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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11:50am

Fri February 10, 2012
The Two-Way

Deal With Banks Isn't Only Way For Homeowners To Get Help, HUD Chief Says

For sale signs on a foreclosed house in Glendale, Calif., last September.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images
  • Michel Martin talks with HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan

The $25 billion settlement with five banks unveiled Thursday, which aims to give some mortgage relief and other help to homeowners who got hurt when the housing bubble burst before the 2007-2009 recession, has been viewed with skepticism by some folks in the nation's hardest-hit housing markets, as NPR's Greg Allen reported.

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9:25am

Fri February 10, 2012
The Two-Way

White House To Detail Changes To Controversial Contraception Rule

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 11:21 am

Hospitals and organizations operated by religious institutions will not have to pay for or provide free contraception coverage to their employees, but the insurance companies that offer coverage to those workers will have to do that, White House officials just told reporters during a conference call.

They're explaining changes to a controversial plan the administration unveiled in recent days. The goal of the change appears to be to provide the coverage, but at the same time to not force religious groups to violate their principles.

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9:10am

Fri February 10, 2012
The Two-Way

Josh Powell Turned Out To Be 'A Monster,' Says Social Worker

The social worker who watched in horror last Sunday as a Washington state man blew up the house that his two young sons had gone into moments before says he had never before seemed dangerous.

But she knows now, Elizabeth Griffin-Hall tells ABC News, that "Josh Powell was really, really evil."

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8:15am

Fri February 10, 2012

7:45am

Fri February 10, 2012
The Two-Way

If Women Are In Combat, Men May Try To Protect Them, Santorum Says

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum in McKinney, Texas, on Wednesday.
Tom Pennington Getty Images

On CNN last evening, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum was asked about the Pentagon's plan to open up more jobs to women in the military — and to bring them closer to, but not right into, combat roles.

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6:55am

Fri February 10, 2012
The Two-Way

Rep. Bachus Is Focus Of Ethics Investigation Into Possible Insider Trading

Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

The Washington Post broke this story last evening:

"The Office of Congressional Ethics is investigating the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee over possible violations of insider-trading laws, according to individuals familiar with the case.

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6:30am

Fri February 10, 2012
The Two-Way

'Situation Could Not Be More Dire,' Syrians In Besieged City Say

An anti-regime fighter peered through a window in Idlib, Syria, on Thursday (Feb. 9, 2012).
AP

From inside the Syrian city of Homs, where activists say several hundred people have been killed by government forces in the past week and troops are preparing for what could be a "ground offensive" in coming days, residents say the "situation could not be more dire," NPR's Kelly McEvers reports.

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2:15pm

Thu February 9, 2012
The Two-Way

Escaped 'Rhino' Successfully Captured In Tokyo

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 2:40 pm

Netting the escapee.
BBC News

In 2010, it was a guy dressed up in a tiger suit that wouldn't have scared many toddlers. One year keepers successfully captured a "zebra."

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1:05pm

Thu February 9, 2012
The Two-Way

Call It 'Gulf Of America,' Not Gulf Of Mexico, Lawmaker Says In Bit Of Satire

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 5:26 pm

Sept. 2005: Hurricane Rita enters the Gulf of Mexico — or Gulf of America, as Mississippi House Rep. Stephen Holland would say.
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

Update at 3:25 p.m. ET. It's Satirical, The Lawmaker Says:

Daniel Cherry of Mississippi Public Broadcasting just talked with Rep. Stephen Holland — the Democratic lawmaker who's getting a lot of attention for introducing a bill to rename the Gulf of Mexico to Gulf of America.

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11:35am

Thu February 9, 2012
The Two-Way

Ban On Insider Trading By Lawmakers Passes House, Heads To Obama's Desk

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 11:39 am

By a nearly unanimous vote this morning the House passed the STOCK Act, which as NPR's Tamara Keith has reported, "would, among other things, explicitly ban insider trading for members of Congress and their staffs."

The vote was 417-2, with 14 members absent. The two nay votes were from Rep. John Campbell, R-Calif., and Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Ga.

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9:30am

Thu February 9, 2012

9:05am

Thu February 9, 2012
The Two-Way

Women In Combat: Inevitable?

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 6:43 pm

American soldiers Kris Kuntz (left) and Hayley Barner in Afghanistan, near the border with Pakistan, last October.
Tauseef Mustafa AFP/Getty Images
  • NPR's Tom Bowman reports

The word that Pentagon rules may soon "catch up a bit with reality" as the military considers formally allowing women to do something that they've already been asked to do in Iraq and Afghanistan — serve close to the front lines but technically not "in combat" — raises a question.

As NPR's Tom Bowman reports, the new rules still wouldn't allow women to serve in front line combat jobs such as infantry, armor or Special Forces.

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7:38am

Thu February 9, 2012
The Two-Way

Jobless Claims Drop By 15,000

The number of Americans who filed first-time claims for jobless benefits dipped to 358,000 last week, down by 15,000 from a revised 373,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration just reported.

At 358,000, claims were the lowest they've been since March 2008.

The "four-week moving average" number of claims was "366,250, a decrease of 11,000 from the previous week's revised average of 377,250."

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7:10am

Thu February 9, 2012
The Two-Way

Settlement Reached With Banks On Relief For Some Homeowners

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 11:46 am

"After negotiating through the night," NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports, states attorneys general, federal officials and five major banks have agreed on a plan that will provide about $26 billion in mortgage relief and aid to homeowners who got crushed when the housing bubble burst.

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6:35am

Thu February 9, 2012
The Two-Way

More Deaths Today In Syrian City Of Homs, Residents Say

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 7:23 am

A Syrian rebel runs for cover during an exchange of fire with army troops in Idlib, Syria.
AP

"Syrian forces fired mortars and rockets Thursday in the rebellious city of Homs, the latest salvo in a weeklong assault that has killed hundreds as President Bashar Assad's regime tries to crush increasingly militarized pockets of dissent," The Associated Press reports.

Relying on reports from activists and residents in Homs, the AP and other news outlets say it appears that a brutal crackdown continues.

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