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
6:47 am
Thu May 17, 2012

Jobless Claims Held Steady Last Week; Back To 4-Year Low

Originally published on Thu May 17, 2012 8:25 am

There were 370,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance filed last week, the same number as during the week before, according to the Employment and Training Administration.

So, after a spike to a range around 390,000 per week in April, claims have slowed again to a pace that's roughly the lowest since the spring of 2008.

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The Two-Way
6:36 am
Thu May 17, 2012

Activist Chen May Soon Have Passport, Be Able To Leave China

Chen Guangcheng just before he left the U.S. embassy in Beijing, on May 2.
U.S. Embassy Beijing Getty Images

Legal activist Chen Guangcheng has reportedly finished submitting applications to Chinese authorities and has been told that he and his immediate family could be issued passports within the next two weeks.

That would then allow him to come to the United States.

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The Two-Way
5:56 am
Thu May 17, 2012

Minorities Are Now Majority Of U.S. Births, Census Says

Originally published on Thu May 17, 2012 7:12 am

"For the first time, racial and ethnic minorities make up more than half the children born in the U.S," The Associated Press writes.

As USA Today adds, that news from the Census Bureau is "a sign of how swiftly the USA is becoming a nation of younger minorities and older whites."

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The Two-Way
5:03 am
Thu May 17, 2012

As Feared, JPMorgan's Losses Are Growing; Reportedly At $3 Billion

Timothy A. Clary AFP/Getty Images

The word on Monday that JPMorgan Chase's losses from risky trades that went wrong could climb from $2 billion to perhaps as high as $4 billion in coming quarters is being bolstered this morning.

There's this report from The New York Times' Deal Book blog:

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The Two-Way
12:29 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

Chipping In To Your Office Lottery Pool? Read This First

Tim Boyle Getty Images

Here's yet another reminder about why it's important to have somebody write down the rules and keep accurate records if you're pooling money at the office to buy lottery tickets.

After all, for every heart-warming story about "three amigos" who seem to have gotten along swimmingly and deserved the money they won, there are tales such as this:

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The Two-Way
9:23 am
Wed May 16, 2012

Neither John Edwards Nor His Mistress Will Testify At Corruption Trial

John Edwards as he entered the Federal Courthouse in Greensboro, N.C., this morning.
Sara D. Davis Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 10:31 am

The campaign corruption trial of former Democratic presidential contender John Edwards will not reach a dramatic climax with testimony from the former senator or the mistress he's accused of trying to hide with 2008 campaign funds.

According to The Associated Press, Edwards' attorneys said in court today that they will not be calling Edwards or Rielle Hunter to the stand and that they expect to rest their case later today.

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The Two-Way
8:36 am
Wed May 16, 2012

9-Year-Old To Westboro Baptist Protesters: 'God Hates No One'

Josef Miles, making his own statement.
Patty Akrouche Facebook.com/FeverDreams

Originally published on Thu May 17, 2012 8:42 am

Patty Akrouche says she's "never been prouder" of her 9-year-old son, Josef Miles, than she was this past weekend.

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The Two-Way
8:20 am
Wed May 16, 2012

Bush Says 'I'm For Mitt Romney,' But He Likely Won't Play Role In Campaign

Back in 2006: Then-President George W. Bush and then-Gov. Mitt Romney
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 8:47 am

"I'm for Mitt Romney."

With four words, said to an ABC News reporter as an elevator's doors closed, former President George W. Bush on Tuesday confirmed what was pretty obvious — he is supporting his fellow Republican's bid for the White House.

But as The Associated Press reports:

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The Two-Way
7:02 am
Wed May 16, 2012

At Trial, Serb Gen. Mladic Taunts Survivors With Throat-Cutting Gesture

Former Bosnian Serb Gen. Ratko Mladic at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague earlier today.
Toussaint Kluiters AFP/Getty Images

"Bosnian Serb Gen. Ratko Mladic taunted Srebrenica survivors on Wednesday at the start of his trial for genocide, running his hand across his throat in a gesture of defiance to relatives of the worst massacre in Europe since World War II," Reuters writes from The Hague.

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The Two-Way
6:47 am
Wed May 16, 2012

Is Housing Sector Getting Better? Increase In Starts May Signal It Is

A home construction site in Westport, Conn., last December.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

There was a 2.6 percent increase in housing starts in April from March, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development just reported.

