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
6:28 am
Fri August 9, 2013

Powerball Jackpot Winners Include 16 N.J. County Workers

Paul White of Ham Lake, Minn., and his partner Kim VanReese. White bought one of the three winning tickets in Wednesday's $448.4 million Powerball lottery. While one-third of the jackpot is about $149.4 million, he's chosen to take his share in a lump sum rather than spread out over many years. That lump sum is $86 million, which after taxes will be about $58 million.
Eric Miller Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 8:03 am

One of the three tickets that ended up being winners of Wednesday's $448.4 million Powerball jackpot belongs to a group of 16 workers at the Ocean County Vehicle Maintenance Department in New Jersey, according to local news outlets.

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The Two-Way
5:40 am
Fri August 9, 2013

Obama Set For News Conference Friday Afternoon

President Obama at the White House on Thursday.
Kevin Dietsch UPI /Landov

President Obama is set to hold a news conference at the White House on Friday at 3 p.m. ET — his first such formal give-and-take with the press corps since "NSA leaker" Edward Snowden starting spilling secrets about National Security Agency surveillance programs in June.

So we should expect questions about Snowden, spying and civil liberties, as well as strained relations with Russia, the economy and other subjects.

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The Two-Way
1:01 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Al-Qaida Conference Call? It Wasn't On Phone, Reporters Say

"Dial 1 if you're the conference host."
Mark Memmott NPR

Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 5:16 am

One of this week's most-talked-about stories is The Daily Beast's report that "the crucial intercept that prompted the U.S. government to close embassies in 22 countries was a conference call between al Qaeda's senior leaders and representatives of several of the group's affiliates throughout the region."

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The Two-Way
10:42 am
Thu August 8, 2013

'New York Times' Is Not For Sale, Sulzberger Says

Ramin Talaie Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 11:37 am

Responding to speculation that his newspaper would be next, New York Times Publisher and Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. has issued a flat "the Times is not for sale" statement.

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The Two-Way
9:16 am
Thu August 8, 2013

'Total Disgrace': Jackie Robinson Statue Defaced In Brooklyn

Before the damage: The statue of Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson, outside the stadium where the minor league Brooklyn Cyclones play.
AP

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 10:15 am

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The Two-Way
7:53 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Weekly Jobless Claims Hold Steady

The scene at a job fair in Manhattan earlier this year.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 9:54 am

There were 333,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, the Employment and Training Administration says. Claims were up 1.5 percent from the previous week's 328,000 — and basically remained at the lower end of the range where they've stayed for the better part of the last two years.

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The Two-Way
7:17 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Report: NSA Is Searching 'Vast Amounts' Of Americans' Emails

The National Security Agency headquarters at Fort Meade, Md.
Saul Loeb Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 9:50 am

"The National Security Agency is searching the contents of vast amounts of Americans' e-mail and text communications into and out of the country, hunting for people who mention information about foreigners under surveillance, according to intelligence officials," The New York Times reported Thursday.

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The Two-Way
6:28 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Burglars Return Loot To Group That Helps Sex Assault Victims

The note left behind by whoever took computers and other valuables from the offices of the San Bernadino County (Calif.) Sexual Assault Services. The goods were returned.
California Governor's Office of Emergency Services

Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 7:12 am

(Update at 7:30 a.m. on Aug. 9: Click here for new information about efforts to help the agency pay for the damage done to its office.)

Let's start our day with a feel-good story:

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The Two-Way
5:44 am
Thu August 8, 2013

3 Winning Powerball Tickets Sold: 2 In N.J., 1 In Minnesota

This one wasn't a winner: A Powerball ticket sold Wednesday in Port Washington, N.Y.
Shannon Stapleton Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 9:43 am

If you haven't gotten in touch recently with relatives in New Jersey and Minnesota, this might a good time to check on how they're doing.

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The Two-Way
1:00 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Why Were The Baboons So Sad? Many Theories, No Answers

The Emmen Zoo's baboons last week, when they were looking so sad.
Courtesy of the Emmen Zoo

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 5:06 am

  • Wijbren Landman, biologist and press officer at the Emmen Zoo, on why baboons sometimes act so sad.

When the keepers at the Netherlands' Emmen Zoo opened the night enclosure for 112 baboons on July 29, they expected the animals would be, as usual, eager to get inside.

After all, the baboons knew there was food for them in there.

Instead, biologist and zoo press officer Wijbren Landman tells All Things Considered the baboons didn't want to budge. "It took us about an hour to get them inside," he says. That night, the baboons didn't eat.

