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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11:36am

Thu July 19, 2012
The Two-Way

Italy's 'Armani Of Mozzarella' Accused Of Having Mafia Links

Giuseppe Mandara (in white shirt, with cigar), and officers from the Anti-Mafia unit of the Italian police on Tuesday.
Italian Police AFP/Getty Images

This story's been out there for a day or two, but it's too tasty to ignore. So here's a slice:

"Italy's biggest buffalo mozzarella maker, Giuseppe Mandara, has been arrested on charges he had close ties to the mafia. Mandara, 56 — who once dubbed himself the 'Armani of Mozzarella' — was arrested with three associates near Naples, reports said." (Global Post)

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9:17am

Thu July 19, 2012
The Two-Way

Mixed Signals: Sales Of Existing Homes Dipped, But Prices Rose

While sales of existing homes fell 5.4 percent in June from May, their median price was up 7.9 percent from a year earlier.

In addition, the National Association of Realtors reports, the supply of existing homes available for sale continued to shrink — including the number of "distressed" homes on the market because of foreclosures.

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9:00am

Thu July 19, 2012
The Two-Way

Tennessee Mosque Can Open; Imam Says America Is Better For That

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 12:08 pm

The mosque in Murfreesboro, Tenn., last month when it was still under construction.
Erik Schelzig AP

Now that a federal judge has ruled that the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro in Rutherford County, Tenn., can open, the mosque's imam says muslims elsewhere should take notice.

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8:07am

Thu July 19, 2012
The Two-Way

Emmy Nominations Are Out: 'Mad Men' Will Go For Record

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 10:21 am

The cast of Mad Men.
Frank Ockenfels AMC

AMC's Mad Men, as expected, has again been nominated for an Emmy as "outstanding drama series" — meaning that the show about Madison Avenue in the '60s has a chance to win a record fifth such honor.

Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law and The West Wing share that title with four best drama Emmys each.

Mad Men's competition for the award:

-- Boardwalk Empire, (HBO).

-- Breaking Bad, (AMC).

-- Downton Abbey, (PBS).

-- Game of Thrones, (HBO).

-- Homeland, (Showtime).

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7:48am

Thu July 19, 2012
The Two-Way

Jobless Claims Rose By 34,000 Last Week

There was a 34,000-increase in the number of Americans filing first-time claims for jobless benefits last week, the Employment and Training Administration reports.

It says 386,000 people filed claims, up from 352,000 the week before. "The 4-week moving average was 375,500, a decrease of 1,500 from the previous week's revised average of 377,000."

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7:38am

Thu July 19, 2012
The Two-Way

VIDEO: 'God's Plan' Led To Deadly Encounter With Trayvon, Zimmerman Says

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 10:23 am

George Zimmerman during his interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity.
FoxNews.com

While he is sorry that Trayvon Martin ended up dead, George Zimmerman says he doesn't regret anything he did the evening of Feb. 26 and that it was "God's plan" that he would end up killing the unarmed 17-year-old.

"For me to second guess it or judge it" would be wrong, Zimmerman told Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity in a pre-recorded and edited interview broadcast Wednesday night.

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7:07am

Thu July 19, 2012
The Two-Way

Video May Show Suicide Bomber Who Attacked Bus In Bulgaria

Originally published on Sun July 22, 2012 8:43 am

A screen grab from the surveillance video showing the man who it's suspected set off a bomb aboard a bus full of Israeli tourists in Burgas, Bulgaria.
BGNES.com
  • Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reporting on 'Morning Edition'

He was "looking like any other tourist," as NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro said on Morning Edition.

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6:31am

Thu July 19, 2012
The Two-Way

As Fighting Rages In Damascus, Survival Of Assad's Regime Is In Doubt

An image grab taken from a video uploaded on YouTube on Wednesday shows smoke billowing from burning tires and trash containers in Damascus.
AFP/Getty Images
  • From 'Morning Edition,' Liz Sly of The Washington Post and Renee Montagne

One day after three members of his inner circle were killed in an explosion, opposition fighters in Syria are continuing to put pressure on the regime of President Bashar Assad as clashes with government forces draw near to the his palace in Damascus, residents tell Reuters.

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1:18pm

Wed July 18, 2012
The Two-Way

Netanyahu Points At Iran After Explosion In Bulgaria Kills Israelis

Originally published on Sun July 22, 2012 8:42 am

One bus was largely destroyed and others nearby were damaged by today's explosion in Bulgaria.
AFP/Getty Images

Reports vary on the number of deaths in Bulgaria today from an explosion that tore apart a bus carrying Israeli tourists, most of them reportedly young people in the Black Sea city of Burgas on vacation.

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12:23pm

Wed July 18, 2012
The Two-Way

Drought Disasters Declared In More Counties; 1,297 Affected So Far

A corn plant that was struggling to survive this week in a drought-stricken farm field near Shawneetown, Ill.
Scott Olson Getty Images

With the addition of 29 counties in eight states today, there are now 1,297 counties across the nation so stricken by drought and heat that they've been declared natural disaster areas, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack just announced. That's about one-third of all U.S. counties, he said.

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11:28am

Wed July 18, 2012
The Two-Way

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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9:46am

Wed July 18, 2012
The Two-Way

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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8:22am

Wed July 18, 2012
The Two-Way

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

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 8:57 am

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

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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7:40am

Wed July 18, 2012
The Two-Way

Iceberg Twice The Size Of Manhattan Breaks Off Glacier In Greenland

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 10:30 am

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

A huge iceberg that's about twice the size of Manhattan has broken off the Petermann Glacier in Greenland — the same sheet of ice that just two years ago "calved" another massive berg.

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6:23am

Wed July 18, 2012
The Two-Way

Syrian Defense Minister Killed In Explosion, State TV Says

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 10:49 am

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

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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