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
10:00 am
Fri December 30, 2011

Someday, Your Car May Know If That's Your Butt In The Driver's Seat

"Oh dear, the car doesn't seem to recognize me." (1960 file photo from the U.K.)
Chaloner Woods Getty Images

We're a little behind on this story, butt it's too fantasstic not to point out:

Researchers at the University of Tokyo's Graduate School of Industrial Technology have developed an anti-theft device for cars that senses whether the derriere sitting in the driver's seat is or isn't supposed to be there.

Not the right backside? Then the vehicle won't start.

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The Two-Way
8:50 am
Fri December 30, 2011

Top Stories: New Clashes In Syria; No Softening In North Korea

Good morning.

Our early headlines on this last Friday of 2011 (except in Samoa):

-- Clashes Resume In Syria, Activists Say.

-- 'Outrage' Over Verizon's Plan For $2 Payment Fee.

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The Two-Way
8:38 am
Fri December 30, 2011

Clashes Resume In Syria, Activists Say

"Syrian forces and activists have clashed during after-prayer protests in Damascus, as Arab observers continue their mission in the country," the BBC reports. It adds that "activists said troops fired nail bombs to disperse protesters who retaliated with stones in the suburb of Douma."

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The Two-Way
8:25 am
Fri December 30, 2011

Fireworks, Celebrations As Samoa Skips Friday

"Sirens wailed and fireworks exploded in the skies over Samoa as the tiny South Pacific nation jumped forward in time" today, The Associated Press writes.

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The Two-Way
7:55 am
Fri December 30, 2011

'Outrage' Over Verizon's Plan For $2 Payment Fee

Eric Thayer Getty Images

There's been an "uproar on the Web," as The New York Times says this morning, over the plan by Verizon Wireless to charge $2 for some methods of paying your bill.

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The Two-Way
7:20 am
Fri December 30, 2011

Romney, Paul Are 1 And 2 In Another Iowa Poll, Santorum Rising

Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney campaigning in Ames, Iowa, on Thursday (Dec. 29, 2011).
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 30, 2011 11:32 am

With just one holiday weekend between now and Tuesday's Republican presidential caucuses in Iowa, there's another poll signalling that it could be a close battle at the top between former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas). And also once again, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania is on the rise and showing up at No. 3.

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The Two-Way
2:58 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

Are You Being Paid $600,000 To Party?

She'll be paid well to party: Kim Kardashian.
David Livingston Getty Images

Headlines claiming that celebrity-whose-famous-for-being-famous Kim Kardashian will be paid $600,000 to host a New Year's Eve party at the Tao nightclub in Las Vegas' Venetian hotel and casino and then return to the Tao a few more times in 2012 to make "special appearances," certainly catch your eye.

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The Two-Way
1:55 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

Iran Much In Mind As U.S. Wraps Up $30B Sale Of Fighters To Saudi Arabia

Originally published on Thu December 29, 2011 1:57 pm

The news that the U.S. has finalized a deal to sell nearly $30 billion worth of F-15SA fighter jets and other equipment to Saudi Arabia comes, as every story about the agreement says, as America and its allies seek to further isolate and pressure Iran so long as that Persian nation continues to be a threat to others in the region.

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The Two-Way
1:10 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

Surprise Headline Of The Day: Gadhafi's Daughter 'Eyeing Asylum In Israel'

Aisha Gadhafi in 2006.
Khaled Desouki AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 31, 2011 12:24 pm

Stay with us for a minute while we walk through the reporting chain:

The Los Angeles Times writes today that former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's 35-year-old daughter Aisha is "reportedly eyeing asylum in Israel."

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The Two-Way
11:40 am
Thu December 29, 2011

Unused Gift Cards? What About A Group That Collects Them For Charities?

Our post-Christmas post about the estimated $41 billion worth of gift cards that haven't been redeemed since 2005 seemed to strike a chord. And our shout-out for ideas about what to do with cards you don't want or that only have a little bit of money left on them generated some good responses. Such as this:

Trena Gravem (Trena) wrote:

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The Two-Way
10:55 am
Thu December 29, 2011

Petraeus Did Not Consider Quitting Over Afghan Drawdown, Author Says

Gen. David Petraeus in Kandahar, Afghanistan, on July 4, 2011.
U.S. Navy Lt. j.g. Haraz N. Ghanbari Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 29, 2011 11:16 am

The lede on an Associated Press report this morning:

"Four-star general-turned-CIA director David Petraeus almost resigned as Afghanistan war commander over President Barack Obama's decision to quickly draw down surge forces, according to a new insider's look at Petraeus' 37-year Army career."

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The Two-Way
8:40 am
Thu December 29, 2011

Jobless Claims Rise By 15,000

The number of Americans filing first-time claims for jobless benefits grew by 15,000 last week from the previous week, to 381,000, the Employment and Training Administration just reported. It was the first increase in the past four weeks.

The agency adds, though, that "the 4-week moving average was 375,000, a decrease of 5,750 from the previous week's revised average of 380,750."

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The Two-Way
8:10 am
Thu December 29, 2011

In Syria: Videos Belie Monitor's Comment About 'Nothing Frightening'

Sudanese Gen. Mustafa al-Dabi told reporters Wednesday that he had seen "nothing frightening" during his first visit to the Syrian city of Homs this week.

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The Two-Way
7:40 am
Thu December 29, 2011

Report: Criminal Charges Being Prepared Against BP For Gulf Oil Spill

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

"U.S. prosecutors are preparing what would be the first criminal charges against BP PLC employees stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident, which killed 11 workers and caused the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history," The Wall Street Journal reports this morning, citing "people familiar with the matter."

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The Two-Way
2:40 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

There Will Be No Friday This Week In Samoa

Samoa: Would you argue with getting an extra day in a place like this?
D. Kirkland/Samoa Tourist Authority AP

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 2:53 pm

What's happening in Samoa on Friday?

Nothing (sort of).

Officially, the day won't exist.

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The Two-Way
1:25 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

In S.C.: Whether To Say 'It's A Great Day' Is Now A Political Issue

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R).
Chris Keane Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 1:26 pm

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) has told her Cabinet agencies that all employees should answer their phones with this greeting:

"It's a great day in South Carolina. How can I help you?"

But two Democratic members of the state House are sponsoring legislation that would prohibit any agency from ordering its staff to say that unless it truly is a "great day in South Carolina" (according to those legislators).

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The Two-Way
12:30 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

'Dead By Morning' Facebook Post Leads To Woman's Rescue, Man's Arrest

Facebook.com

National media are catching up on a harrowing story from Utah, where police say a woman who had been kidnapped, raped and beaten for days was able to post a Christmas Eve message for help on Facebook that led to the rescue of her and her 17-month-old son, and the arrest of a man now being held on $1 million bail.

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The Two-Way
11:00 am
Wed December 28, 2011

VIDEO: Monks Brawl With Brooms In Bethlehem's Church Of The Nativity

There was a brawl today inside Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity.

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