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
6:20 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Pistorius Granted Bail

Oscar Pistorius, standing at the dock Friday in a Pretoria courtroom.
Mike Hutchings Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 9:54 am

10:55 a.m. ET: Declaring that Olympic and Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius "has made a case to be released on bail," a South African magistrate on Friday set the stage for Pistorius to be set free while he awaits trial on the charge that he murdered his girlfriend.

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The Two-Way
2:06 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Pretty Picture: Mount Etna Boils Over; NASA Adds Color To Shot From Space

Sicily's Mount Etna early this week, as seen from space. The bright red is lava. Snow is blue-green. Clouds are white. "Shortwave infrared, near infrared, and green light" combine to produce the colors.
NASA

Sicily's Mount Etna has been blowing off steam, and lava, this week. NASA's Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite flew over it on Wednesday and took an image that "combines shortwave infrared, near infrared, and green light in the red, green, and blue channels."

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The Two-Way
12:59 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Tough Turkeys Are Taking Over A California Town

You talking to me? (A turkey on New York's Staten Island; who's probably just as intimidating, if not more, than those in California.)
Jonathan Fickies Landov

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The Two-Way
9:40 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Existing Home Sales Rise Again; 'Seller's Market Is Developing,' Realtors Say

A "for sale" sign in San Francisco last summer.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 9:46 am

Sales of existing homes rose 0.4 percent in January from December and were up 9.1 percent from January 2012, the National Association of Realtors reports.

The trade group also says "a seller's market is developing and home prices continue to rise."

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The Two-Way
9:11 am
Thu February 21, 2013

L.A. Hotel Where Body Was Found In Water Tank Has 'Long, Dark History'

The Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles, which advertises "low monthly rates."
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 9:44 am

  • From KPCC: Chris Nichols speaks with Susanne Whatley about the Cecil Hotel

(Feb. 22, 7:15 a.m. ET: Scroll down for an update. "The water's safe, authorities say.")

The gruesome discovery this week of a young woman's body inside a rooftop water tank at the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles is not the Cecil's first brush with such notoriety, as Southern California Public Radio's KPCC reports.

Chris Nichols, associate editor at Los Angeles Magazine, told KPCC about the hotel's "long, dark history."

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The Two-Way
7:48 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Inflation Was In Check Last Month; Jobless Claims Jumped Last Week

Gasoline prices at a station in Encinitas, Calif., earlier this week.
Mike Blake Reuters /Landov

Consumer prices were flat in January, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says. But a driving force behind that good news has reversed itself since then. According to BLS, gasoline prices fell 3 percent last month. In February, though, gas prices have risen sharply. So watch for next month's BLS report on consumer prices to tell a different story.

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The Two-Way
7:29 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Who's Been Hacked By China? Better Question Might Be: Who Hasn't?

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 7:51 am

This week's stories about alleged cyberthieves based in China have news outlets chasing related angles. Today's include:

-- "Chinese Cyberspies Have Hacked Most Washington Institutions, Experts Say."

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The Two-Way
6:59 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Pistorius Case Dealt 'Serious Blows'; Detective Faces Own Shooting Charges

Oscar Pistorius as he entered a court in Pretoria on Thursday.
Mike Hutchings Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 10:03 am

Update at 10 a.m. ET. New Lead Investigator:

A new lead investigator has been appointed in the murder case against South African athlete Oscar Pistorius, The Associated Press reports from Pretoria. That announcement follows the news from earlier Thursday, as we reported below, that the detective who had been in charge of the case faces attempted murder charges of his own stemming from a 2011 shooting incident.

Our original post:

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The Two-Way
1:19 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Former Sen. Domenici Reveals 'Son Born In Secrecy'

Former Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M.
Madeline Marshall UPI /Landov

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 3:19 pm

Stepping forward now because he thought others were about to "breach this privacy," former New Mexico Sen. Pete Domenici has told the Albuquerque Journal that he fathered a son outside of his marriage more than 30 years ago.

The mother is Michelle Laxalt, the daughter of another prominent Republican politician — former Nevada Sen. and Gov. Paul Laxalt. Their son is Adam Paul Laxalt, a lawyer in Nevada according to the Journal.

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The Two-Way
9:59 am
Wed February 20, 2013

OfficeMax, Office Depot Confirm Merger Deal

Justin Sullivan Getty Images

The deal has been talked about for days. Now it's official:

"OfficeMax Incorporated and Office Depot, Inc. today announced the signing of a definitive merger agreement," reads a statement posted online by Office Depot.