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The Two-Way
10:52 am
Wed August 7, 2013

Oh Snap! U.S. Tourist Breaks Finger Off 600-Year-Old Statue

A close-up of the damaged statue at Florence's Museo dell'Opera del Duomo.
Maurizio Degl' Innocenti EPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 4:23 pm

Add this to the list of damages done in recent years to important pieces of art:

"An American tourist in Italy has generated shock and outrage by snapping the finger off a 600-year-old statue at a museum in Florence." (NBC News)

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The Two-Way
8:48 am
Wed August 7, 2013

Shark Week Roundup: New SharkCat Video; 'Fake Documentary'

SharkCat in action.
YouTube.com

Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 10:09 am

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The Two-Way
8:44 am
Wed August 7, 2013

Obama Cancels One-On-One Meeting With Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Obama when they sat down together in June at a G8 summit in Northern Ireland.
Alexi Nikolsky EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 9:12 am

President Obama has canceled a one-on-one September summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the White House says.

It's the most dramatic effect so far on U.S.-Russian relations in the wake of Russia's decision to grant "NSA leaker" Edward Snowden temporary asylum while he tries to get safe haven in some third country.

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The Two-Way
7:11 am
Wed August 7, 2013

'I Am The Shooter,' Fort Hood Defendant Tells Court

Maj. Nidal Hasan faces 13 charges of murder and 32 of attempted murder for the November 2009 shootings at Fort Hood. A Muslim, he has refused a judge's order to shave his beard, though it violates Army regulations.
Bell County Sheriff's Office Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 11:17 am

  • From 'Morning Edition': NPR's Martin Kaste reports on Day 1 of the Fort Hood trial

(We updated this post at 11:30 a.m. ET with word that attorneys who are advising Maj. Nidal Hasan want to be excused from the case and at 12:15 p.m. ET with word that the trial had recessed for the day.)

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The Two-Way
5:53 am
Wed August 7, 2013

Yemeni Government Says Al-Qaida Plot Was Foiled

A Yemeni soldier stands guard Tuesday near Sanaa International Airport.
Mohammed Huwais AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 9:02 am

  • From 'Morning Edition': Journalist Iona Craig, in Yemen, talks with NPR's Renee Montagne

Yemen is still the focus of concern as the U.S., its allies and countries across the Middle East and North Africa remain on alert for possible terrorist attacks.

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The Two-Way
11:38 am
Tue August 6, 2013

Bezos Can Help 'Post' Disrupt Other Businesses, Editor Says

Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com and soon-to-be owner of The Washington Post, last month in Sun Valley, Idaho.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images
  • From 'Here & Now': 'Washington Post' executive editor Martin Baron on new owner Jeff Bezos

What does Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos bring to The Washington Post, which he just agreed to buy for $250 million?

Here's how the Post's executive editor, Martin Baron, answered that question Tuesday on Here & Now:

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The Two-Way
10:39 am
Tue August 6, 2013

Whitey Bulger Trial: Jurors Begin Deliberations

James "Whitey" Bulger, in an image released by the U.S. Marshal's Service in August 2011.
EPA /Landov

After a nearly 9-week trial, jurors now have the case and are beginning to debate the fate of infamous Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger.

He's accused of 19 murders and racketeering. The trial featured gripping testimony from several of Bulger's accomplices over the years, who told harrowing tales of what they said had been brutal killings.

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The Two-Way
10:09 am
Tue August 6, 2013

FATBERG! 15-Ton 'Lump Of Lard' Removed From London Sewer

That's a lot of fat: A photo showing some of the 15-ton "fatberg" that was clogging up a London sewer system.
Thames Water AP

Set this post aside until after lunch if you have a sensitive stomach.

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The Two-Way
8:02 am
Tue August 6, 2013

Will 'The New York Times' Be Next To Be Sold?

The New York Times' front page on Tuesday.
NYTimes.com

Originally published on Tue August 6, 2013 9:26 am

  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports on Jeff Bezos
  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's David Folkenflik talks with Linda Wertheimer about the sale of 'The Washington Post'

After Monday's surprising news that Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos is buying The Washington Post for $250 million — a deal that came just days after the Boston Globe was sold for $70 million to Boston Red Sox owner John Henry — a question naturally occurs:

Who's next?

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The Two-Way
7:13 am
Tue August 6, 2013

VIDEO: Boos And A Blooper For A-Rod

New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez during Monday's game in Chicago.
Brian Kersey UPI /Landov

Here's a better look and listen to what it was like Monday night in Chicago when New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez returned to the lineup on the same day he was hit with a 211-game suspension for allegedly using performance-enhancing substances (he can play while he appeals that punishment).

