Mark Memmott

Mark Memmott joined NPR News in the spring of 2009 to launch a new blog, "The Two-Way," with co-blogger Frank James.

"The Two-Way" is the place where NPR.org gives readers breaking news and analysis — and where it engages users in conversations ("two-ways") about the most compelling stories being reported by NPR News and other news media.

Memmott came to NPR from USA Today, where for over 20 years he worked as a reporter and editor on subjects ranging from politics and, foreign affairs to economics and the media.

In recent years he helped launch and then led three different news blogs at USATODAY.com, including the website's 2008 presidential campaign blog, On Politics.

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7:30am

Thu August 25, 2011
The Two-Way

Hurricane Watches Up In N.C. As Irene Chugs Toward U.S.

Irene's latest projected path.
National Hurricane Center

Hurricane Irene has "roared across the Bahamas archipelago" and remains on track to hit the coast of North Carolina on Saturday and then soak much of the Eastern seaboard over the weekend and into next week as it chugs north.

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7:00am

Thu August 25, 2011
The Two-Way

As Apple's Steve Jobs Steps Down, Tim Cook Steps Up

Tim Cook, who is Apple's new CEO. (Oct. 20, 2010, file photo.)
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

The news last night that Apple Inc. co-founder and visionary Steve Jobs is giving up his post at CEO naturally leads to this question:

Just who is Tim Cook, the Apple chief operating officer who has been tapped to take over as CEO?

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11:50am

Wed August 24, 2011
The Two-Way

Earth May Be Home To 8.7M Species, Give Or Take A Million Or So

Figuring that one of the basic things we should know about the Earth is how many species of life we're surrounded by, a team of researchers has come up with a new estimate:

-- 8.7 million, "with a standard error of +/- 1.3 million."

Or, that is, somewhere between 7.4 million and 10 million. And so far, experts say, we've only discovered about 15 percent of them.

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11:15am

Wed August 24, 2011
The Two-Way

One Of World's 'Most Feared Pests' Keeps Showing Up At Customs

The Khapra beetle. If you see one, tell the authorities.
acgov.org

This headline from the Chicago Tribune got our attention:

'Most feared' pest found in shipment at O'Hare.

According to the story, "a cast skin and larva" later identified as Khapra beetles were discovered in two 10-pound bags of rice last week.

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10:00am

Wed August 24, 2011
The Two-Way

Joey Vento, Famed For Cheesesteaks And 'Speak English,' Has Died

He was "the impresario of cheesesteaks whose 'speak English' sign at his South Philly sandwich shop made him famous to some, infamous to others," The Philadelphia Inquirer writes.

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9:20am

Wed August 24, 2011
The Two-Way

Rise In Order For Durable Goods Lifts Spirits On Wall Street

This just in from Bloomberg News:

"U.S. stock futures pared losses, erasing most of a 1.4 percent decline, as a bigger-than-expected increase in orders for durable goods offset concern yesterday's rally went too far, too fast."

Translation: Wall Street may have an OK day. The futures are signalling that the market's likely to head higher.

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9:00am

Wed August 24, 2011
The Two-Way

Terror Fears Made East Coast Earthquake Especially Unsettling

There was supposedly some "snickering" from jaded folks on the West Coast of the U.S. on Tuesday as they watched many on the East Coast express alarm and surprise over the 5.8-magnitude earthquake that shook things from the Carolina's to New England.

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8:15am

Wed August 24, 2011
The Two-Way

In Libya: Last Battle Of 'Bitter, Brutal Civil War'

The dramatic scenes Tuesday of joy and looting at what was Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's main compound in Tripoli have again raised the prospect that "the war is almost over," NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reported on Morning Edition earlier today.

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7:35am

Wed August 24, 2011
The Two-Way

Irene Likely To Be 'Major Hurricane Later Today;' Mid-Atlantic Bracing

Here she comes. A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite photo of Hurricane Irene, taken Tuesday (Aug. 23, 2011). Cuba and Florida are to the left.
AFP/Getty Images

Hurricane Irene "continues to strengthen as it pounds the southeastern Bahamas," the National Hurricane Center reports, and "will likely become a major hurricane later today."

Irene is a "category two" hurricane at this moment. The Hurricane Center expects it will be upgraded to "category three," with winds of more than 111 mph, today.

