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
11:01 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Putin Reportedly Joins List Of Nobel Peace Prize Nominees

Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Alexey Nikolsky AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 11:13 am

Russian President Vladimir Putin is among the 278 nominees for a 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, according to Peace Research Institute Oslo, an institution that closely tracks the Nobel committee's work.

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The Two-Way
9:44 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Ex-IRS Official Invokes 5th Amendment Again, Then Things Get Hot

Former IRS official Lois Lerner raises her hand as she's sworn in Wednesday at the start of a House Oversight & Government Reform Committee hearing. She declined to answer questions posed by Chairman Darrell Issa, invoking her Fifth Amendment right.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 10:34 am

As she's done before, the woman at the center of the political storm over the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of some conservative groups from 2010 into 2012 invoked her Fifth Amendment right not to answer questions during a brief appearance before a congressional committee on Wednesday.

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The Two-Way
7:35 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Don't Worry, They Say, 100-Foot Asteroid Will Miss Us Today

A NASA artist's illustration depicts an asteroid belt around a star that the space agency says is "the same age and size as our Sun."
NASA/JPL-Caltech

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 9:56 am

Don't say you weren't warned.

But also don't worry, the experts say.

As we wrote last month when an asteroid measuring about 900 feet long passed near enough to Earth to generate headlines about a "close encounter," more rocks are always headed our way.

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The Two-Way
6:58 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Job Growth Was Weak Again In February, ADP Survey Shows

The scene at a job fair last year in Emeryville, Calif.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Private employers added only 139,000 jobs to their payrolls in February and job growth in January was even less than previously thought, according to the latest ADP National Employment Report.

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The Two-Way
5:58 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Overruled: Gov. Says Kentucky Will Appeal Same-Sex Marriage Order

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear
Bill Greenblatt UPI/Landov

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 7:54 am

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear says his state will hire outside counsel to appeal a federal judge's order to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages.

The governor's announcement follows word from the state's attorney general, Jack Conway, that his office will not pursue such an appeal.

Both men are Democrats.

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The Two-Way
5:23 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Time For Tense Negotiations In Ukraine, Kerry Says

Armed men in unmarked military uniforms — who witnesses believe are Russian troops, but who Russian leaders say are "local self-defense" forces — stand outside the territory of a Ukrainian military unit in the Crimean village of Perevalnoye.
Maxim Shipenkov EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 5:15 am

This post was updated at 5:10 p.m. ET.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said all sides agree that the crisis on the Crimean Peninsula must be resolved through dialogue, but he acknowledged there has yet to be one-on-one discussions between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart.

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The Two-Way
12:18 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

'12 Years A Slave' Leads To Correction Of 161-Year-Old Story

In Twelve Years A Slave, Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Solomon Northup, who was kidnapped and sold into slavery.
Jaap Buitendijk Fox Searchlight Pictures

Here's something of another victory for new media over old media.

The New York Times on Tuesday corrected a 161-year-old report about the enslavement of Solomon Northup, after a Twitter user pointed out that the story had twice misspelled Northup's name — including in the headline.

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The Two-Way
10:20 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Obama's $3.9 Trillion Budget Would Produce $564 Billion Deficit

Copies of President Obama's proposed budget for fiscal 2015, after they were delivered to the Senate Budget Committee on Tuesday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 11:53 am

As expected, President Obama on Tuesday unveiled a $3.9 trillion budget plan for fiscal 2015 that his number crunchers say would produce a $564 billion deficit.

The gap between spending and revenue, while large, would be down from more than $744 billion this fiscal year and a record $1.4 trillion in 2009 — a fiscal year that began when President George W. Bush was still in office. Since then, deficits during the Obama years have topped $1 trillion three times.

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The Two-Way
9:23 am
Tue March 4, 2014

$2 Million Settlement Closes Ohio's 'Caged Kids' Case

Down this road is the home in northern Ohio where 11 children endured abuses such as being forced to sleep in cages. They were rescued in 2005.
Jamie-Andrea Yanak AP

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 9:26 am

A notorious story that became known as the "caged kids" case after 11 young children were rescued from an Ohio home nearly a decade ago has gotten to its final chapter.

The 11 victims have reached a $2 million settlement with Ohio's Stark County where three of them had lived before being placed in the home of Michael and Sharen Gravelle, where the adoptive parents forced the children to sleep in cages.

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The Two-Way
9:20 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Kentucky Won't Appeal Order To Recognize Same-Sex Marriages

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, pictured in January 2013, said that appealing the judge's order "would be defending discrimination."
Roger Alford AP

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 10:40 am

"Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway will not appeal a federal judge's order that the state must recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages," NPR member station WFPL reports from Louisville.

"From a constitutional perspective, Judge Heyburn got it right," Conway said in announcing his decision on Tuesday, the station adds.