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The Two-Way
6:07 am
Tue August 6, 2013

'Depart Immediately,' State Dept. Tells Americans In Yemen

An army trooper sits beside a machine gun that is mounted on a patrol vehicle at a checkpoint in Sanaa, Yemen. Security is tight in the capital amid warnings about possible terrorist attacks.
Khaled Abdullah Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue August 6, 2013 11:25 am

  • From 'Morning Edition': NPR's Dina Temple-Raston talks with Linda Wertheimer about the terrorism alerts

Warning that "the security threat level in Yemen is extremely high," the State Department is urging any Americans in that country to "depart immediately."

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The Two-Way
12:17 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

15 Years Later, Tawana Brawley Has Paid 1 Percent Of Penalty

Tawana Brawley, with the Rev. Al Sharpton, in 1988.
Mark Elias AP

Originally published on Mon August 5, 2013 1:32 pm

It was 1987 when a black teenager, Tawana Brawley, said she had been raped and kidnapped by a group of white men in Dutchess County, N.Y.

Her story of being attacked, scrawled with racial slurs, smeared with feces and left beside a road wrapped in a plastic bag made front pages across the nation — especially after the Rev. Al Sharpton took up her case.

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The Two-Way
10:23 am
Mon August 5, 2013

San Diego Mayor Starting Rehab; Accusers Count Now At 10

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner in July.
Bill Wechter Getty Images

Today's the day San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, who's now been accused by 10 women of sexual harassment, is to start two weeks of treatment at a behavior counseling clinic.

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The Two-Way
9:27 am
Mon August 5, 2013

4-Year-Old Re-Elected 'Mayor' Of Minnesota Town

Mayor Bobby Tufts of Dorset, Minn.
Jeff Baenen AP

His second job will be at a pre-school.

As a student.

Four-year-old Bobby Tufts was re-elected "mayor" over the weekend in the tiny northern Minnesota community of Dorset. We say "mayor" because Dorset doesn't really have a government. It doesn't even have many people — "22 to 28, depending on whether the minister and his family are in town," according to CBS Minnesota.

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The Two-Way
9:11 am
Mon August 5, 2013

Woman Killed In Venice Beach Rampage Was On Her Honeymoon

Flowers and notes have been left at the scene in Venice Beach, Calif., where Italian honeymooner Alice Gruppioni was killed and about a dozen more people were injured by a car that plowed through crowds on the boardwalk.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

The young woman killed Saturday when a car plowed through the crowded boardwalk in Venice Beach, Calif., was an Italian honeymooner.

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The Two-Way
7:21 am
Mon August 5, 2013

Terror Threat Shakes Up NSA Debate, Unites Some Lawmakers

A checkpoint leading to the closed U.S. Embassy compound in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, on Saturday.
Mohammed Huwais AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 5, 2013 10:17 am

The Obama administration's weekend decision to close diplomatic posts from Central Asia through the Middle East and into North Africa has led to applause from "rattled lawmakers in both parties," The Washington Post writes.

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The Two-Way
6:33 am
Mon August 5, 2013

Baseball Suspends Alex Rodriguez For 211 Games

He's waiting to hear his fate: New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez.
John Angelillo UPI /Landov

Originally published on Mon August 5, 2013 5:49 pm

(We most recently updated this post at 6:48 p.m. ET.)

New York Yankees' slugger Alex Rodriguez, one of baseball's brightest stars and its highest-paid player, will be suspended through the 2014 regular season because he violated parts of baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, the league said today.

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The Two-Way
12:56 pm
Fri July 26, 2013

Dying 'Simpsons' Co-Creator Will Give His Fortune To Charity

Sam Simon in 2008.
Joe Corrigan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 26, 2013 6:03 pm

Sam Simon, who helped create The Simpsons and continues to earn "tens of millions" of dollars each year from royalties generated by the show, is dying from colon cancer.

Doctors say he has less than six months to live.

Here's the part of his story we especially want to pass along: When he's gone, the 58-year-old writer and producer says, his Simpsons royalties will go to charity. The donations will come on top of the millions he's given away since striking it rich as a younger man.

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The Two-Way
10:14 am
Fri July 26, 2013

Snowden Wouldn't Face Death Penalty, Holder Tells Russia

Edward Snowden, seen during a video interview with The Guardian.
Glenn Greenwald/Laura Poitras EPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri July 26, 2013 11:00 am

"The United States would not seek the death penalty for Mr. Snowden should he return to the United States," Attorney General Eric Holder has told his Russian counterpart in a letter about the "NSA leaker" who remains in legal limbo at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport.

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