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
5:49 am
Sat May 11, 2013

Emotions Run High After Boston Bombing Suspect's Burial

Some of the graves at the Al-Barzakh Islamic Cemetery in Doswell, Va., where the body of Boston Marathon bombings suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev has been buried. His grave was not identified to journalists.
Yuri Gripas Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Sat May 11, 2013 8:04 am

The news that Boston Marathon bombings suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev has been buried in a rural cemetery just north of Richmond, Va., is causing controversy there.

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The Two-Way
4:47 am
Sat May 11, 2013

Pakistanis 'Defy Violence' To Vote In Landmark Election

Pakistani men lined up to vote in Rawalpindi on Saturday. Men and women cast ballots separately as millions went to the poll.
T. Mughal EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Sat May 11, 2013 6:17 pm

Despite attacks in the days and weeks leading up to Saturday's voting — and deadly bombings and other attacks on the very day they're going to the polls — Pakistanis are showing they're willing to "defy the violence," NPR's Julie McCarthy reports from Lahore.

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The Two-Way
4:22 am
Sat May 11, 2013

Schools? How About A Science Laureate At The Super Bowl?

Beyonce took the stage at this year's Super Bowl halftime show. Imagine a scientist instead. Perhaps dressed differently.
Michael DeMocker The Times-Picayune /Landov

Originally published on Sat May 11, 2013 5:11 am

The same scientist who famously "killed Pluto" (as a planet, that is) says it's "brilliant" that there's an effort underway in Congress to name a science laureate.

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The Two-Way
3:34 am
Sat May 11, 2013

Astronauts Go On Spacewalk To Fix Ammonia Leak

NASA.gov

Originally published on Sat May 11, 2013 12:11 pm

Two astronauts went on a last-minute spacewalk Saturday to replace a pump suspected of being the source of a serious ammonia leak.

It was unclear what caused the ammonia leak, NASA spokesman Rob Navias said, "but the installation of this spare pump package — at least at the moment — seems to have done the trick."

NASA officials called the spacewalk a success, but said it would take time to see if the leak was indeed stopped. Engineers will review photos the astronauts took at the site.

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The Two-Way
2:48 am
Sat May 11, 2013

Officials Aren't Linking Man's Arrest To Texas Explosion

April 25, in Waco: Friends, family members and fellow firefighters held a memorial for the first responders killed by the April 17 explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas.
Jerry Larson/pool EPA /LANDOV

Saturday's reports about the arrest of a former emergency services volunteer in the town of West, Texas, indicate the story has not moved much from where we left things on Friday:

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The Two-Way
2:17 am
Sat May 11, 2013

Genocide Conviction In Guatemala Is 'Huge Breakthrough'

Former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt during his trial earlier this week.
Jorge Dan Lopez Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Sat May 11, 2013 9:04 am

Former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt was convicted of genocide by a court in his country Friday for the part he played in massacres and other crimes committed against Mayans while he ruled in 1982 and 1983.

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The Two-Way
1:40 am
Sat May 11, 2013

Top Stories: Cleveland Kidnapping; Benghazi Emails

In Cleveland earlier this week, friends and family gathered balloons and other things to have on hand to welcome home kidnapping victim Michelle Knight.
Thomas Ondrey The Plain Dealer /Landov

Good morning.

As the day gets going, the top stories include:

-- Cleveland Kidnap Victim Michelle Knight Released From Hospital; Thanks Community, Asks For Privacy. (Plain Dealer)

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The Two-Way
7:56 am
Fri May 10, 2013

Criminal Probe Launched In Texas Fertilizer Plant Blast

The remains of the fertilizer plant that exploded in the town of West, Texas, on April 17.
Mike Stone Reuters /Landov

Authorities in Texas announced Friday that they're launching a criminal investigation into the April 17 fertilizer plant explosion that killed 15 people and devastated the small community of West.

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The Two-Way
7:51 am
Fri May 10, 2013

IRS Apologizes For Singling Out Conservative Groups

Dennis Brack Landov

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 1:14 pm

Update at 6:10 p.m. ET: White House: IRS was 'Inappropriate':

White House press secretary Jay Carney called the IRS actions "inappropriate" and said they should be investigated.

Carney, speaking to reporters Friday afternoon, noted that the Internal Revenue Service is an independent agency with only two political appointees.

Here's our original post:

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The Two-Way
6:29 am
Fri May 10, 2013

'Monkeemobile' Creator Dean Jeffries Dies

Hey, hey: The Monkeemobile, one of Dean Jeffries best-known creations.
Steve Marcus Reuters/Landov

Dean Jeffries, the car customizer who created the "Monkeemobile" for The Monkees TV show, "Black Beauty" for The Green Hornet and who painted two famous words on actor James Dean's Porsche 550 Spyder, died last weekend at his Hollywood home. He was 80. A son says Jeffries died in his sleep.

