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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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

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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2:53pm

Tue July 17, 2012
The Two-Way

Pot Growers May Be Killing Rare Creatures With Poison, Researchers Say

A fisher. It now has another challenge.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Already among the animals that may be added to the list of those protected by the Endangered Species Act, the weasel-like fisher now faces this deadly threat:

Rat poison that illegal marijuana growers put out to protect their crops in California.

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10:13am

Tue July 17, 2012
The Two-Way

Boy Scouts Reaffirm Ban On Open Gays; Call It 'Absolutely The Best Policy'

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 10:56 am

In Mississippi last month, scouts took part in a flag retirement ceremony.
Philip Hall / Enterprise-Journal AP

"After a confidential two-year review, the Boy Scouts of America has emphatically reaffirmed its policy of excluding gays," The Associated Press reports.

According to the wire service, Scouts spokesman Deron Smith said the 11-member committee decided that is "absolutely the best policy" for the organization.

The Boy Scouts' policy states that:

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9:19am

Tue July 17, 2012
The Two-Way

In 'Dour' Report, Fed's Bernanke Says Economy Has Decelerated

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 1:10 pm

"The U.S. economy has continued to recover, but economic activity appears to have decelerated somewhat during the first half of this year," Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke tells Congress this morning in testimony prepared for his semiannual report on economic conditions and monetary policy.

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9:01am

Tue July 17, 2012
The Two-Way

Dutch Police Join Investigation Into Needles Found In Delta Sandwiches

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 2:22 pm

A Delta Air Lines jet being serviced last year by Gate Gourmet caterers in San Francisco.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

"Police at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport say they still do not know how needles got into turkey sandwiches on Delta Air Lines flights from Amsterdam to the United States, but are investigating," The Associated Press reports.

As The Wall Street Journal writes:

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8:32am

Tue July 17, 2012
The Two-Way

VIDEO: Hero Neighbor Catches 7-Year-Old Girl Who Falls 3 Stories

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 11:42 am

Steven St. Bernard, who made the catch that saved a little girl from serious injury or worse.
CBS New York

"I was just praying that I would get there and that if she [fell] that I would catch her," Steven St. Bernard tells CBS 2 TV in New York City.

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8:06am

Tue July 17, 2012

6:55am

Tue July 17, 2012
The Two-Way

Mass Casualties After Shootings In Toronto And Tuscaloosa

Separate mass shootings at opposite ends of North America have left dozens wounded and at least two people dead.

Late Monday evening in Toronto, two people were killed and at least 19 others wounded in a shooting that "Police Chief Bill Blair called the worst in the city's history," The Globe and Mail writes. It adds that:

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