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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7:40am

Thu March 14, 2013
The Two-Way

Pope Francis Begins With Prayer, Turns To Challenges

Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 1:57 pm

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

2:51pm

Wed March 13, 2013
The Two-Way

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

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 8:11 am

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

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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11:29am

Wed March 13, 2013
The Two-Way

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

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 12:07 pm

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

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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10:23am

Wed March 13, 2013
The Two-Way

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

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 4:52 pm

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

It's taken about a month to hit the mainstream media's websites.

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8:45am

Wed March 13, 2013
The Two-Way

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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8:08am

Wed March 13, 2013
The Two-Way

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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7:17am

Wed March 13, 2013
The Two-Way

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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6:55am

Wed March 13, 2013
The Two-Way

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

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 12:07 pm

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

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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2:53pm

Tue March 12, 2013
The Two-Way

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

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 4:53 pm

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

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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12:21pm

Tue March 12, 2013
The Two-Way

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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11:08am

Tue March 12, 2013
The Two-Way

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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9:17am

Tue March 12, 2013
The Two-Way

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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8:17am

Tue March 12, 2013
The Two-Way

Ryan Says His Budget Would Balance In 10 Years

Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 11:32 am

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

(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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7:39am

Tue March 12, 2013
The Two-Way

The Smoke Is Black: No Pope After Cardinals' First Vote

Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 3:25 pm

As the black smoke rose from the Vatican chimney Tuesday, some of the nuns and others gathered in St. Peter's Square were singing.
Eric Gaillard Reuters /Landov
  • From 'Morning Edition': Sylvia Poggioli on the latest from Rome
  • Philip Reeves on the princes of the church

Update at 2:43 p.m. ET. No Pope Today:

Black smoke just poured from the chimney above the Vatican. That means, as was expected, the cardinals did not choose a pope on the first vote of their conclave to name a successor to the now-retired Pope Benedict XVI. As the cardinals' ballots are burned, NPR's Sylvia Poggioli says, chemicals are added to a fire in a second stove to turn the smoke black if there's no pope elected and white if there is.

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3:13pm

Mon March 11, 2013
The Two-Way

VIDEO: Helmet-cam Records Mountain Climber's Wild Slide; He's OK

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 9:36 pm

Mark Roberts' feet, in the foreground, as he slid down a mountain in Wales.
British Mountaineering Council

This video is not for those who are squeamish about seeing others in danger. So think before you click play.

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