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
12:23 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Ex-BP Engineer Found Guilty Of Obstructing Justice

Former BP drilling engineer Kurt Mix, who has been convicted of obstructing justice.
Jonathan Bachman AP

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 1:01 pm

The first of four current or former BP employees charged with crimes related to the 2010 Gulf oil spill has been found guilty of obstructing justice because he deleted text messages from his cellphone that contained information about the worst offshore spill in the nation's history.

NPR's Debbie Elliott tells our Newscast Desk that a federal jury in New Orleans convicted 52-year-old Kurt Mix on Wednesday.

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The Two-Way
11:29 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Gays In U.S. Olympic Delegation Will Send Message To Russia

Sept. 25: Police detain a gay rights activist in Moscow. The poster, adorned with Olympic rings, reads "Homophobia is the shame of Russia!"
Alexander Nemenov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 6:58 pm

Tennis great Billie Jean King and ice hockey medalist Caitlin Cahow are certainly qualified to be members of the U.S. delegation at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia.

One is a winner of 39 "grand slam" tennis titles and has been honored with a Presidential Medal of Freedom. The other is a two-time Olympic medal winner with Team USA.

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The Two-Way
10:17 am
Wed December 18, 2013

'Great Train Robber' Ronnie Biggs Dies; Was Famed Fugitive

Ronnie Biggs, showing off his notoriety in 1994 while he was living in Brazil.
AFP/Getty Images

He was "a petty criminal" who joined a gang responsible for one of the 20th Century's most notable heists.

Ronnie Biggs, who went to jail for his role in the U.K.'s "great train robbery" of 1963 — but was more famous for his flamboyant life during 36 years as a fugitive following his escape from prison in 1965 — died Wednesday.

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The Two-Way
9:03 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Already Down 50 Percent, Will Bitcoin Bite The Dust?

How low will they go?
Jens Kalaene DPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 10:00 am

Talk about a fall:

"Prices of virtual currency bitcoin fell 20% Wednesday and are now down more than 50% from their record high hit two weeks ago amid worries that China is moving to block the purchase and use of the currency by its citizens," The Wall Street Journal writes.

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The Two-Way
7:47 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Student Is Charged In Harvard Bomb Scare

University police, FBI agents and Cambridge, Mass., officers all responded on Monday when Harvard received messages claiming that bombs had been planted in four buildings. None were found and a student has been charged in the hoax. he allegedly wanted to avoid taking a test.
Josh Reynolds AP

The initial suspicion of many — that Monday's bomb scare at Harvard University was the work of a student who wanted to avoid taking a test — may have been correct.

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The Two-Way
6:59 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Ga. Woman Claims 1 Of 2 Winning Mega Millions Tickets

Holding a dream: Customers lined up Tuesday at a shop in Tallapoosa, Ga., to buy Mega Millions tickets.
Erik S. Lesser EPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 10:19 am

Updated 5:40 p.m. ET: Georgia Woman To Get $123 Million

A Georgia woman will split the $363 million jackpot in the Mega Millions drawing with an as yet unidentified winner in California.

Georgia lottery officials on Wednesday announced that Ira Curry of Stone Mountain, Ga., purchased one of two winning tickets in Tuesday's drawing, among the largest U.S. lottery jackpots ever.

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The Two-Way
1:21 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

'Rapture' Prophet Harold Camping Dies

Harold Camping speaks during a taping of his show Open Forum in Oakland, Calif., on May 23, 2011.

Marcio Jose Sanchez AP

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 2:13 pm

Harold Camping, the radio preacher who generated headlines around the world in 2011 with his ultimately wrong predictions that the world was about to end, has died.

According to The Associated Press, Family Radio Network marketing manager Nina Romero says Camping died Sunday at his home in Alameda, Calif. He was 92.

A quick run through some of our headlines (with links) from 2011 may help refresh your memory about Camping's brush with fame:

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The Two-Way
12:06 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Costs Of Shutdown And Health Website Highlight 'Wastebook'

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., issues his Wastebook each year.
Coburn.Senate.gov

Older Two-Way readers will remember the monthly Golden Fleece Awards from former Sen. William Proxmire, D-Wis., who spotlighted ways the federal government was wasting money.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., has picked up that mantle in recent years with his annual Wastebook.

