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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12:40pm

Wed April 13, 2011
The Two-Way

VIDEO: The Scene As Soldiers Captured Ivory Coast's Gbagbo

It appears that when soldiers loyal to Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognized president of Ivory Coast, captured strongman Laurent Gbagbo on Monday, they did what they could to protect him against possible retaliation from the people he had ruled.

As you can see in this "raw video" posted by The Associated Press, they put Gbagbo in a helmet and protective vest before taking him outside to a waiting vehicle.

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11:45am

Wed April 13, 2011
The Two-Way

What Do You Call Paying Someone For A Date?

The founder of WhatsYourPrice.com says he's not running an escort service. And he's not promoting prostitution.

No, Brandon Wade says he's bringing people together — people who are willing to pay to go on a date with someone "attractive" and people who are willing to take money to go on a date with ... well, the not-so-attractive.

Denver's KDVR-TV has more.

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10:40am

Wed April 13, 2011
The Two-Way

AP Kills Story Based On Fake GE Press Release About Company's Taxes

Thirty-five minutes after reporting that "facing criticism over the amount of taxes it pays, General Electric announced it will repay its entire $3.2 billion tax refund to the US Treasury on April 18," The Associated Press just moved this "urgent kill" bulletin:

"The Associated Press has withdrawn its story about General Electric repaying its entire $3.2 billion tax refund to the US Treasury on April 18. The story was based on a press release that GE says was a hoax."

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9:30am

Wed April 13, 2011
The Two-Way

On Long Island: Divers To Search For More Bodies In Coastal Waters

With the remains of as many as 10 people discovered so far, and at least 4 of them suspected to be victims of a serial killer, police on New York's Long Island are taking their investigation underwater today, Newsday reports.

The remains have been showing up along a stretch of beach that straddles the Nassau and Suffolk county lines along the Atlantic.

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9:10am

Wed April 13, 2011
The Two-Way

Prosecutor Goes To Mubarak's Hospital Bed To Resume Questioning

After Tuesday's dramatic start of the investigation of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his family, the prosecutor has now resumed questioning the 82-year-old Mubarak at his hospital bedside, NPR's Deborah Amos reports from Cairo.

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8:35am

Wed April 13, 2011
The Two-Way

Justin Bieber Disputes Reports About Meeting With Israeli Prime Minister

Combine a teen singing sensation and Mideast politics and you get a media feeding frenzy.

News outlets in Israel are reporting that pop idol Justin Bieber was supposed to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem today — but isn't because of a disagreement over whether Israeli children who live in places that have been hit by rockets fired from Palestinian territory in the Gaza strip could also attend.

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4:15pm

Tue April 12, 2011
The Two-Way

'Eagle Cam' Update: All Are OK After An Owl-Related Scare Last Night

When we checked back this afternoon on how things are going with the pair of bald eagles, and their three eaglets that have captivated folks around the world thanks to the Decorah Eagle Cam, we saw that there was a lot of talk in the comments section about an owl "attack" last night.

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3:25pm

Tue April 12, 2011
The Two-Way

He's Too Cool For School: BYU Asks Jimmer Fredette Not To Go To Class

It's taken a few days to get noticed, but a story posted Friday on the website of the Glens Falls (N.Y.) Post-Star is turning heads today because it's got a classic man-bites-dog kind of feel.

Brigham Young University has asked basketball star Jimmer Fredette NOT to attend classes, the young man's father says. He's just too popular — students keep asking him for autographs and pictures.

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3:05pm

Tue April 12, 2011
The Two-Way

Gadhafi Nurse: Generous To Her, 'Like Stalin' To His People

"Papik," the nickname his nurses use for Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, "was always more than generous to us," 24-year-old Oksana Balinskaya writes for Newsweek.

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1:40pm

Tue April 12, 2011
The Two-Way

NASA Picks The Space Shuttles' New Homes

NASA just announced that when they're all formally retired:

-- Space shuttle Atlantis will go to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

-- The California Science Center in Los Angeles will be the new home for space shuttle Endeavour.

-- The Smithsonian's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va., (just outside Washington, D.C.) will get Discovery.

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1:25pm

Tue April 12, 2011
The Two-Way

2011 Webby Nominations Are Out

The nominees have been chosen, so it's time to vote for the 15th annual Webby Awards from The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.

Go here to cast your ballot.

The Webby folks note that:

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12:55pm

Tue April 12, 2011
The Two-Way

Music Break: A Little Jethro Tull In Space

While we wait for official word (which should come shortly) about which museums will get the space shuttles when they're retired, here's two minutes of music that might make other old rockers like us feel a little nostalgic.

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12:40pm

Tue April 12, 2011
The Two-Way

Mubarak In Hospital

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is being treated at a hospital in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, The Associated Press and Reuters report.

Neither wire service has information about why the 82-year-old Mubarak was hospitalized, although the AP notes that "near the end of his rule, he had been suffering from a number of health problems and had undergone gallbladder surgery."

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12:05pm

Tue April 12, 2011
The Two-Way

The Flip Flops: Smartphones Helped To Kill The Little Video Camera

Two years after paying $590 million to buy Pure Digital Technologies and its Flip video camera business, Cisco Systems is killing the Flip brand altogether.

It is, The Wall Street Journal says, "an admission that [Cisco's] multiyear campaign to build a consumer brand has largely failed."

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11:00am

Tue April 12, 2011
The Two-Way

Two U.S. Troops Reportedly Killed By Drone-Fired Missile

The Pentagon says it is looking into reports from NBC News, the Los Angeles Times and some other news outlets that two American troops — "a U.S. Marine reservist and a Navy corpsman," according to NBC — were killed in Afghanistan last week by "friendly fire" from an American drone flying overhead.

