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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7:17am

Wed July 18, 2012
The Two-Way

Syrian Defense Minister Killed In Explosion, State TV Says

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 11:49 am

Syrian Defense Minister Gen. Dawoud Rajha last September.
Syrian Arab News Agency AFP/Getty Images

The uprising in Syria against the regime of President Bashar Assad took a dramatic turn today when an explosion at a government building in Damascus killed the country's defense minister and a brother-in-law of the president.

Syrian state TV, which is reporting the deaths, has blamed a suicide bomber. There have been at least two claims of responsiblity from groups opposed to the Assad regime. There are also reports that the bomber was a member of the Assad inner circle's security team.

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3:53pm

Tue July 17, 2012
The Two-Way

Pot Growers May Be Killing Rare Creatures With Poison, Researchers Say

A fisher. It now has another challenge.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Already among the animals that may be added to the list of those protected by the Endangered Species Act, the weasel-like fisher now faces this deadly threat:

Rat poison that illegal marijuana growers put out to protect their crops in California.

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11:13am

Tue July 17, 2012
The Two-Way

Boy Scouts Reaffirm Ban On Open Gays; Call It 'Absolutely The Best Policy'

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 11:56 am

In Mississippi last month, scouts took part in a flag retirement ceremony.
Philip Hall / Enterprise-Journal AP

"After a confidential two-year review, the Boy Scouts of America has emphatically reaffirmed its policy of excluding gays," The Associated Press reports.

According to the wire service, Scouts spokesman Deron Smith said the 11-member committee decided that is "absolutely the best policy" for the organization.

The Boy Scouts' policy states that:

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10:19am

Tue July 17, 2012
The Two-Way

In 'Dour' Report, Fed's Bernanke Says Economy Has Decelerated

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 2:10 pm

"The U.S. economy has continued to recover, but economic activity appears to have decelerated somewhat during the first half of this year," Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke tells Congress this morning in testimony prepared for his semiannual report on economic conditions and monetary policy.

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10:01am

Tue July 17, 2012
The Two-Way

Dutch Police Join Investigation Into Needles Found In Delta Sandwiches

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 3:22 pm

A Delta Air Lines jet being serviced last year by Gate Gourmet caterers in San Francisco.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

"Police at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport say they still do not know how needles got into turkey sandwiches on Delta Air Lines flights from Amsterdam to the United States, but are investigating," The Associated Press reports.

As The Wall Street Journal writes:

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9:32am

Tue July 17, 2012
The Two-Way

VIDEO: Hero Neighbor Catches 7-Year-Old Girl Who Falls 3 Stories

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 12:42 pm

Steven St. Bernard, who made the catch that saved a little girl from serious injury or worse.
CBS New York

"I was just praying that I would get there and that if she [fell] that I would catch her," Steven St. Bernard tells CBS 2 TV in New York City.

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9:06am

Tue July 17, 2012

7:55am

Tue July 17, 2012
The Two-Way

Mass Casualties After Shootings In Toronto And Tuscaloosa

Separate mass shootings at opposite ends of North America have left dozens wounded and at least two people dead.

Late Monday evening in Toronto, two people were killed and at least 19 others wounded in a shooting that "Police Chief Bill Blair called the worst in the city's history," The Globe and Mail writes. It adds that:

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7:41am

Tue July 17, 2012
The Two-Way

Pentagon Is Prepping Defenses Against Iran, 'Wall Street Journal' Reports

One of this morning's scoops, from The Wall Street Journal:

"The Pentagon is building a missile-defense radar station at a secret site in Qatar and organizing its biggest-ever minesweeping exercises in the Persian Gulf, as preparations accelerate for a possible flare-up with Iran, according to U.S. officials."

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7:26am

Tue July 17, 2012
The Two-Way

Drought In U.S. Now Worst Since 1956; Food Prices To Spike, Economy To Suffer

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 5:16 pm

On Monday, a weed was growing through the dry earth at Marion Kujawa's pond, which he normally uses to water the cattle on his farm in Ashley, Ill.
Scott Olson Getty Images

With about 55 percent of the continental U.S. suffering from "moderate to extreme drought" conditions the nation is withering under conditions that haven't been this bad since 1956, according to a new report from National Climatic Data Center.

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12:13pm

Mon July 16, 2012
The Two-Way

Fifth Fatal Shark Attack Has Australia Reconsidering Great Whites' Protection

A Great White off the coast of South Africa in 2009.
Dan Kitwood Getty Images

There are shark encounters you may laugh at — such as the one we posted about last week. The reactions of a young woman and man when a bull shark steals a fish from the end of her line are wonderful.

Then there are the stories that are no laughing matter — such as those coming in recent days from western Australia.

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10:57am

Mon July 16, 2012
The Two-Way

Twist, But Don't Shout: McCartney & Springsteen Have Plug Pulled In London

Paul McCartney, left, and Bruce Springsteen during Saturday's show in Hyde Park — before the plug was pulled. Frame grab from video posted by "BenR753" on YouTube.
YouTube.com

Ooh. Imagine what might have happened if they'd been able to sing one more song. Or properly thank the crowd.

Someone's sleep might have been disturbed. Good heavens!

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9:55am

Mon July 16, 2012
The Two-Way

Florida A&M President's Resignation To Be Effective Immediately

James Ammons in 2006.
Gerry Broome AP

Instead of staying on until his retirement in October, it was reported this morning that Florida A&M University President James Ammons' resignation will be effective immediately.

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9:21am

Mon July 16, 2012

9:03am

Mon July 16, 2012
The Two-Way

Military Chief's Removal, Rise In Hemlines: Hopeful Signs In North Korea?

Dec. 29, 2011: new North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, and Vice Marshal Ri Yong Ho at a national memorial service for Kim's father, Kim Jong Il. Reports from North Korea say the military leader has been removed from his post.
AP

Less than a week after all the tea-reading over what, if anything, it means that Korean leader Kim Jong Un may have a love in his life, now there are these stories to ponder:

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