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
11:59 am
Fri August 23, 2013

Drop In New Home Sales May Be Sign Higher Rates Are Biting

The scene earlier this year at a home construction site in Phoenix.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Proving once again that when it comes to economic data there's almost always a "but" to watch out for:

The housing sector has been one of the economy's stars in recent months, as we said Thursday when the news broke that sales of existing homes rose an estimated 6.5 percent in July from June.

But ...

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The Two-Way
9:45 am
Fri August 23, 2013

50,000 Stray Dogs In Detroit? That 'Makes No Sense'

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 1:23 pm

A disturbing story from Bloomberg News that we posted about on Wednesday — "Detroit's Stray Dog Epidemic: 50,000 Or More Roam The City" — is getting some pushback from Detroit journalist Jeff Wattrick.

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The Two-Way
8:11 am
Fri August 23, 2013

Sea Monster? Explanation Is Much Less Mysterious

Whatever it is, it's not pretty at this point.
https://www.facebook.com/ideal.almeria

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 11:33 am

We like stories about things that wash up on beaches, such as the softball-size eyeball that appeared on the Atlantic Ocean shore in Florida last fall.

So our eyes lit up when we saw this headline: "Mysterious 'Horned' Sea Monster Washes Ashore in Spain; Officials Baffled."

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The Two-Way
7:34 am
Fri August 23, 2013

Microsoft CEO Ballmer Retiring Within The Next Year

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer speaks at the Microsoft "Build" conference in San Francisco in June.
Robert Galbraith Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 12:52 pm

Steve Ballmer will retire as CEO at Microsoft within the next 12 months, the software giant announced Friday.

According to the company:

"In the meantime, Ballmer will continue as CEO and will lead Microsoft through the next steps of its transformation to a devices and services company that empowers people for the activities they value most."

Ballmer says in the same statement that:

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The Two-Way
6:57 am
Fri August 23, 2013

Woman Who Talked Down School Gunman Wins President's Praise

Antoinette Tuff, on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 on Thursday.
CNN.com

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 11:22 am

"She was remarkable," President Obama tells CNN after being asked about Antoinette Tuff.

She's the school bookkeeper in Decatur, Ga., who on Tuesday persuaded a young man with an assault rifle and other weapons to lay down the guns he had brought into her elementary school and give himself up to police.

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The Two-Way
6:16 am
Fri August 23, 2013

Top Stories: Talk Of Action Against Syria; Fort Hood Jury Meets

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 11:21 am

Good morning.

Our early headlines:

-- Obama: Time Frame For Possible Action On Syria Has Shortened.

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The Two-Way
5:33 am
Fri August 23, 2013

After Wild Start, Silence From Bo Xilai Corruption Trial

Bo Xilai, in white shirt, on Thursday during his trial on corruption charges at the Jinan Intermediate People's Court in China's Shandong Province.
Kyodo/Landov

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 11:19 am

  • From 'Morning Edition': Anthony Kuhn on the trial of Bo Xilai

Chinese authorities clamped down Friday on information coming out of the high-profile corruption trial of one-time rising political star Bo Xilai.

As NPR's Anthony Kuhn reported on Morning Edition, during Thursday's opening day in court Bo appeared to run circles around the judges and prosecutors. He denied any guilt, claimed a confession he gave had been coerced and called the testimony of his own wife "laughable."

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The Two-Way
4:46 am
Fri August 23, 2013

Obama: Time Frame For Possible Action On Syria Has Shortened

Syrian activists — many wearing gas masks — looked for victims and evidence Thursday in an area near Damascus where government forces allegedly used chemical weapons.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 12:05 pm

While the U.S. and its allies cannot move militarily against Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime "without a U.N. mandate and without clear evidence" that Assad's forces have used chemical weapons, the time within which a decision about such action must be made has been shortened, President Obama tells CNN.

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The Two-Way
11:31 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Colorado Town May Issue Licenses To Shoot Down Drones

A federal drone that's used to patrol the U.S.-Canadian border.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection AP

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 12:25 pm

Drones have not been spotted flying over the little town of Deer Trail, Colo., about 55 miles east of Denver.

But that hasn't stopped an effort by some in the town of 550 residents to make it legal to shoot down the unmanned aerial vehicles.

On Oct. 8, people there "will vote on whether to issue permits to hunt drones," The Associated Press writes.