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The Two-Way
7:59 am
Tue March 4, 2014

For Those Itching To Etch, Great Wall Now Has A Graffiti Zone

Two of the names carved into the Great Wall, in this case near Badaling, China. Authorities hope to cut down on graffiti by giving tourists a designated spot to leave their marks.
David Guttenfelder AP

Chinese authorities are trying to contain a growing problem — graffiti written on and carved into the stones of the Great Wall of China — by giving tourists a designated section on which they can leave their marks.

China News Service reports that "Mutianyu, a famous section of the Great Wall of China, has established a specified area for graffiti to better protect the ancient heritage item, the governing authority said on Sunday."

Most of the graffiti, the news service says, is in English.

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The Two-Way
6:10 am
Tue March 4, 2014

At Last, No News Is Good News When It Comes To The Weather

For one day at least, an "all clear" has been issued.
National Weather Service

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 7:37 am

We wouldn't normally post a map that basically says there's nothing happening.

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The Two-Way
5:17 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Putin Says Those Aren't Russian Forces In Crimea

Russian President Vladimir Putin during his news conference Tuesday.
Alexei Nikolsky AP

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 10:50 am

  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's David Greene speaks with 'New York Times' Moscow correspondent Steven Lee Myers

(We updated this post at 11:55 a.m. ET.)

Russian soldiers have not occupied government buildings and surrounded Ukrainian military bases on the Crimean Peninsula, Russian President Vladimir Putin insisted Tuesday during a news conference near Moscow at which he gave an account of recent events that contradicts reports from the ground.

Instead, he told reporters that the heavily armed men are "local self-defense forces."

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The Two-Way
10:22 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Russia Denies Issuing Ultimatum Or Warning Ukraine Of 'Storm'

Armed men in military uniform, believed to be Russian soldiers, were outside the territory of a Ukrainian military unit in Bakhchisaray, on the Crimean Peninsula, on Monday.
Maxim Shipenkov EPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 2:21 pm

Update at 12:45 p.m. ET: "Total Nonsense," Russian Official Reportedly Says:

Any claims that the Russian military has warned Ukraine to surrender in Crimea or face an assault on Tuesday are "total nonsense," a Russian Defense Ministry official says, according to The Voice of Russia.

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The Two-Way
9:34 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Boy Scouts' Ban On Gay Leaders Leads Disney To End Grants

Tony Gutierrez AP

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 11:06 am

This news that broke locally in Florida last week is starting to grab headlines and attention across the nation:

"Disney Ends Funding To Boy Scouts Over Gay Policy." (The Associated Press)

Here's how The Orlando Sentinel, one of the first outlets to report the news, frames the story:

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The Two-Way
7:13 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Here's Ellen's Star-Stuffed Oscar Selfie That Broke Twitter

So many stars, it's hard to fit them all in.
TheEllenShow

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 11:07 am

A group selfie that host Ellen DeGeneres organized at the start of Sunday's Oscars show is now in the record books.

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The Two-Way
6:20 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Pistorius Pleads Not Guilty, Witness Tells Of Hearing Screams

Accused South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius in court on Monday in Pretoria. He's accused of premeditated murder in the death of his girlfriend on Feb. 14, 2013.
Herman Verwey EPA/Landov

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 7:59 am

"The first witness at Oscar Pistorius' murder trial told the court on Monday she heard 'bloodcurdling screams' from a woman followed by shots," Reuters writes.

It was, the wire service adds, "a dramatic opening to a case that could see one of global sports' most admired role models jailed for life."

NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reminds our Newscast Desk that:

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The Two-Way
5:22 am
Mon March 3, 2014

What A Blast: As Snow Ends, Wicked Cold Moves In

On the road again: This plow was at work on Sunday in Lawrence, Kan. The storm that hit there has spread east.
Orlin Wagner AP

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 4:24 pm

Update at 6:11 p.m. ET. Now The Cold:

Most of the snow is now off shore. What comes next is bitter — perhaps historic — cold for parts of the Midwest and East that's more reminiscent of January, than the beginning of meteorological spring. Here's how Accuweather sums it up:

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The Two-Way
4:18 am
Mon March 3, 2014

After Entering Crimea, Where Will Russia Stop?

A soldier in an unmarked uniform, but believed to be from the Russian army, stands outside one of the Ukrainian military bases in Crimea that have been surrounded by Russian forces. Ukrainian guards look on from inside the base.
David Mdzinarishvili Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 11:34 am

  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Crimea

Update at 1 p.m. ET. Our Latest Head And Link, Part II:

Russia Denies Issuing Ultimatum Or Warning Ukraine Of 'Storm'

The top of that post:

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The Two-Way
9:59 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Batman? Zorro? Lone Ranger? No, That Masked Man Is LeBron

Hi-Yo, Silver? The Miami Heat's LeBron James in the black protective mask he wore Thursday night.
Robert Duyos MCT/Landov

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 11:59 am

Broken noses are part of the game for NBA players. Elbows fly. Bodies collide. Balls ricochet.

Beaks get bonked.