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The Two-Way
4:44 am
Fri May 10, 2013

Jacob & Sophia Rule Among Baby Names, Liz & Liam Are Hot

Originally published on Mon May 13, 2013 3:09 am

If this was a contest, some might call for the name Jacob to be retired after so many wins.

According to the Social Security Administration:

"Jacob and Sophia are repeat champions as America's most popular baby names for 2012. This is the fourteenth year in a row Jacob tops the list for boys and the second year for Sophia."

Rounding out the top 10 lists:

Girls / Boys

2. Emma / Mason

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The Two-Way
3:20 am
Fri May 10, 2013

Cleveland Kidnapping Suspect Could Face Thousands Of Charges

Ariel Castro during his arraignment Thursday at Cleveland Municipal Court. He's accused of kidnapping and raping three young women, and then holding a daughter born to one of those women captive. The women had been missing for about a decade. The child is now six years old.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 5:56 am

  • Brian Bull of WCPN reports

Update at 10:45 a.m. ET. DNA Testing Confirms Suspect Is Child's Father, Ohio Attorney General Says:

Preliminary DNA tests confirm that Ariel Castro, the man charged with kidnapping and repeatedly raping three young women held captive in his Cleveland home for about a decade, is the father of a girl born to one of the victims six years ago, Ohio's attorney general announced Friday morning.

A statement posted by Attorney General Mike DeWine's office says:

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The Two-Way
2:24 am
Fri May 10, 2013

FBI Says Data About Probe Of Bombing Suspect Was Shared

FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard DesLauriers (at the microphones), Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis (standing, at far left) and other authorities briefing the news media on April 19. That's the day Boston bombings suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed and his brother, Dzhokhar, was captured.
Neal Hamberg Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 3:43 am

  • From 'Morning Edition': Brian Naylor reports

Boston Police Chief Edward Davis told Congress on Thursday that before the Boston Marathon bombings, his department wasn't aware the FBI had questioned Tamerlan Tsarnaev in recent years about whether he had been in contact with Muslim extremists in Dagestan.

As far as he knew, Davis said, the FBI did not share that information with local authorities.

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The Two-Way
2:09 am
Fri May 10, 2013

Reports: Survivor Rescued 17 Days After Bangladesh Building Collapse

Rescuers carry a survivor who was buried for 17 days under the rubble of a building that collapsed in Saver, near Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Parvez Ahmad Rony AP

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 8:25 am

(Most recent update: 1:15 p.m. ET.)

There's incredible news from Bangladesh:

"Miraculous as it may sound," a survivor was rescued Friday from the rubble of the eight-story building that collapsed 17 days ago near Dhaka, The Daily Star reported this morning.

That story from Bangladesh's English-language newspaper has been followed with these bulletins from other news outlets:

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The Two-Way
9:45 am
Thu May 9, 2013

After 100,000+ Downloads, Group With 3-D Gun Plans Goes Dark

The Liberator — a plastic handgun made with a 3-D printer.
Defense Distributed

Minutes ago, just as we were reading a Forbes story headlined "3D-Printed Gun's Blueprints Downloaded 100,000 Times In Two Days," this message appeared on the Twitter page of the group that has made those plans available to the world:

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The Two-Way
7:30 am
Thu May 9, 2013

Great Fake? 'Kiss Cam Breakup' Video Goes Viral

The Two-Way
6:13 am
Thu May 9, 2013

Everton's Moyes To Replace Ferguson At Man United

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson (left) and Everton manager David Moyes (right) during a match in April 2012. Moyes will succeed the retiring Ferguson at Man United.
Peter Powell EPA /LANDOV

One day after the world's most famous soccer coach announced his upcoming retirement, his replacement has been chosen.

The English Premier League's Everton Football Club announced Thursday that manager David Moyes would step down after its last game this season, on May 19. According to the club:

"The manager met Chairman Bill Kenwright early yesterday evening (Wednesday 8th May) and confirmed his desire to join Manchester United."

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The Two-Way
5:33 am
Thu May 9, 2013

Boston Bombing Suspect's Body Finally 'Entombed,' Police Say

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, as seen in a video taken on April 15 near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
FBI.gov

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 5:54 am

The body of Boston Marathon bombings suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev "is now entombed," the Worcester, Mass., police department announced Thursday morning.

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The Two-Way
5:29 am
Thu May 9, 2013

Feds Didn't Tell Boston Police About Probe Of Tsarnaev

Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis.
Michael Reynolds EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 8:29 am

(We put a new top on this post at 1:25 p.m. ET.)

"The FBI never told the Boston police or the Massachusetts State Police about possible Russian terror connections of the suspected Marathon bombers until three and half days after the attack, law enforcement officials testified today before the House Homeland Security Committee," ABC News writes.

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The Two-Way
4:07 am
Thu May 9, 2013

Jobless Claims Stay Near 5-Year Low

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 5:16 am

There were 323,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, down 4,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration says.