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The Two-Way
9:22 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Biden: For Protection; 'Buy A Shotgun, Buy A Shotgun'

Vice President Biden earlier this month during a roundtable discussion on gun control at Girard College in Philadelphia.
Tim Shaffer Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 11:00 am

Vice President Joe Biden's advice to his wife about protecting their home in Delaware:

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The Two-Way
8:39 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Guilty Plea From Jesse Jackson Jr. Over 'Lavish' Spending

Former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., as he entered court in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 3:51 pm

  • NPR's David Schaper reporting

We most recently updated the top of this post at 2:50 p.m. ET.

Saying that "I've never been more clear in my life" about what he was doing, a tearful Jesse Jackson Jr. on Wednesday pleaded guilty to using about $750,000 in campaign funds collected for his congressional races to buy himself presents that included a Rolex watch worth more than $43,000.

The former congressman, a Democrat from Chicago, appeared in a Washington, D.C., courtroom. When he's sentenced in June, he could get a prison term of nearly five years.

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The Two-Way
7:53 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Single-Family Housing Starts Edged Up In January

Going up: A construction worker at a housing development in San Mateo, Calif., in June 2012.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Work was begun on 0.8 percent more single-family homes in January than had been started the month before, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development say.

And the number of single-family starts was up 20 percent from January 2012.

A 26.1 percent drop in starts, from December to January, on construction of apartment buildings and other multi-family homes dampened the news somewhat.

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The Two-Way
7:13 am
Wed February 20, 2013

'It Felt Like An Earthquake': One Still Missing After Kansas City Explosion

Fire fighters and utility workers at the scene of a massive gas explosion and fire Tuesday night in Kansas City, Mo.
Orlin Wagner AP

"It sounded like thunder, but it felt like an earthquake," Tracey Truitt, a lawyer who was working in a nearby building, tells the Kansas City Star about an explosion Tuesday evening that leveled a restaurant in the city's Country Club Plaza.

At least 16 people were injured and as of early this morning one person remained missing, the Star says.

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The Two-Way
6:50 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Pistorius's Story Challenged: Witness Heard Screams And Shots, Police Say

South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius in a Pretoria court Wednesday.
EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 12:41 pm

A neighbor has told investigators that he heard "gunshots ... a female screaming two-three times, then more gunshots" coming from the South African home of Oscar Pistorius in the early morning hours of Feb. 14, a police officer testified Wednesday at a bail hearing for the Olympic and Paralympic athlete.

The witness has also told investigators about "non-stop talking" and sounds "like fighting" coming from Pistorius's home between the hours of 2 a.m. and 3 a.m.

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The Two-Way
1:17 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

VIDEO: First 'Unassisted' Backflip By A Car?

Driver Guerlain Chicherit in his Mini Countryman, doing a backflip on Sunday in France.
Thierry Guillot Maxppp /Landov

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 1:53 pm

Driving a modified Mini Cooper Countryman, French rally driver Guerlain Chicherit has successfully pulled off what's said to be the first "unassisted" backflip by a car.

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The Two-Way
12:25 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Gen. John Allen, Recent Top Commander In Afghanistan, Is Retiring

Marine Corps Gen. John Allen in March 2012.
Kevin Dietsch UPI /Landov

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 1:24 pm

Marine Corps Gen. John Allen, who led U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan until earlier this month and had been on track to be the top NATO commander in Europe, is retiring from the military.

The White House early Tuesday afternoon released a statement from President Obama that says, in part:

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The Two-Way
11:22 am
Tue February 19, 2013

At Least Four Dead, Including Gunman, After Southern California Shootings

"A chaotic 25-minute shooting spree" across Southern California's Orange County Tuesday morning "left a trail of dead and injured victims before the shooter killed himself," KPCC reports.

The Orange County Register says "four people are dead and two others [were] wounded."

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The Two-Way
10:44 am
Tue February 19, 2013

The Snake's A Snitch: Why Florida Released Biggest Python Caught In Hunt

A Burmese python at Zoo Miami. Authorities are trying to cut down the number of such snakes in the state.
Peter Andrew Bosch MCT /Landov

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 11:47 am

This headline may make you go "huh?"

"Biggest Python in Florida Snake Hunt Released Back into the Wild."

