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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11:16am

Wed September 26, 2012
The Two-Way

Psst! Wanna Buy Some Mozzarella? U.S. Cheese Being Smuggled Into Canada

Somebody check the cheese.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Criminals and cops looking to grab a slice of some tasty action are smuggling American cheese into Canada, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

At the center of this "mozzarella mafia" conspiracy are some officers in the Niagara Regional Police Service, the news agency says. It says that:

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10:23am

Wed September 26, 2012
The Two-Way

New Home Sales Were Flat In August, But Prices Rose Sharply

Model homes at a new development in Millbrae, Calif., earlier this year.
David Paul Morris Getty Images

While the number of new homes sold in August was barely changed from July, the median sales price was up sharply, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development report. So the news adds to other recent signs, including Tuesday's report about higher home prices in major cities, of a recovering housing sector.

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10:01am

Wed September 26, 2012
The Two-Way

Andy Williams Dies; Crooner Was Known For 'Moon River,' Christmas TV Specials

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 10:24 am

Singer Andy Williams in 1970.
Central Press Getty Images

Singer Andy Williams, best known for his rendition of Moon River, his Christmas TV specials and his long-running show in Branson, Mo., has died.

He was 84.

Williams' publicist, Paul Shefrin, says in a statement sent to reporters that the singer "passed away last night (Tuesday) at home in Branson, Mo, following a year long battle with bladder cancer. ... Williams, 84, who also had a residence in La Quinta, Calif., is survived by his wife Debbie and his three children, Robert, Noelle and Christian."

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9:18am

Wed September 26, 2012
The Two-Way

Before U.N. Address, Ahmadinejad Talks Of New World Order

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 1:44 pm

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during his address today at the U.N.
John Moore Getty Images

In something of a swan song, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad used his eighth — and likely final — appearance before the U.N. General Assembly to elaborate on his vision of a new world order and criticize what he calls the world's "hegemonic" and "expansionist" powers.

In general, the Iranian leader took a less confrontational tone than in previous years.

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8:43am

Wed September 26, 2012
The Two-Way

After Uproar, No Signal That NFL Refs Will Be Back Soon

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 2:22 pm

Things haven't been going well for these guys: Some of the NFL's replacement referees, during a Sept. 23 game between the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens.
Kevin Dietsch UPI /Landov

Though the nation's football fans — from President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to the average couch quarterback — are begging the two sides to settle their contract dispute so that regular NFL referees can come back to work, there seems to be no clear reason to think that's going to happen in time for this week's games.

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7:49am

Wed September 26, 2012
The Two-Way

Tear Gas, Rocks Fly At Anti-Austerity Protest In Athens

In Athens today, anti-austerity demonstrations began peacefully. Later, protesters threw rocks and petrol bombs. Police responded with tear gas.
John Kolesidis Reuters /Landov

Riot police in Athens have fired tear gas at protesters who in turn have been lobbing stones and petrol bombs in one of the largest anti-austerity demonstrations to hit the Greek capital in months.

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7:23am

Wed September 26, 2012
The Two-Way

U.S. Believes It Has Pakistan's 'Tacit Consent' For Drone Strikes, 'WSJ' Reports

February: A protest in Multan, Pakistan, over the drone attacks.
S.S. Mirza AFP/Getty Images

The CIA tells Pakistan in advance about "broad areas" where it intends to take aim at suspected terrorists with drone strikes and interprets the other government's silence and clearing of airspace as "tacit consent," The Wall Street Journal reports this morning.

Saying its sources are "U.S. officials" and "two senior [Obama] administration officials," the Journal adds that:

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1:57pm

Tue September 25, 2012
The Two-Way

Who Killed Messy Mya? High-Profile New Orleans Murder Trial Halted

Messy Mya.
YouTube

New Orleans is known for being different. The trial of the man accused in the 2010 murder of "social-media celebrity Anthony Barre, better known as Messy Mya," is adding to the city's reputation.

As The Times-Picayune reports, the trial was halted Monday after the district attorney's office "got wind of a YouTube video of the 7th Ward slaying and dropped the murder charge against Jason Baptiste Hamilton in an attempt to track down the footage."

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12:53pm

Tue September 25, 2012
The Two-Way

Obama Focuses On 'Outrage Of Human Trafficking'

Saying it "must be called by its true name, 'modern slavery,' " President Obama this afternoon used his address before the Clinton Global Initiative to focus on "the outrage of human trafficking."

When a man is "working, toiling for little or no pay and [is] beaten if he tries to escape, that is slavery," Obama said.

"When a woman is locked in a sweat shop or trapped in a home as a domestic servant ... that is slavery."

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10:45am

Tue September 25, 2012
The Two-Way

Obama: Those Like Slain U.S. Ambassador Must Determine World's Future

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 12:31 pm

President Obama at the U.N. General Assembly this morning.
John Moore Getty Images

Using the example set by the life of slain U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, President Obama this morning told delegates to the United Nations that the diplomat's killers will not determine the world's future. Instead, Obama said, it will be people such as Stevens who build "bridges across oceans and cultures" and set the world's agenda.

We updated as the president spoke. Scroll down to read through the highlights.

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9:52am

Tue September 25, 2012
The Two-Way

Romney Touts 'Prosperity Pacts' To Help Middle East, Developing Nations

One former president, one would-be: Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (left), spoke this morning at former President Bill Clinton's annual forum in New York City. President Obama addresses the Clinton Global Initiative later today.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Saying that foreign aid must play a role in bringing peace to the Middle East, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney made the case today for what he calls "prosperity pacts" that would aim U.S. assistance packages at nations that develop "the institutions of liberty, the rule of law, and property rights."

Romney was addressing the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, a forum that will host President Obama later today.

If he's elected in November, Romney said (per his prepared remarks):

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9:34am

Tue September 25, 2012
The Two-Way

More Positive News On Housing: Prices Rose For Third Straight Month

A home for sale in Los Angeles last month.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Home prices rose in July from June by 1.5 percent in its 10-city index and 1.6 percent in the 20 major cities where it tracks changes, the latest S&P/

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9:20am

Tue September 25, 2012

8:59am

Tue September 25, 2012
The Two-Way

Syria's Children Are Victims Of 'Appalling' Violence, Report Says

A young Syrian girl wiped her tears after not being allowed entry to Turkey last month. Thousands of Syrians have fled to neighboring countries to escape the civil war raging in their nation.
Aris Messinis AFP/Getty Images

Unfortunately, this news is not a surprise:

"As Syria's civil war has intensified, thousands of children have died in brutal attacks and many more have been injured, traumatized or forced to flee their homes," the international charity Save the Children reports. And it warns that "boys and girls continue to be killed, maimed and tortured. These appalling violations against children must stop and those carrying them out held to account."

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8:33am

Tue September 25, 2012
The Two-Way

Obama To Tell Iran That U.S. Will 'Do What We Must' On Nukes

"President Barack Obama will warn Iran on Tuesday that the United States will 'do what we must' to prevent it from acquiring a nuclear weapon, and appeal to world leaders for a united front against further attacks on U.S. diplomatic missions in Muslim countries," Reuters reports this morning.

Update at 8:30 a.m. ET. According to excerpts released by the White House, the president will say:

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