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10:34am

Tue April 12, 2011
The Two-Way

Reports: Pakistan Wants CIA To Reduce Its Presence

A visit this week by Pakistan's spy chief, the head of that country's Inter-Services Intelligence agency, to CIA headquarters in Virginia has produced some interesting media reports about relations between the two countries' intelligence agencies.

According to The New York Times:

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9:55am

Tue April 12, 2011
The Two-Way

'Solemn' Start To Civil War Ceremonies

Two beams of light shone into the sky before dawn this morning at South Carolina's Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired 150 years ago today.

The State says "the beams angled in different directions, signifying the directions taken by the Union and the Confederacy." The newspaper says it was a "solemn" beginning to the ceremony at the site.

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9:25am

Tue April 12, 2011
The Two-Way

'Birther' Issue? Time 'To Put That To Bed,' Obama's Sister Says

Potential Republican presidential contender Donald Trump has been talking about it a lot lately, so stories about those who still insist there are questions about whether President Obama was born in Hawaii have been back in the news.

The president's half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, says it's time for such talk to stop.

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8:35am

Tue April 12, 2011
The Two-Way

The Devil Is In The Details: Budget Cuts Softened By 'Accounting Gimmicks'

As we learn more about just where the $38 billion in fiscal year 2011 federal budget cuts will come from, news stories are making it appear that the spending reductions will be less historic than both the White House and congressional leaders from both parties have been advertising.

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8:00am

Tue April 12, 2011
The Two-Way

Iman Al-Obeidi: 'I Want My Freedom'

Iman al-Obeidi has now had the chance to speak with journalists — without officials from Moammar Gadhafi's regime listening in — about the rapes and torture she says she endured at the hands of men loyal to Gadhafi.

NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, accompanied by a correspondent from The Associated Press, interviewed Obeidi in Tripoli on Monday and reported about the conversation on Morning Edition today.

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4:15pm

Mon April 11, 2011
The Two-Way

GOP's Mitt Romney Is Officially Exploring Another Presidential Run

Originally published on Mon April 11, 2011 5:04 pm

We'll leave it to Frank James over at It's All Politics to follow all the ins and outs of the 2012 presidential campaign.

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4:00pm

Mon April 11, 2011
The Two-Way

'Newsweek' Offers A More 'Measured' View Of Rep. Giffords' Recovery

For those looking for an update on the condition of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords as she continues to recover from the gunshot wound to the head she suffered on Jan. 8, Newsweek and The Daily Beast report that while her progress has made for "an ongoing good-news story," there's reason to be cautious:

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3:25pm

Mon April 11, 2011
The Two-Way

Key Parts Of Arizona Immigration To Remain On Hold

A lower court's injunction that blocks parts of Arizona's controversial immigration law from going into effect was upheld today by a federal appeals court.

The Arizona Republic writes that "the ruling comes almost a year after Gov. Jan Brewer [R] signed the nation's toughest immigration law into effect and five months after the appeals court was asked to consider overturning the injunction."

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1:30pm

Mon April 11, 2011
The Two-Way

Odd Photo Of The Day: 'Star Wars' Fans And Civil War Reenactors

Originally published on Mon April 11, 2011 8:46 pm

Civil War re-enactors and Star Wars fans at the Ohio Statehouse on Sunday (April 10 , 2011).
Jeff Hinckley The Columbus Dispatch

We will, we promise, have plenty of Civil War-related posts in coming months about its 150th anniversary and the impact that war had on this nation.

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12:30pm

Mon April 11, 2011
The Two-Way

Deaths Reported From Subway Explosion In Belarus

There's been an explosion at a subway station in the Belarusian capital of Minsk today, and it's being reported by RIA Novosti and other news outlets with correspondents there that some people were killed.

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11:30am

Mon April 11, 2011
The Two-Way

If April 11, 1954 Was So Dull, Why Do We Keep Talking About It?

Coming into work this morning we heard Morning Edition's Renee Montagne say that April 11, 1954, according to a British computer scientist, was "the most uneventful day of the 20th century" because nothing much happened on that date.

That sounded familiar. And, sure enough, we blogged about that very claim last November, when All Things Considered talked about it.

Which makes us wonder:

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10:20am

Mon April 11, 2011
The Two-Way

With Muscular Moves, Sarkozy Aims To Define An Independent France

French fighter jets took a lead role in the attacks on Moammar Gadhafi forces in Libya.

French forces have attacked soldiers loyal to Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo, in a bid to bring that country's violent political stalemate to a conclusion.

What is behind this push by France to assert itself?

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9:45am

Mon April 11, 2011
The Two-Way

As French Ban On Veils Goes Into Effect, Some Women Defy The Law

"France's new ban on Islamic face veils was met with a burst of defiance Monday," The Associated Press reports from Paris, "as several women appeared veiled in front of Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral and two were detained for taking part in an unauthorized protest."

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9:00am

Mon April 11, 2011
The Two-Way

'Somebody Was Looking Out' For People In Iowa Town Crushed By Tornado

"At least 10 tornadoes took their best swipe at northwest Iowa on Saturday," The Des Moines Register writes this morning. And the one that hit the town of Mapleton was particularly powerful.

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8:30am

Mon April 11, 2011
The Two-Way

Opposition Skeptical Of African Union-Brokered Ceasefire Deal In Libya

As NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reports this morning from Tripoli, leaders of the African Union say they've put together a "road map" to end the fighting in Libya — and that Moammar Gadhafi has agreed to their plan.

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