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The Two-Way
10:09 am
Tue February 19, 2013

Obama Pushes Congress To Avoid Automatic Cuts; GOP Says It's Not The Problem

As he pressed Congress for action Tuesday, President Obama stood before a group of first responders. He made the case that their departments will be hurt if automatic budget cuts go into effect March 1.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 10:54 am

Standing in front of first responders who he says could lose their jobs, President Obama pushed Tuesday for Congress to act now to avoid $85 billion in "automatic, severe budget cuts" set to kick in starting on March 1.

The cuts due because of the so-called sequestration "are not smart, they are not fair [and] they will hurt our economy," the president said.

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The Two-Way
8:51 am
Tue February 19, 2013

Clues Connect Global Hacking To Chinese Government, Security Firm Says

Cyberattack headquarters? The 12-story building in a Shanghai suburb that American investigators say houses an operation responsible for hundreds of cyberattacks on companies around the world.
Peter Parks AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 2:41 pm

  • Frank Langfitt on 'Morning Edition'

"Hundreds of investigations convince us" that the Chinese government is at least aware of, and likely sponsoring, cyber thieves who have stolen massive amounts of information from companies around the world, including American defense contractors, a U.S. security firm reported Tuesday.

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The Two-Way
7:43 am
Tue February 19, 2013

Quite A Haul: $50 Million Worth Of Diamonds Stolen In Lightning-Fast Heist

Yves Herman Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 1:50 pm

In a heist right out of movies such as The Italian Job, eight masked gunman drove on to the tarmac at Brussels' international airport Monday night, sped to a plane being loaded with diamonds and made off with about $50 million worth of the precious stones, authorities say.

It was all over in just a few minutes.

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The Two-Way
6:55 am
Tue February 19, 2013

Pistorius Says He Feared For His Life; Prosecutor Says Shooting Was Premeditated

Oscar Pistorius in a Pretoria court Tuesday.
Siphiwe Sibeko Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 8:51 am

South African prosecutors laid out their case Tuesday against sprinter Oscar Pistorius, charging that the Olympic and Paralympic athlete committed premeditated murder on Valentine's Day when he allegedly rose from bed, put on his prosthetic legs, walked to a locked bathroom door and fired through it four times — killing his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp.

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The Two-Way
1:36 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

Educators Killed At Sandy Hook School Honored At White House

President Obama with Donna and Carlos Soto, who accepted the Presidential Citizens Medal awarded to their daughter, slain Sandy Hook teacher Victoria Soto.
Shawn Thew EPA /LANDOV

The six women killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School by a gunman who also murdered 20 children were honored with posthumous Presidential Citizens Medals today at the White House.

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The Two-Way
1:27 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

It's Out Of Here: Asteroid Whizzes By

An illustration of what asteroid 2012 DA 14 may look like as it approaches Earth.
NASA/JPL-CalTech EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 2:46 pm

Update at 2:25 p.m. ET. Asteroid Has Passed By:

According to NASA, asteroid 2012 DA14 — a rock thought to be about 150 feet across and the weight of about 318 fully loaded Boeing 747s — just flew past the planet.

So, we're all safe.

Update at 3:43 p.m. ET. A Photograph:

NASA has released this photograph of 2012 DA14:

Our original post and earlier updates:

If you haven't heard by now, then we've got some perhaps unsettling news:

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The Two-Way
9:38 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Why Did So Many Russian Drivers Get Such Great Meteor Videos?

One of the dashcam videos recorded Friday when a meteor appeared over Russia.
RussiaToday

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 10:58 am

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The Two-Way
8:07 am
Fri February 15, 2013

'Cruise From Hell' Was A Mix Of 'Survivor' And 'Lord Of The Flies'

After finally getting off the Carnival cruise ship Triumph, this passenger waited for a ride early Friday in Mobile, Ala.
Mark Wallheiser EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 2:22 pm

As they finally came off the Carnival cruise ship Triumph late Thursday and early Friday in Mobile, Ala., passengers from the ill-fated cruise told stories that call to mind TV's Survivor and literature's classic Lord of the Flies, the Los Angeles Times writes.

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The Two-Way
6:49 am
Fri February 15, 2013

'Blade Runner' Pistorius In Tears As Murder Charge Is Filed

South African Paralympic and Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius as he wept today while being charged with murder.
Antoine De Ras EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 8:32 am

"South African 'Blade Runner' Oscar Pistorius broke down in tears on Friday after he was charged in court with shooting dead his girlfriend in his Pretoria house," Reuters reports from Pretoria.

According to the wire service: "The 26-year-old Olympic and Paralympic superstar stood with head bowed in front of magistrate Desmond Nair to hear the murder charge read out, then started sobbing, covering his face with his hands."

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