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The Two-Way
6:16 am
Wed May 16, 2012

Greece Sets New Election For June 17; Fear Of Bank Runs Reported

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 6:22 am

With "the shockwaves from Greece's failure to form a coalition government" continuing to roil financial markets around the world, there's word from the BBC that Greece has now scheduled a new set of elections for June 17.

And there's also this:

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The Two-Way
5:43 am
Wed May 16, 2012

Folks Seem To Like It, So Facebook Boosts Size Of Stock Offering By 25 Percent

Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 6:20 am

The hoopla continues over Facebook's initial public offering of stock, with word that the social media giant has increased the size of Friday's IPO by 25 percent.

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The Two-Way
5:13 am
Wed May 16, 2012

Medical Report Details George Zimmerman's Injuries, ABC News Says

George Zimmerman during a court appearance on April 20.
Gary W. Green AP
  • Cheryl Corley, reporting for the NPR Newscast

George Zimmerman had a broken nose, black eyes, cuts on the back of his head and a minor back injury the day after he shot and killed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, according to medical records compiled by his doctor, ABC News reports.

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The Two-Way
11:55 am
Tue May 15, 2012

She's 100 (Almost) And Still Swimming: Another Centenarian To Admire

Marie Kelleher.
U.S. Masters Swimming

We have a fondness for stories about centenarians, we have to admit.

There was Fauja Singh, the 100-year-old "Turbaned Tornado," who finished the Toronto Marathon last year.

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The Two-Way
10:34 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Reports: Justice Dept. Probing JPMorgan's Big Loss

Standing behind a banner with a picture of J.P. Morgan Chairman and CEO James Dimon, protesters gathered outside the bank's annual meeting today in Tampa.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 10:45 am

  • Two soundbites from CEO Jamie Dimon at today's shareholders meeting

The Justice Department has begun looking into JPMorgan Chase's $2 billion-and-counting loss from a hedge account, The Wall Street Journal reports. It cites "a person familiar with the matter" as its source.

The Journal adds that "the probe is at an early stage and it isn't clear what possible legal violation federal investigators may be focusing on."

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The Two-Way
8:11 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Questions About Another Texas Execution: Was Wrong Man Condemned?

Already in the spotlight over whether it executed one innocent man — Cameron Todd Willingham — in 2004, the state of Texas now faces questions about whether another man may have been wrongly condemned to death.

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The Two-Way
7:26 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Consumer Prices, Consumer Spending Both Flat In April

Two bits of economic news this morning:

-- Consumer prices overall were unchanged in April, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, thanks in large part to a 2.6 percent drop in the price of gasoline.

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The Two-Way
6:58 am
Tue May 15, 2012

'Biggest Public Toilet In The World' Now Good To Go In Japan

The biggest public toilet in the world, officials claim. The flowers and plants will be put in the ground after the soil has settled properly, according to The Japan Times.
Ichihara City

It's only for women — and only for one woman at a time, it seems.

But officials in Ichihara City, Japan, claim they've created the "biggest public toilet in the world."

As The Japan Times reports, outside the city's train station there's now a fenced-in, "200-sq.-meter plot of land" with flowers, plants, pathways and — "smack in the middle" — a toilet enclosed in a glass box.

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The Two-Way
6:00 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Facebook Ups Its Forecast: Says Shares Will Sell For $34 To $38

Raul Arboleda AFP/Getty Images

Strong demand for its first public sale of stock has led Facebook to raise its forecast for how much each share will sell for when the company goes public on Friday.

"We anticipate that the initial public offering price will be between $34.00 and $38.00 per share," the company says in a statement filed earlier today with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Earlier, the social medial giant had expected shares would sell for $28 to $35 each.

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The Two-Way
5:15 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Former Murdoch Editor Facing Criminal Charges In Hacking Scandal

Rebekah Brooks, last Friday in London.
Christopher Furlong Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 6:36 am

  • Philip Reeves reporting for the NPR Newscast

The first top editor from Rupert Murdoch's U.K. tabloids to face criminal charges related to the hacking scandal that has rocked his media empire is Rebekah Brooks, who prosecutors allege tried to "pervert the course of justice" last year by seeking to cover up what had been going on at Murdoch's News of the World.