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7:00am

Wed August 24, 2011
The Two-Way

Gadhafi Vows To Fight; Irene Strengthens; East Coast Picks Up After Quake

Originally published on Wed August 24, 2011 7:06 am

Opposition fighters flashed the V-sign for victory during celebrations in Tripoli's newly named Martyrs Square, formerly known as Green Square, on Tuesday (Aug. 23, 2011).
Filippo Monteforte AFP/Getty Images

We'll have more on each of these topics shortly, but first we want to quickly pass on the main headlines related to the day's three major stories:

-- Libya: "From Hiding, Gadhafi Tells Libyans To Free Tripoli."

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10:40am

Tue August 23, 2011
The Two-Way

Lager's Key Yeast May Have Come From Argentina

An Argentinian heritage? Scientists say the key yeast in lager may have originated in Patagonia.
Robert Sullivan AFP/Getty Images

We have to confess we didn't know that for decades, scientists have been trying to find the "parent yeast" that makes lager beer possible.

Apparently they were.

And now, they may have an answer: Beech forests in Argentina.

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9:15am

Tue August 23, 2011
The Two-Way

Quakes Rattle Southern Colorado, Northern New Mexico

The locations of the quakes.
U.S. Geological Survey

"The largest earthquake to strike Colorado in almost 40 years" shook buildings but apparently caused little damage late last night, Denver's ABC 7 News reports. A few homes may have been damaged and some rock slides were reported.

It was a 5.3 magnitude temblor and the epicenter was "about 180 miles south of Denver."

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8:45am

Tue August 23, 2011
The Two-Way

Moth Was OK (Player Was Too) After Getting Stuck In Outfielder's Ear

Ouch. Matt Holliday of the St. Louis Cardinals as he left the field Monday night with a moth stuck in his right ear.
MLB.com

Well, at least the moth was OK when it was pulled out of St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday's ear Monday night.

According to the Post Dispatch, Holliday even took the little critter home with him.

We can't vouch for its fate after that.

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8:20am

Tue August 23, 2011
The Two-Way

Seventh Victim Of Indiana Stage Collapse Dies; Families Try To Cope

Aug. 13, 2011: A stage collapses at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis. Seven people have died from the injuries they received.
Joey Foley Getty Images

"The families of those who were seriously hurt when the Indiana State Fair Grandstand stage rigging collapsed" on Aug. 13, are struggling with "a mix of hoping and coping," The Indianapolis Star writes this morning.

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8:05am

Tue August 23, 2011
The Two-Way

Hurricane Irene Gaining Strength; Japan Expecting New Prime Minister

The projected path puts the center of the storm over North Carolina at 2 a.m. ET on Sunday.
National Hurricane Center

Good morning.

The fight for control of Tripoli continues, as we reported earlier. From Libya, NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reports that what had looked like it might be a quick victory for opponents of Moammar Gadhafi is turning into what could be "a bitter, difficult battle."

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7:20am

Tue August 23, 2011
The Two-Way

Fighting Flares In Tripoli

Young boys on a dark street in Tripoli late last night (Aug. 22, 2011). Fighting flared again today in the Libyan capital.
Filippo Monteforte AFP/Getty Images

The situation in Libya remains very fluid. As NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro said on Morning Edition, there was "a stunning turn of events" on Monday.

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3:55pm

Mon August 22, 2011
The Two-Way

Gadhafi's Weapons Of Concern: Shoulder-Fired Missiles

As opposition forces have moved into Tripoli, they've gotten into some of the Iraqi military's weapons depots. But they haven't necessarily secured all the military hardware, leaving some of it vulnerable to those who might try to sell it on the black market.

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11:20am

Mon August 22, 2011
The Two-Way

Raise My Taxes? Not So Fast, Retired CEO Tells Warren Buffett

Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Here's one wealthy man's response to billionaire Warren Buffett's recent op-ed piece that made the case for raising taxes on the wealthy. Harvey Golub, former CEO of American Express, disagrees:

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8:00am

Mon August 22, 2011
The Two-Way

Libya: Latest News

Events are moving quickly in Libya, where over the weekend opposition forces entered Tripoli. They may be closing in on leader Moammar Gadhafi, though there's no certain word on his whereabouts.

NPR.org's constantly updated news story is here. And we'll be updating this post with developments. Hit your "refresh" button to be sure you're seeing our latest additions.

As we write this at 8 a.m. ET, here are some of the latest headlines:

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7:45am

Mon August 22, 2011
The Two-Way

Top Stories: Libya; Israel-Gaza; Strauss-Kahn; Hurricane Irene

Good morning.