On Tuesday, Coburn released his 2013 edition, where he points to:

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The Two-Way
10:06 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Many Steps, Many Countries To Get Chemicals Out Of Syria

Norwegian marines patrol the waters around the Norwegian frigate HNOMS Helge Ingstad, which was docked in Cyprus over the weekend. The frigate, and the Danish warship HDMS Esbern Snare, will escort Danish and Norwegian cargo ships transporting Syria's most dangerous chemical weapons.
Pavlos Vrionides AP
  • On 'Morning Edition': Tom Goldman explains how chemicals will be removed from Syria

With the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons expected to on Tuesday unveil its final plan for how to rid Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime of its chemical weapons, NPR's Tom Bowman has looked at how the deadly ingredients will be removed even as Syria's civil war continues to rage.

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The Two-Way
9:56 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Six U.S. Soldiers Reported Killed In Afghan Crash

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 11:11 am

The crash of a military aircraft Tuesday in Afghanistan killed six members of the International Security Assistance Force who were on board, military officials say, and NPR's Tom Bowman has been told by military sources in a position to know that all six were Americans.

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The Two-Way
7:25 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Nirvana, Linda Ronstadt And KISS Are In The Rock Hall

Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain in 1993. He took his own life in 1994.
Frank Micelotta Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 8:23 am

We can stop wagging our tongues about KISS not being in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The hall says its 2014 inductees are:

-- Cat Stevens

-- Peter Gabriel

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The Two-Way
7:01 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Bipartisan Budget Deal Passes Key Test In Senate

It may seem to some like a holiday miracle, but the Senate moved ahead on a bipartisan budget plan Tuesday.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 7:09 pm

Updated at 10:27 a.m. ET: Moving Ahead:

The Senate voted 67 to 33 on Tuesday to move forward on the two-year, bipartisan budget plan that restores some of the automatic spending cuts of recent years, trims spending in other areas and appears to have put on hold until 2015 the bitter battles that led to this year's partial government shutdown.

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The Two-Way
1:35 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Trains To Roll Through Devastated Quebec Town Again

Scene of the disaster: On July 6, smoke rose from the tank cars that derailed in Lac Megantic, Quebec. The explosions and fires killed 47 people.
Paul Chiasson AP

For the first time since a July 6 derailment that caused massive explosions and fires that killed 47 people, freight trains are due to roll again through Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, starting on Wednesday.

According to Toronto's Globe and Mail:

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The Two-Way
11:48 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Mandela Interpreter Says He Was In Group That Killed Two Men

Thamsanqa Jantjie.
Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi AP

As we continue to follow the story of the apparently bogus sign language interpreter who stood beside President Obama and other world leaders at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela last week in Johannesburg, South Africa, there's word that:

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The Two-Way
10:11 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Harvard Issues 'All Clear' After Unconfirmed Reports Of Explosives

SWAT team officers on the scene Monday at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. Four buildings on campus were evacuated after an unconfirmed report that explosives may have been placed inside.
Elise Amendola AP

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 2:58 pm

Update at 2:50 p.m. ET. Authorities Issue 'All Clear' For All Four Campus Sites:

Harvard's Emergency website issued has cleared the university's Science Center, the last of four sites that were searched for possible explosives.

After nearly 6 hours of searching by bomb squads and other experts, authorities at Harvard University on Monday had issued "all clear" notices for the four buildings apparently cited in "unconfirmed reports" about explosives on campus.

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The Two-Way
9:01 am
Mon December 16, 2013

'Billy Jack' Creator Tom Laughlin Dies

"Billy Jack" — actor Tom Laughlin, who died last week.
TC Laughlin Public Relations

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 9:54 am

  • A bit of 'One Tin Soldier'

Tom Laughlin, who invented and played the movie character "Billy Jack" — a half-white, half Native American Vietnam veteran who used martial arts skills to battle racists — died last week.

Late Sunday, The Associated Press reported that Laughlin's daughter said "he died Thursday at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Laughlin was 82 and Teresa Laughlin, who acted in the Billy Jack movies, said the cause of death was complications from pneumonia."

