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
10:43 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Pope Francis Is Now 'Papa Crow' To His Favorite Soccer Club

The San Lorenzo football club is very excited to have "Papa Crow" on its side.
Web image of San Lorenzo club's website
  • From 'Morning Edition': More about Pope Francis

Talk about having a powerful hincha on your side.

As the website of Buenos Aires soccer club San Lorenzo declares, the team now has "Papa Cuervo" (Papa Crow) among its card-carrying fans.

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The Two-Way
8:18 am
Thu March 14, 2013

In Partisan Vote, Senate Committee OKs Ban On Assault-Style Weapons

Assault-style rifles on display at Chuck's Firearms gun store in Atlanta.
Erik S. Lesser EPA /Landov

By a 10-8, party-line vote with Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday moved legislation that would revive the ban on assault-style weapons that expired in 2004.

The vote, while expected, remains noteworthy because it is among a handful of legislative responses so far to the mass shootings in recent years — most notably the Dec. 14 attack on an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 children and six educators dead.

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The Two-Way
7:51 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Co-Founder Of Khmer Rouge Dies; Ieng Sary Escapes Judgment For Genocide

Ieng Sary.
Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia

The death of Ieng Sary, co-founder of the Khmer Rouge that ruled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979 and killed an estimated 1.7 million of that nation's people in the process, has dashed the hopes "among survivors and court prosecutors that he would ever be punished for his alleged war crimes," The Associated Press writes.

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The Two-Way
6:50 am
Thu March 14, 2013

'God Particle' Update: Scientists Think They've Pinned Down The Higgs Boson

This is what researchers at the ATLAS detector at the Large Hadron Collider expect a Higgs boson to look like. The Higgs boson is the subatomic particle that scientists say gives everything in the universe mass.
ATLAS Experiment/CERN

Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 7:03 am

"Scientists working with data from a large particle accelerator in Europe are now almost certain they have pinned down the elusive sub-atomic particle known as the Higgs Boson," NPR's Joe Palca tells our Newscast Desk.

Or, as it's also known, the "God Particle" (more on that moniker below).

Joe reports that:

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The Two-Way
6:18 am
Thu March 14, 2013

After Standoff, Suspect In N.Y. Shooting Deaths Of 4 Is Killed By Police

In Herkimer, N.Y., police and suspect Kurt Myers were in a standoff from midday Wednesday into early early Thursday. Overnight, these officers were on the town's North Main Street.
Brett Carlsen Getty Images

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The Two-Way
5:44 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Jobless Claims Drop; Wholesale Prices Rise

The number of people filing first-time claims dropped by 10,000 last week from the week before, to 332,000, the Employment and Training Administration says.

That means claims continue to run at their lowest pace since January 2008. They've now fallen for three straight weeks.

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The Two-Way
5:21 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Chávez's Body Probably Won't Be On Permanent Display, New Leader Says

March 6: In Caracas, many Venezuelans crowded the streets to see the coffin of President Hugo Chavez.
Xinhua /Landov

The decision to embalm the body of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez so that it could be put on permanent display in the country's Museum of the Revolution was made too late, acting President Nicolas Maduro said Thursday in Caracas.

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The Two-Way
4:40 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Pope Francis Begins With Prayer, Turns To Challenges

Pope Francis on Thursday as he left Rome's Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica
Alessandro Bianchi Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 10:57 am

  • From 'Morning Edition': Sylvia Poggioli on the selection of a new pope
  • From 'Morning Edition': John Burnett profiles the new pope
  • From 'Morning Edition': Correspondent Hugh Bronstein

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The Two-Way
11:11 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Argentina's Cardinal Bergoglio Is The New Pope; He Will Be 'Francis'

Pope Francis as he waved to the crowd in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on Wednesday.
Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 5:11 am

The world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics have a new spiritual leader, and for the first time it is someone from the Americas.

As afternoon turned to evening in Vatican City on Wednesday, a little after 7 p.m. local time, white smoke rose from a chimney above the Sistine Chapel and bells rang through St. Peter's Square — the traditional signals that the church's cardinals have chosen a new pope.

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The Two-Way
8:29 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Life Of A Chinese Hacker: Work Is Awful, Pay Is Lousy, Boss Doesn't Understand

This 12-story building houses a Chinese military unit allegedly behind dozens of cyberattacks on U.S. and other Western companies. It's in a modern, if bland, part of Shanghai.
Peter Parks AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 9:07 am

Following up last month's news about reports that tie hackings of American defense contractors' websites to operations run — or at least encouraged — by the Chinese government, the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday told the tale of a Shanghai man who used to blog about his work in a People's Liberation Army

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The Two-Way
7:23 am
Wed March 13, 2013

VIDEO: Fan Accompanies Billy Joel; 'Greatest Moment Of My Life,' He Says

Michael Pollack, right, getting a handshake and blessing from Billy Joel. Pollack asked Joel if he could come on state to accompany the pop star on "New York State of Mind." Joel said yes and the video has gone viral.
YouTube.com

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 1:52 pm

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The Two-Way
5:45 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Retail Sales Rose In February; Spending Was 'Relatively Robust'

Retail sales rose an estimated 1.1 percent in February from January and were up 4.6 percent from February 2012, the Census Bureau says.

