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
9:26 am
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

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 9:06 am

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
11:14 am
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

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 10:35 am

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
11:14 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Mandela Interpreter Says He Was In Group That Killed Two Men

Thamsanqa Jantjie.
Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi AP

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 8:48 am

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
12:44 pm
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 11:36 am

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
12:44 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

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

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 7:16 am

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
11:29 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Steubenville Officials Plead Not Guilty In Rape Case

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 10:32 am

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
10:32 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 9:16 am

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
9:36 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 10:59 am

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
10:05 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Big Jump In Jobless Claims Blamed On Seasonal Factors

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 7:18 am

Data such as the weekly figures on jobless claims are supposed to be "seasonally adjusted" to account for temporary factors that aren't really connected to the underlying strength or weakness of the economy.

But Thursday morning's report seems to underscore how hard it can be to make such adjustments.

According to the Employment and Training Administration, there were 368,000 first-time claims filed for jobless benefits last week — far above the 300,000 applications the week before.

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The Two-Way
10:00 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

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 8:25 am

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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The Two-Way
10:00 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Sriracha Maker Told To Hold Its Sauce For 30 Days

Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 9:14 am

Already under orders from a court to partially shut down production because of concerns that spicy smells from its Irwindale, Calif., plant are irritating neighbors' eyes, noses and throats, Huy Fong Foods has now been told it can't ship its Sriracha hot sauce until at least 30 days after bottling.

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The Two-Way
10:00 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Must-Cry Video? Watch WestJet Airline's 'Christmas Miracle'

One of the happy passengers who arrived in Calgary to find a present from Santa, thanks to WestJet Airlines.
WestJet

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 7:13 am

Some Scrooges will say, "Bah humbug, it's just a public relations stunt."

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The Two-Way
10:15 am
Wed December 11, 2013

'World Is Watching,' U.S. Diplomat Tells Ukraine

U.S. Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland offered food to pro-European Union activists as she and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, right, walked through Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, on Wednesday. She also offered food to some of the police nearby.
Andrew Kravchenko AP

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 10:39 am

While Ukrainian riot police have reportedly left Kiev's Independence Square, one of the United States' top diplomats says she has told President Viktor Yanukovych that "what happened last night, what has been happening in security terms here, is absolutely impermissible in a European state, in a democratic state."

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The Two-Way
10:00 am
Wed December 11, 2013

'Something For Everyone To Dislike' In Budget Deal

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray, D-Wash., and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., crafted the budget deal.
T.J. Kirkpatrick Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 1:37 pm

The reviews are coming in for the bipartisan budget deal crafted by Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and as the Los Angeles Times says, the package seems to have "something for everyone to dislike."

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The Two-Way
9:59 am
Wed December 11, 2013

'Fake' Sign Language Interpreter Marred Mandela Memorial

As President Obama and other world leaders spoke Tuesday in Johannesburg at a memorial for Nelson Mandela, a man stood nearby and appeared to be doing sign language interpretation. Many in the deaf community are outraged because the man appeared to be faking.
Pedro Ugarte AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 10:52 am

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