06 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Cleveland's Convicted Idiot Finishes Punishment; Says She's Learned Lesson

On Wednesday, Shena Hardin  held her sign of shame higher — as the judge said she should.
Marvin Fong The Plain Dealer /Landov

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 10:50 am

Update at 9 a.m. ET, Nov. 14: "It's A Learning Lesson ... I'll Move Forward."

Shena Hardin, the Cleveland woman ordered to stand on a street corner with a sign saying she was in idiot for driving on a sidewalk to get past a stopped school bus, finished that two-day punishment this morning and issued a statement saying she's learned a lesson.

As Cleveland's 19ActionNews reports, Hardin:

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