Note: As often happens, the previous week's figure is a slight revision from what was reported earlier. Initially, the ETA said there had been 324,000 first-time claims during the week ending April 27. Now, it says there were 327,000 that week.

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The Two-Way
3:06 am
Thu May 9, 2013

Reports: Cousin Of Boston Suspects Is A 'Prominent Islamist'

This image from a surveillance video, taken near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, helped investigators identify Tamerlan Tsarnaev (in black cap) and his brother, Dzhokhar (in white cap), as the main suspects in the bombings.
FBI.gov

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 3:38 am

Russian investigators have questioned a distant cousin of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev about meetings the two of them had in Dagestan during 2012, Time magazine reports.

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The Two-Way
2:08 am
Thu May 9, 2013

Prosecutors May Seek Death Penalty For Cleveland Kidnapper

Ariel Castro during his arraignment Thursday at Cleveland Municipal Court. He's accused of kidnapping and raping three young women, and then holding a daughter born to one of those women captive. The women had been missing for about a decade. The child is now six years old.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 2:31 pm

(Most recent update: 7:24 p.m. ET.)

The three young women who were missing for about a decade before being rescued Monday from a home in Cleveland where they say they were chained, tortured and sexually assaulted, have given police similar accounts about how their long nightmares began.

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The Two-Way
8:09 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Police Chief: 'We Are Not Barbarians;' Bury Bombing Suspect

A video image showing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, before the April 15 bombings.
FBI.gov

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 10:16 am

Saying that "we are not barbarians, we bury the dead," the police chief of Worcester, Mass., on Wednesday appealed for someone in authority to clear the way for the body of Boston Marathon bombings suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev to be buried.

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The Two-Way
4:47 am
Wed May 8, 2013

'Do Me A Solid,' Diplomat Rodman Says To North Korea's Kim

Dennis Rodman, in black hat and shades, with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a Feb. 28 basketball game in Pyongyang.
KCNA EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 7:52 am

America's unlikeliest link to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has reached out to his friend in a bid to have an American citizen released from one of the communist nation's notorious labor camps.

"I'm calling on the Supreme Leader of North Korea or as I call him 'Kim', to do me a solid and cut Kenneth Bae loose," former basketball star Dennis Rodman tweets.

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The Two-Way
3:36 am
Wed May 8, 2013

31 Suspects In 3 Nations Nabbed For $50M Diamond Heist

Yves Herman Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 12:55 pm

Remember that brazen, right-out-of-the-movies diamond heist at Brussels' international airport on Feb. 18?

Now there's word from The Associated Press that "police on Wednesday claimed a major breakthrough in their investigation ... detaining 31 people in a three-nation sweep."

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The Two-Way
3:08 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Manchester United's Sir Alex Ferguson Is Retiring

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson during a match in April.
David Jones EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 6:20 am

  • From the NPR Newscast: Philip Reeves reports about the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson

There's huge news in the sports world this morning:

Alex Ferguson, who has managed Manchester United football club for 26 years, is retiring at the end of the English Premier League season, which wraps up on May 19.

From London, NPR's Philip Reeves tells our Newscast Desk that:

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The Two-Way
1:58 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Cleveland Kidnappings: Wednesday's Developments

What happened here? The home on Seymour Avenue in Cleveland where three young women who had been missing for about a decade, as well as a child, were rescued on Monday.
David Maxwell EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 1:07 am

  • From 'Morning Edition': A Neighborhood In Shock

(Most recent update: 5:20 p.m. ET.)

We're following the latest news about the three young women who were rescued Monday from a home in Cleveland where authorities suspect they had been held captive for about a decade, and the investigation into what happened to them.

Update at 5:20 p.m. ET: Ariel Castro Charged With Kidnapping, Rape:

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The Two-Way
8:51 am
Tue May 7, 2013

Ray Harryhausen, Master Of Stop-Motion Animation, Dies

American film animator and special effects creator Ray Harryhausen with one of his creations in 1965.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Ray Harryhausen, who brought sword-fighting skeletons to the 1963 movie Jason and the Argonauts and was known as the master of stop-motion animation for his work on that and other films such as Clash of the Titans and The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, has died.

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The Two-Way
3:56 am
Tue May 7, 2013

Neighbor In Cleveland: 'I Thought This Girl Was Dead!'

Charles Ramsey, the neighbor who police say helped free three long-missing young women from a Cleveland home on Monday, told a vivid story as he spoke with reporters at the scene.

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The Two-Way
2:56 am
Tue May 7, 2013

Many Offers, But No OKs For Burial Of Boston Bombing Suspect

Originally published on Tue May 7, 2013 3:50 am

The Massachusetts funeral director who is trying to find a cemetery that's willing to bury the body of Boston Marathon bombings suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev says he has gotten 120 offers from graveyards around the U.S. and Canada.

But when Peter Stefan "calls officials of the cities or towns involved, nobody wants the body," The Associated Press reports.

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