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The Two-Way
10:36 am
Mon May 14, 2012

'Gay President,' Breast-Feeding Mom: Suddenly We're Talking About Magazines

TheDailyBeast.com/Newsweek

Every once in a while, many in the news business seem to rediscover something that's always been rather obvious:

Publishers will put provocative images on their magazines and newspapers — and now their websites — in order to create "buzz" and, they hope, attract readers.

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The Two-Way
9:32 am
Mon May 14, 2012

Afghanistan: More Troubles, But U.S. Ambassador Sees Path Forward

Officials and mourners prepare to place the coffin of Afghanistan High Peace Council and former Taliban leader Arsala Rahmani in a grave earlier today, in Kabul.
Massoud Hossaini AFP/Getty Images

While U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker says there is a path toward relative stability in Afghanistan and away from a return to the kind of civil war that devastated the country in the early 1990s, the difficulties still facing that nation have been underscored by more violence:

-- CNN.com reports that "a bomb exploded inside a shop in the northern Afghanistan province of Faryab on Monday, killing nine people, according to the Afghan Interior Ministry."

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The Two-Way
8:25 am
Mon May 14, 2012

Dozens More Murdered In Mexico; Count Of Headless Bodies May Near 70

Morgue employees take in some of the bodies that were found Sunday.
Moises Castillo AP

Few headlines are more horrific than this:

"49 Headless Bodies Dumped In Mexican Town."

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The Two-Way
7:47 am
Mon May 14, 2012

Sophia Is No. 1 Among Girls' Names; Mason Soars To Near Top Among Boys

Originally published on Mon May 14, 2012 10:53 am

Sophia has pushed Isabella off the No. 1 spot among most popular names for girls born in the U.S., the Social Security Administration says.

Meanwhile, Jacob remained atop the list of boys' names, where it's been since 1999.

But Mason "rocketed to number two" last year from the No. 12 spot in 2010.

Here are the top 10 for each gender, from the agency's website:

Boys

1. Jacob
2. Mason
3. William
4. Jayden
5. Noah

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The Two-Way
6:32 am
Mon May 14, 2012

Facebook's Zuckerberg Turns 28, With Billions Of Reasons To Celebrate

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, in black hoodie.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Happy birthday, Mark Zuckerberg.

Not only do you turn 28 today, but at the end of the week Facebook stock is due to go public for the first time.

The social networking giant is expected to be valued around $100 billion and Zuckerberg's worth will then be around $18 billion, as Wired magazine's Steven Levy said earlier today on Morning Edition.

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The Two-Way
5:49 am
Mon May 14, 2012

Yahoo CEO's Ousting Is Victory For Hedge Fund Pushing Change At Company

Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Sunday's news that Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson was stepping down in the wake of questions about his credibility is being followed this morning with accounts about how this is a victory for an activist hedge fund that's been pushing for changes at the Internet search giant.

As the Mercury News reports:

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The Two-Way
4:49 am
Mon May 14, 2012

Reports: JPMorgan's Losses Could Top $4 Billion; Three Execs To Resign

Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Mon May 14, 2012 7:17 am

Three high-ranking executives, including one of the most powerful women on Wall Street, are expected to resign from JPMorgan Chase this week because of their roles in the $2.3 billion loss the bank recently suffered when some risky trades blew up in its face.

The Wall Street Journal, which broke that news, also reports that JPMorgan's losses from the "giant trading blunder" keep growing. It cites "people familiar with the situation," as its sources.

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The Two-Way
1:20 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Agent, Double Agent Or Mole? Which Was The Underwear Bomb Character?

Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 1:45 pm

Many headlines and stories (including some of ours) have been saying that a "double agent" infiltrated al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and foiled a plot to get another underwear bomb aboard a U.S.-bound passenger jet.

But we've been looking at definitions of spy terms and think that based on what we have been told so far, the person at the center of the story wasn't a double agent.

That character was at least an "agent."

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The Two-Way
8:29 am
Wed May 9, 2012

Josh Hamilton's Remarkable Story Continues: Four Home Runs In One Game

There goes No. 2: Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers as he hit the second of his four home runs Tuesday night in a game vs. the Baltimore Orioles.
Mitchell Layton Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 9:14 am

It's incredible enough that Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton hit four home runs in one game Tuesday night — something that's only been done by 15 other major league players.

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