Many nights, you'll see at least one player from across the 30-team league protecting his still-sensitive schnoz with a clear plastic mask.

But not the current best player in the game.

A week ago, LeBron James of the Miami Heat broke his nose. Thursday night against the New York Knicks, King James chose a rather menacing look for his return from the injury: an all-black, carbon-fiber mask.

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The Two-Way
9:02 am
Fri February 28, 2014

California's Getting Drenched, But Drought Is Far From Over

Before the deluge: Sandbags and barriers lined a road in Glendora, Calif., on Thursday. Authorities expect flooding as heavy rains spread across the area.
Reed Saxon AP

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 12:18 pm

The heavy rains forecast for much of drought-stricken California have indeed descended on the state.

Here's Friday's headline from Southern California Public Radio: "LA Rain: 2nd Storm Hits Overnight With Heavy Rain, Flooded Freeways."

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The Two-Way
6:53 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Economy Grew Less Than Thought As 2013 Came To A Close

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 8:32 am

The U.S. economy grew at a 2.4 percent annual rate in fourth-quarter 2013, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said Friday, as it significantly cut its estimate of how much gross domestic product grew during the last three months of the year.

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The Two-Way
6:35 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Ousted President Is 'Ready To Fight For The Future Of Ukraine'

Viktor Yanukovych, who says he's still the president of Ukraine, at his news conference Friday in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don.
Yuri Kochetkov EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 11:31 am

(We've been updating this post.)

Appearing in public for the first time since he left his nation's capital earlier this week, ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych told reporters in Russia on Friday that he is "eager and ready to fight for the future of Ukraine."

At a news conference in the Russian border city of Rostov-on-Don, Yanukovych did not speak about using force to reclaim the post that he says is still legally his. "I am not going to ask for military support," he said.

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The Two-Way
5:53 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Mt. Gox Files For Bankruptcy; Nearly $500M Of Bitcoins Lost

A bow and an apology: Mark Karpeles, CEO of Mt. Gox, was contrite at the start of a news conference in Tokyo on Friday in which it was announced that the firm has filed for bankruptcy.
Kyodo Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 2:07 pm

The scope of the collapse of what once was the world's largest bitcoin exchange took shape Friday when Mt. Gox filed for bankruptcy protection in Japan, saying it had lost track of nearly $480 million worth of the virtual currency.

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The Two-Way
5:04 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Crisis In Ukraine: Gunmen At Airport; Yanukovych Vows To Return

On Friday, armed men took control of the international airport in the city of Simferopol, on the Crimean peninsula. Gunmen took control of another airport in Crimea, as well.
David Mdzinarishvili Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 7:28 pm

  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Kiev
We'll be adding updates as the day continues.

The crisis in Ukraine took another ominous turn when gunmen in unmarked military uniforms on Friday took control of two airports on the Crimean peninsula — where the majority of people are ethnic Russians and many want to break away from the new government in Kiev.

Update at 5:15 p.m. ET: Obama Warns Russia On Ukraine

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The Two-Way
11:26 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Latest Leak: U.K. Spied On Webchats, Grabbed Millions Of Images

Who else might be watching? Britain's spies collected millions of images from video chats, according to the latest secrets spilled by NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 4:27 pm

"Britain's surveillance agency GCHQ, with aid from the U.S. National Security Agency, intercepted and stored the webcam images of millions of Internet users not suspected of wrongdoing," The Guardian writes today in its latest report based on material leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

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The Two-Way
9:36 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Any Way It's Measured, Tesla's $5B 'Gigafactory' Is Huge

Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 11:31 am

Just how big a deal is the "gigafactory" that Tesla Motors says it's going to build to make batteries for its electric cars?

-- It's projected to cost $5 billion between now and the year 2020. Tesla expects to invest about $2 billion. Partners — who it's rumored could include Apple and Panasonic — would invest the rest.

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The Two-Way
6:54 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Jobless Claims Jump Up, Orders For Durable Goods Fall Off

Thursday's economic news isn't great:

-- There were 348,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance filed last week, up 14,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration says.

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The Two-Way
6:30 am
Thu February 27, 2014

California Rejoices In Rain, But Prepares For Mudslides

Raindrops on a windshield blurred the view of a woman Wednesday in San Francisco. California, which is suffering through a drought, is getting some much-needed precipitation this week.
Ben Margot AP

"Rain Visits Bay Area, Snow Falls in Sierra — and We Quietly Rejoice."

That headline by our friends at KQED nicely sums up the mood in Northern California as much-needed precipitation descends.

But from another far-too-dry part of the drought-stricken state, Southern California Public Radio reports that:

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The Two-Way
5:43 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Once Again, North Korea Fires Missiles To Send Message

In Pyongyang, North Korea, last July, this short-range missile was among the military hardware on parade.
Kyodo/Landov

"North Korea fired four projectiles believed to be short-range ballistic missiles off its southeast coast Thursday," South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reports, citing a "South Korean defense ministry official" as its source.

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