The big breaking story of the day, so far, comes from Libya. Opposition fighters have started to take control of Tripoli, and may be closing in on Moammar Gadhafi. As we reported earlier, the sudden shift in momentum appears to have happened because the opposition has gotten better organized and NATO stepped up its air attacks.

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7:15am

Mon August 22, 2011
The Two-Way

Libya: Why Has The Tide Turned?

Opposition fighters in Tripoli earlier today (Aug. 22, 2011).
Filippo Monteforte AFP/Getty Images

The news that opposition fighters moved into Tripoli over the weekend and have begun to take control of the Libyan capital and perhaps close in on Moammar Gadhafi has raised this question (among others):

Libya's civil war has been going on for six months. Much of the time things have seemed to be at an impasse. What happened in recent days to change the picture?

Here's some of the reporting on that:

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3:15pm

Fri August 19, 2011
The Two-Way

Baseball's Clemens Should Be Tried Again, Prosecutors Argue

"Prosecutors in the Roger Clemens perjury case say they made an honest mistake in showing jurors inadmissible evidence and the baseball star should face another trial," The Associated Press reports.

Back in July, on the second day of proceedings, federal Judge Reggie Walton declared a mistrial. As NPR's Nina Totenberg reported:

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2:55pm

Fri August 19, 2011
The Two-Way

Urban Hero: NYC Bookseller Has Held Same Parking Spot For 11 Years

Charles Mysak sells books on a street corner. And his car (behind the stacks) stays parked right there.
Alden Peters

You just have to read a story with a headline like this:

"Parking 'squat' Bookseller stakes out same spot for 11 years."

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1:45pm

Fri August 19, 2011
The Two-Way

Indiana Stage Collapse Claims Sixth Person's Life

Sad news from the Indianapolis Star:

"Jennifer Haskell, 22, a senior at Ball State University, died this morning from injuries suffered in Saturday's stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair.

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11:50am

Fri August 19, 2011
The Two-Way

Detente Rules In China: Georgetown, Chinese Teams Make Up

Basketball players from Georgetown University and China's Bayi Rockets team traded punches during their game Thursday (Aug. 18, 2011) in Beiing.
Yangshizhonh-China Daily AFP/Getty Images

There's word from Voice of America this hour that members of the Georgetown University men's basketball team and players from China's professional Bayi Rockets club have "cleared up some of their differences ... a day after they fought on a basketball court in Beijing."

According to VOA:

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9:45am

Fri August 19, 2011
The Two-Way

Stocks Open Lower

In the first 15 minutes or so of trading on Wall Street, the stock market — as expected — headed south. But the decline was not precipitous. After initially falling about 100 points (around 1 percent), the Dow Jones industrial average recovered some and was off only around 50 points.

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9:15am

Fri August 19, 2011
The Two-Way

VIDEO: Third Haboob Of Summer Covers Phoenix In Sand And Dust

The area around Phoenix was hit by its third "haboob" of the summer last evening, as strong winds sent a huge cloud of sand and dust rolling over the area.

The Arizona Republic says that "blowing dust blanketed much of the Valley ... reducing visibility to less than a quarter-mile."

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8:30am

Fri August 19, 2011
The Two-Way

'West Memphis Three' Could Go Free

Three men who were convicted as teenagers in 1993 for the brutal murders of three young boys in West Memphis, Ark., may soon be released from prison.

According to The Commercial Appeal:

"The 'West Memphis Three' could be released as early as today under a pending deal between state prosecutors and defense attorneys, legal sources and relatives of victims said Thursday."

The newspaper adds that:

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7:55am

Fri August 19, 2011
The Two-Way

Yabba Dabba 'Doh! Truck Driver Tries To Use His Feet As Brakes

This option would not have occurred to us:

Wednesday evening in Roseville, Mich., a 24-year-old man who apparently knew his pickup truck's brakes weren't working got behind the wheel anyway and tried to drive home.

He attempted, Fred Flintstone-style, to use his feet as brakes.

As you can imagine, things didn't work out very well. Fortunately, no one was hurt. Vehicles were damaged, however. And the police got much of the mayhem on video.

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7:00am

Fri August 19, 2011
The Two-Way

Stock Futures Point Down; New Attacks In Afghanistan, Pakistan

Good morning.

After Thursday's sharp drops on Wall Street, lots of folks are wondering what's going to happen in the stock market today.

Well, according to Reuters: "Stock index futures pointed to a sharply weaker open for equities on Wall Street on Friday."

Translation: Expect a drop.

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