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The Two-Way
10:35 am
Thu August 22, 2013

The Lorax Is Home! Statue Taken From Dr. Seuss' Garden Found

The Lorax, before he was taken away.
San Diego Police Department

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 11:25 am

The Lorax was missing,

From Dr. Seuss' garden.

Who could be so cruel?

Had their heart just hardened?

--

Now there's good news.

The little guy's back.

Found quite nearby,

Off the beaten track.

--

A man in Montana

Had a tip for police.

And for Seuss' family,

The news brought some peace.

--

His clue led to a canyon,

Beneath the Seuss home.

There the statue was found.

In a bush, quite alone.

--

A prank had gone bad,

Perpetrators had chickened.

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The Two-Way
8:40 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Mubarak Released From Prison, Now Under House Arrest

A supporter of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak celebrates his release from prison on Thursday. He's still under house arrest while awaiting retrial on various charges.
Khaled Elfiqi EPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 11:04 am

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has been released from the prison where he's been held while awaiting a retrial on charges related to the killing of protesters in 2011. The protesters lost their lives during the demonstrations that led to the topping of Mubarak's three-decade-old regime.

Earlier this week, a court ruled that after being held for two years while on trial and during his appeals, Mubarak could no longer be kept in prison. He's also facing corruption charges.

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The Two-Way
7:59 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Jobless Claims Rose Last Week; Still Around 5-Year Low

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 8:46 am

There were 13,000 more claims for unemployment insurance last week than during the week before, the Employment and Training Administration says.

According to the agency, 336,000 first-time claims were filed, up from 323,000 the week before.

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The Two-Way
7:03 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Bradley Manning: 'I Am A Female,' Call Me Chelsea

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, who now asks to be referred to as Chelsea, dressed as a woman in this 2010 photograph.
U.S. Army handout Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 11:05 am

"I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible."

That's part of a statement from Army Pfc. Bradley Manning to NBC-TV's Today show.

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The Two-Way
5:44 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Speculation Builds That San Diego Mayor Is On His Way Out

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner (D).
Fred Greaves Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 1:50 pm

Update at 3:40 p.m. ET. 'Tentative Agreement':

The law firm that has helped San Diego Mayor Bob Filner navigate the accusations of sexual harassment, says he and representatives of the city have "reached a tentative agreement," but declined to elaborate:

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The Two-Way
5:02 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Chemical Weapons Claims Spur Calls For Force Against Syria

Gas mask in one hand and rifle in the other, a Free Syrian Army fighter sits inside a house in the city of Homs early Thursday.
Yazan Homsy Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 1:11 pm

  • From the NPR Newscast: The BBC's Nick Bryant reports

Claims by the opposition in Syria that President Bashar Assad's forces used chemical weapons during an attack Wednesday near Damascus — killing scores of people, they say — are being followed Thursday by word that:

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The Two-Way
12:31 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Journey Of The Ring: Lost In WWII, Now Back With POW's Son

The ring that finally found its way home after nearly 70 years. David Cox, an American pilot, traded it for some food while he was a prisoner of war in Germany.
Courtesy of Norwood McDowell

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 4:11 am

  • David Cox Jr. talks with NPR's Melissa Block about the journey of his father's ring
  • David Cox Jr. talks with NPR's Melissa Block about how his father would have loved getting his ring back

"I can't touch it or pick it up without thinking about him and I can't pick it up without thinking about this journey of the ring."

That's David C. Cox Jr. of North Carolina talking Wednesday about the rather amazing saga of the ring his father had to trade for food in a German prisoner of war camp during World War II — a ring that has now made it back to the Cox family after seven decades.

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The Two-Way
10:42 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Detroit's Stray Dog Epidemic: 50,000 Or More Roam The City

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 9:49 am

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The Two-Way
8:56 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Sales Of Existing Homes Rose 6.5 Percent In July

A "sale pending" sign in San Anselmo, Calif., earlier this year.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 9:22 am

There was a strong increase in sales of existing homes in July, the National Association of Realtors reports, in yet another sign that the important housing sector is back on its feet.

In fact, says The Associated Press, sales approached "a healthy level for the first time since November 2009."

According to the NAR:

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The Two-Way
8:00 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Release Mubarak, Egyptian Court Orders

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak sits in the dock during a June 8 court hearing in Cairo.
Amr Abdallah Dalsh Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 8:57 am

An Egyptian court has ordered that former President Hosni Mubarak be released from custody while he awaits a retrial on charges related to the killing of protesters during the 2011 protests that led to the toppling of his government, NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Cairo.