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The Two-Way
6:50 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Joan Fontaine, 'Coolly Beautiful' Oscar Winner, Dies

Actress Joan Fontaine in 1944.
Dan Grossi AP

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 7:50 am

She was a "patrician blond ... who rose to stardom as a haunted second wife" in Hitchcock's Rebecca and "the coolly beautiful 1940s actress who won an Academy Award for her role in Alfred Hitchcock's Suspicion."

Joan Fontaine died Sunday at the age of 96.

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The Two-Way
1:32 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Steubenville Officials Plead Not Guilty In Rape Case

Four adults, including the city's schools superintendent, pleaded not guilty on Friday to several charges stemming from the aftermath of the notorious rape 2012 rape of a teenage girl by high school football players in Steubenville, Ohio.

Steubenville's WTOV-TV reports that:

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The Two-Way
10:39 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Report: Mandela Interpreter Was Once Charged With Murder

Thamsanqa Jantjie, whose appearance at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela angered many in South Africa's deaf community and has led to an apology from the government. His sign language interpretation was just meaningless gestures, say those who understand that language.
Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi AP

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 12:16 pm

Update at 12:15 p.m. ET. Previously Charged With Murder?

"The South African government said Friday it is aware of reports that the bogus sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela's memorial once faced a murder charge, and said he is being investigated," The Associated Press reports from Johannesburg.

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The Two-Way
9:22 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Was North Korea's No. 2 Killed For Not Clapping Hard Enough?

Jang Song Thaek, who was North Korea's second-most powerful official, was put to death this week.
Kyodo/Landov

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 2:36 pm

  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Frank Langfitt talks about a high-profile execution in North Korea

As outsiders try to figure out why North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had his uncle executed this week, they're focusing on a couple things. According to NPR's Frank Langfitt:

-- There seems have been "a lot of genuine personal dislike" between Kim and Jang Song Thaek, the uncle and until this week North Korea's second most powerful man.

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The Two-Way
7:17 am
Fri December 13, 2013

For Friday The 13th, Say It With Us: Paraskevidekatriaphobia

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 10:16 am

  • Korva Coleman helps cure Friday the 13th fears

Because we want everyone to feel safe, once again we offer this advice for how to get through another Friday the 13th:

Learn how to pronounce paraskevidekatriaphobia.

Successfully saying that super long word supposedly cures one of any Friday the 13th-related fears.

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The Two-Way
6:45 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Obama's 'You Can Keep It' Promise Is 'Lie Of The Year'

President Obama: He's been called out on one of his highest-profile promises.
Drew Angerer/pool Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 1:59 pm

President Obama's oft-repeated promise that "if you like your health care plan, you can keep it" is 2013's "lie of the year," according to the fact checkers at the Tampa Bay Times' nonpartisan PolitiFact project.

PolitiFact says that:

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The Two-Way
2:11 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Probation For Teen Who Killed 4: Here's The Judge's Thinking

The news that a 16-year-old boy from Texas was sentenced this week to 10 years of probation for driving drunk and causing a crash that killed four people has led to many headlines such as this, from Time:

"The Affluenza Defense: Judge Rules Rich Kid's Rich Kid-ness Makes Him Not Liable for Deadly Drunk Driving Accident."

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The Two-Way
12:31 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

What's Blocking Bertha, Seattle's 5-Story Tunneling Machine?

In this photo made with a fish-eye wide-angle lens, Bertha, the massive boring machine that is drilling a two-mile tunnel under Seattle, is shown in July before work began. The tunnel will replace a double deck highway along the downtown Seattle waterfront.
Ted S. Warren AP

Godzilla is back in the news and there's word that a massive boring machine appears to have hit something it can't get through under Seattle.

Hmmm.

But before we get carried away about creatures beneath our cities or hidden chambers holding eggs that will hatch monsters, let's focus on what we know about what's happening in the Northwest.

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The Two-Way
11:25 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Hawaiian Official Who Released Obama's Birth Certificate Dies In Crash

Loretta Fuddy, director of Hawaii's Department of Health. She died Wednesday.
Hawaii Department of Health AP

Loretta Fuddy, a Hawaiian health official who in 2011 was briefly in the national spotlight when she verified the authenticity of President Obama's birth certificate and authorized the release of information about it, died Wednesday in the crash of a small plane off the island of Molokai.

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