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
12:28 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Reports That Gov. Christie Will Give Keynote Tamp Down Veep Talk

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R).
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

News that first broke in the New York Post would seem to signal that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie isn't going to be the Republican Party's vice presidential nominee.

The Post reports that "the word is going out quietly to Republican activists across New Jersey. ... Gov. Chris Christie is going to be giving the keynote speech" at the GOP convention in Tampa next month.

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The Two-Way
10:46 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Heir To Billions Charged With Preventing Wife's Burial, Not Murder

Hans Kristian Rausing as he arrived at court earlier today.
Facundo Arrizabalaga EPA /Landov

Though he had been arrested on suspicion of murder, the son of a Swedish billionaire has only been charged with "preventing the lawful and decent burial of the body of his wife," The Guardian reports.

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The Two-Way
9:26 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Housing Starts Hit Four-Year High; Bernanke Heads Back To Capitol Hill

In Phoenix earlier this month, workers were framing this new home.
Matt York AP

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 9:57 am

There's more evidence that the housing sector is on the mend and may be the sector of the economy that's got the most going for it these days.

According to the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development there was a 6.9 percent increase in "housing starts" last month. At an annual rate of 760,000, ground-breaking for construction of single-family homes, apartments and condominiums the pace hit a four-year high, The Associated Press says.

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The Two-Way
8:40 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Iceberg Twice The Size Of Manhattan Breaks Off Glacier In Greenland

A view of the glacier taken Tuesday. Inside the square: the iceberg that broke off.
NASA Earth Observatory

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 11:30 am

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The Two-Way
7:30 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Syrian Defense Minister Killed In Explosion, State TV Says

Syrian Defense Minister Gen. Dawoud Rajha last September.
Syrian Arab News Agency AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 11:49 am

The uprising in Syria against the regime of President Bashar Assad took a dramatic turn today when an explosion at a government building in Damascus killed the country's defense minister and a brother-in-law of the president.

Syrian state TV, which is reporting the deaths, has blamed a suicide bomber. There have been at least two claims of responsiblity from groups opposed to the Assad regime. There are also reports that the bomber was a member of the Assad inner circle's security team.

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The Two-Way
3:53 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Pot Growers May Be Killing Rare Creatures With Poison, Researchers Say

A fisher. It now has another challenge.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Already among the animals that may be added to the list of those protected by the Endangered Species Act, the weasel-like fisher now faces this deadly threat:

Rat poison that illegal marijuana growers put out to protect their crops in California.

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The Two-Way
11:13 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Boy Scouts Reaffirm Ban On Open Gays; Call It 'Absolutely The Best Policy'

In Mississippi last month, scouts took part in a flag retirement ceremony.
Philip Hall / Enterprise-Journal AP

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 11:56 am

"After a confidential two-year review, the Boy Scouts of America has emphatically reaffirmed its policy of excluding gays," The Associated Press reports.

According to the wire service, Scouts spokesman Deron Smith said the 11-member committee decided that is "absolutely the best policy" for the organization.

The Boy Scouts' policy states that:

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The Two-Way
10:19 am
Tue July 17, 2012

In 'Dour' Report, Fed's Bernanke Says Economy Has Decelerated

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 2:10 pm

"The U.S. economy has continued to recover, but economic activity appears to have decelerated somewhat during the first half of this year," Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke tells Congress this morning in testimony prepared for his semiannual report on economic conditions and monetary policy.

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The Two-Way
10:01 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Dutch Police Join Investigation Into Needles Found In Delta Sandwiches

A Delta Air Lines jet being serviced last year by Gate Gourmet caterers in San Francisco.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 3:22 pm

"Police at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport say they still do not know how needles got into turkey sandwiches on Delta Air Lines flights from Amsterdam to the United States, but are investigating," The Associated Press reports.

As The Wall Street Journal writes:

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The Two-Way
9:32 am
Tue July 17, 2012

VIDEO: Hero Neighbor Catches 7-Year-Old Girl Who Falls 3 Stories

Steven St. Bernard, who made the catch that saved a little girl from serious injury or worse.
CBS New York

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 12:42 pm

"I was just praying that I would get there and that if she [fell] that I would catch her," Steven St. Bernard tells CBS 2 TV in New York City.

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The Two-Way
7:55 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Mass Casualties After Shootings In Toronto And Tuscaloosa

Separate mass shootings at opposite ends of North America have left dozens wounded and at least two people dead.

Late Monday evening in Toronto, two people were killed and at least 19 others wounded in a shooting that "Police Chief Bill Blair called the worst in the city's history," The Globe and Mail writes. It adds that:

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The Two-Way
7:41 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Pentagon Is Prepping Defenses Against Iran, 'Wall Street Journal' Reports

One of this morning's scoops, from The Wall Street Journal:

"The Pentagon is building a missile-defense radar station at a secret site in Qatar and organizing its biggest-ever minesweeping exercises in the Persian Gulf, as preparations accelerate for a possible flare-up with Iran, according to U.S. officials."

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The Two-Way
7:26 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Drought In U.S. Now Worst Since 1956; Food Prices To Spike, Economy To Suffer

On Monday, a weed was growing through the dry earth at Marion Kujawa's pond, which he normally uses to water the cattle on his farm in Ashley, Ill.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 5:16 pm

With about 55 percent of the continental U.S. suffering from "moderate to extreme drought" conditions the nation is withering under conditions that haven't been this bad since 1956, according to a new report from National Climatic Data Center.

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The Two-Way
12:13 pm
Mon July 16, 2012

Fifth Fatal Shark Attack Has Australia Reconsidering Great Whites' Protection

A Great White off the coast of South Africa in 2009.
Dan Kitwood Getty Images

There are shark encounters you may laugh at — such as the one we posted about last week. The reactions of a young woman and man when a bull shark steals a fish from the end of her line are wonderful.

Then there are the stories that are no laughing matter — such as those coming in recent days from western Australia.

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The Two-Way
10:57 am
Mon July 16, 2012

Twist, But Don't Shout: McCartney & Springsteen Have Plug Pulled In London

Paul McCartney, left, and Bruce Springsteen during Saturday's show in Hyde Park — before the plug was pulled. Frame grab from video posted by "BenR753" on YouTube.
YouTube.com

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The Two-Way
9:55 am
Mon July 16, 2012

Florida A&M President's Resignation To Be Effective Immediately

James Ammons in 2006.
Gerry Broome AP

Instead of staying on until his retirement in October, it was reported this morning that Florida A&M University President James Ammons' resignation will be effective immediately.

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The Two-Way
9:03 am
Mon July 16, 2012

Military Chief's Removal, Rise In Hemlines: Hopeful Signs In North Korea?

Dec. 29, 2011: new North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, and Vice Marshal Ri Yong Ho at a national memorial service for Kim's father, Kim Jong Il. Reports from North Korea say the military leader has been removed from his post.
AP

Less than a week after all the tea-reading over what, if anything, it means that Korean leader Kim Jong Un may have a love in his life, now there are these stories to ponder:

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The Two-Way
8:49 am
Mon July 16, 2012

Retail Sales Dip For Third Straight Month, But Are Still Up From Year Earlier

The bad news: Retail sales fell 0.5 percent in June from May, the Census Bureau says. It's the third straight month that sales have been down from the month before.

But, Census adds that June sales were 3.8 percent above the pace of June 2011. And, "sales for the April through June 2012 period were up 4.7 percent ... from the same period a year ago."

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