Kathy Bostjancic director of macroeconomic analysis at the The Conference Board research group, says in an analysis sent to reporters that the report's a sign that "consumer spending remains relatively robust." And since consumers buy about 70 percent of all goods and services, their willingness to spend is a key economic driver.

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The Two-Way
5:08 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Steubenville Rape Trial Begins

Steubenville, Ohio.
Jason Cohn Reuters /Landov

The case has already been "tried" in the social media, as The New York Times writes.

But Wednesday in Steubenville, Ohio, a real court will be the setting as two high school football players in a town that's obsessed with high school football go on trial for the alleged rape of a 16-year-old girl last summer.

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The Two-Way
4:17 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Winning Musher Is Oldest Champion In Iditarod History

On their way to victory: Mitch Seavey and his team as they left White Mountain, Alaska, on Tuesday in the last leg of the Iditarod.
Bill Roth/Anchorage Daily News MCT /Landov

"Mitch Seavey scored one for the AARP-eligible crowd Tuesday night by becoming the oldest champion in Iditarod history," the Anchorage Daily News writes this morning.

According to Alaska Public Telecommunications, the 53-year-old Seavey crossed the finish line at 10:39 p.m. local time on Tuesday — 2:39 a.m. ET Wednesday. It has "checkpoint to checkpoint" coverage of the race posted here.

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The Two-Way
3:55 am
Wed March 13, 2013

No Pope Yet: Black Smoke Rises After Morning Votes On Day 2 Of Conclave

Black smoke rose from the chimney on the Sistine Chapel at midday Wednesday in Vatican City. That means the cardinals have not yet chosen a new pope.
Pool Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 9:07 am

Update at 6:41 a.m. ET. The Smoke Is Black:

Smoke just started pouring from a special chimney above the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City — and its dark color means the 115 cardinals meeting inside the chapel have not yet agreed on a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.

If all has gone as planned inside the chapel, where the cardinals are meeting in secret, they have now cast three ballots and no one name has been written on at last two-thirds of the slips of paper. It takes two-thirds — 77 votes — to become leader of the Roman Catholic Church.

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The Two-Way
11:53 am
Tue March 12, 2013

5 Things About Popes And Their Names; Like, Why Do They Change Them?

Pope John II, whose name at birth was Mercurius. When he became pope in 533 he changed his name — starting a tradition that continues.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 1:53 pm

Update at 5 p.m., March 13: The new pope's name will be Francis — one that hasn't been used before.

Our original post, written before Pope Francis was chosen:

It's not required, but it's almost surely going to happen:

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The Two-Way
9:21 am
Tue March 12, 2013

Judge Enters Not Guilty Plea For Accused Colorado Theater Shooter

After his attorneys said they need more time to prepare to respond to the 166 counts of murder, attempted murder and other crimes he faces, a Colorado judge on Tuesday entered a not guilty plea on behalf of accused movie theater gunman James Holmes.

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The Two-Way
8:08 am
Tue March 12, 2013

General's Dismissal Of Sex Assault Conviction Sparks Anger, Review Of System

The Pentagon. New Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel wants a review of how sexual assault cases are adjudicated by the military.
Jason Reed Reuters /Landov

An Air Force general's decision to dismiss the charges against a lieutenant colonel who was convicted of sexual assault has outraged many members of Congress and led new Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to say he's ordered a review of the case.

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The Two-Way
6:17 am
Tue March 12, 2013

Ahmadinejad Touched And Consoled Chávez's Mother, To Clerics' Dismay

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad offered his condolences to Elena Frias, mother of Venezuela's late President Hugo Chávez, last week. This image was provided to news services by the Miraflores Palace — the office of the Venezuelan president.
Reuters /Landov

A photo of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad holding the hand of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez's mother and appearing to brush his face against her cheek as they consoled each other last week has him "mired in a fresh controversy" in Iran, as the BBC writes:

"Conservative critics, already irked by Mr Ahmadinejad's effusive eulogy for the leftist leader, reminded him that he has not only committed a sin, but also behaved in a way inappropriate for the president of an Islamic state."

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The Two-Way
5:17 am
Tue March 12, 2013

Ryan Says His Budget Would Balance In 10 Years

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., when he was campaigning as the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee.
Michael Sears MCT /Landov

Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 8:32 am

(Note at 11:20 a.m. ET: Scroll down to see the GOP plan, which has now been released; new comments from Rep. Ryan; and White House reaction.)

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee, unveiled his latest budget plan Tuesday morning — and as NPR's Tamara Keith told our Newscast Desk, he says it would bring the federal budget in balance by 2023.

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