Peter adds that even though that case and others related to corruption charges are still active, Mubarak's release would "likely spark anxiety that the military-backed government now in charge is returning Egypt to the authoritarian state it was in before the Arab Spring."

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The Two-Way
7:00 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Not Funny: Clerk Critically Injured In Hasselhoff Sign Theft

One of the promotional images for Cumberland Farms' "Iced Hoffee."
Cumberland Farms' Facebook page

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 11:22 am

What's been a relatively amusing trend in New England — the theft in the past year of more than 550 advertising signs featuring actor David Hasselhoff — isn't funny anymore.

A clerk who works at a Cumberland Farms convenience store in Shelton, Conn., "remains in critical condition after falling while trying to stop an SUV from driving away with stolen David Hasselhoff signs," The Hartford Courant says.

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The Two-Way
6:27 am
Wed August 21, 2013

35-Year Sentence For Bradley Manning

U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning at Fort Meade, Md., on Tuesday.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 12:31 pm

Update at 10:18 a.m. ET. 35 Years:

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, who was responsible for the largest leak of classified information in U.S. history, was sentenced by a military judge to 35 years in prison Wednesday, according to reporters covering the trial at Fort Meade, Md. He'll get about 3 1/2 years' credit for time he's already spent behind bars.

More details (added at 10:30 a.m. ET):

-- Manning is also to be dishonorably discharged.

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The Two-Way
5:26 am
Wed August 21, 2013

School Clerk In Georgia Persuaded Gunman To Lay Down Weapons

Laterrica Luther holds the hand of her 6-year-old nephew, Jaden Culpepper, as students from the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy arrive on buses to waiting loved ones in a Walmart parking lot in Decatur, Ga., on Tuesday. A gunman had entered the students' school earlier in the day. No one was hurt.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 9:45 am

Tuesday's terrifying incident at an elementary school near Atlanta — in which a gunman with an assault rifle and other weapons entered the building — ended with no one being hurt after a school clerk apparently spent about an hour talking to the young man. She says she persuaded him to put down his gun and surrender.

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The Two-Way
4:41 am
Wed August 21, 2013

New Reports Of Chemical Weapons In Syria; Many May Be Dead

Free Syrian Army fighters man an anti-aircraft gun on the back of a truck in Deir al-Zor on Tuesday.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 9:14 am

(We most recently updated this post at 9:10 a.m. ET.)

"Two Syrian pro-opposition groups are claiming that dozens of people were killed Wednesday in a poisonous gas attack near Damascus," NPR's Jean Cochran reported earlier this morning on our Newscast. The groups are blaming the attack on government forces, she said.

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The Two-Way
10:57 am
Tue August 20, 2013

Dick Van Dyke Can Still Laugh After His Car Burns To A Crisp

Dick Van Dyke's car after the fire. He's willing to sell it.
@iammrvandy

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The Two-Way
8:52 am
Tue August 20, 2013

Shot Through Mouth Was Bombing Suspect's Most Severe Injury

Boston bombings suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on April 19 as he emerged from a boat stored in a Watertown, Mass., backyard. The red dot of a police sharpshooter's laser sight can be seen on his forehead.
Mass. State Police Sgt. Sean Murphy Boston Magazine

When Boston Marathon bombings suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev arrived at the city's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center on April 19 he had "multiple gunshot wounds, the most severe of which appears to have entered through the left side inside of his mouth and exited the left face," the doctor who treated Tsarnaev testified in court three days later.

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The Two-Way
8:23 am
Tue August 20, 2013

Crime Novelist Elmore Leonard Dies

Writer Elmore Leonard died Tuesday at the age of 87.
Dermot Cleary Chasen

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 10:03 am

Elmore Leonard, the crime novelist whose best-sellers included Get Shorty, Freaky Deaky and Maximum Bob, died Tuesday morning at his Detroit-area home, according to statements from his longtime researcher Gregg Sutter on Twitter and to The Detroit News

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The Two-Way
6:15 am
Tue August 20, 2013

Prince George's First Official Photos Break With Tradition

In a second "first" photo of Prince George, the family's dogs joined in. Tilly, a retriever, is to the Duchess of Cambridge's right. Lupo, a cocker spaniel, is beside the duke.
Michael Middleton PA Photos /Landov

Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 9:41 am

For all you royal watchers:

"Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge have bypassed professional photographers and chosen family snapshots for the first official images of their new son, Prince George," as The Associated Press writes.

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