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
2:27 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

VIDEO: Dalai Lama Prays Senators Will 'Act With A Pure Mind'

The Dalai Lama delivers the opening prayer Thursday at the U.S. Senate.
C-SPAN.org

The U.S. Senate's opening prayer on Thursday was delivered by the Dalai Lama — in his words, "a simple Buddhist monk."

The Tibetan spiritual leader has been in the U.S. for several weeks and his itinerary has included a White House meeting with President Obama, over the strong objections of China. As The Associated Press puts it:

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The Two-Way
1:42 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Obama Condemns Russian 'Intervention' In Ukraine

In a news conference about the situation in Ukraine, President Obama said Thursday that the world is "well beyond the days when borders can be withdrawn over the heads of democratic leaders."
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 6:06 am

Referring to Russia's actions in Crimea as an "intervention" and saying the U.S. will continue to "mobilize the international community to condemn this violation of international law," President Obama just delivered some of his most extensive remarks to date about the crisis in Ukraine.

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The Two-Way
12:04 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Claims And Counterclaims Fly As CIA And Senate Exchange Fire

The seal of the CIA at the agency's headquarters in Virginia.
Greg E. Mathieson Sr. MAI/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 1:59 pm

The Central Intelligence Agency and one of the congressional panels that oversees its work, the Senate Intelligence Committee, are in what looks to be an increasingly bitter battle over just who's been behaving improperly.

McClatchyDC and The New York Times have been rolling out stories this week about claims that the CIA may have been monitoring the work of the committee's staffers in recent years and that some of those congressional aides may have left CIA headquarters with classified documents that shouldn't leave that secure facility.

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The Two-Way
9:02 am
Thu March 6, 2014

UPDATE: Massachusetts Bans 'Upskirt' Photos

The groping of women and snapping of upskirt photos is a problem on mass transit systems around the world. East Japan Railway is among those systems that have created women-only cars to deal with the problem.
Yuriko Nakao Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 2:29 pm

Update at 11:50 a.m. ET, March 7: Governor Signs New Ban:

"Two days after the state's highest court sparked outrage when it ruled that state law allows people to take such photos, Governor Deval Patrick signed a bill today to ban the practice, known as 'upskirting,' " the Boston Globe writes.

So the controversy we first posted about Thursday has led to quick action.

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The Two-Way
7:45 am
Thu March 6, 2014

'We Are Ready To Protect Our Country,' Ukrainian Leader Says

Demonstrators carried a Russian flag during a rally this week in the western Crimean city of Yevpatoria.
Genya Savilov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 1:25 pm

We're updating this post as the day continues.

While conceding that his nation can't come close to the military power of Russia, the interim prime minister of Ukraine said Thursday that "we are ready to protect our country" if Russia does not stop its "military aggression" in Crimea.

Arseniy Yatsenyuk told reporters in Brussels, Belgium, that the presence of Russian forces in that autonomous region of his nation "is unacceptable in the 21st century."

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The Two-Way
1:13 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Putin Reportedly Joins List Of Nobel Peace Prize Nominees

Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Alexey Nikolsky AFP/Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin is among the 278 nominees for a 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, according to Peace Research Institute Oslo, an institution that closely tracks the Nobel committee's work.

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The Two-Way
11:44 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Ex-IRS Official Invokes 5th Amendment Again, Then Things Get Hot

Former IRS official Lois Lerner raises her hand as she's sworn in Wednesday at the start of a House Oversight & Government Reform Committee hearing. She declined to answer questions posed by Chairman Darrell Issa, invoking her Fifth Amendment right.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 12:34 pm

As she's done before, the woman at the center of the political storm over the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of some conservative groups from 2010 into 2012 invoked her Fifth Amendment right not to answer questions during a brief appearance before a congressional committee on Wednesday.

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The Two-Way
9:47 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Don't Worry, They Say, 100-Foot Asteroid Will Miss Us Today

A NASA artist's illustration depicts an asteroid belt around a star that the space agency says is "the same age and size as our Sun."
NASA/JPL-Caltech

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 11:56 am

Don't say you weren't warned.

But also don't worry, the experts say.

As we wrote last month when an asteroid measuring about 900 feet long passed near enough to Earth to generate headlines about a "close encounter," more rocks are always headed our way.

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The Two-Way
8:58 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Job Growth Was Weak Again In February, ADP Survey Shows

The scene at a job fair last year in Emeryville, Calif.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Private employers added only 139,000 jobs to their payrolls in February and job growth in January was even less than previously thought, according to the latest ADP National Employment Report.

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The Two-Way
7:58 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Overruled: Gov. Says Kentucky Will Appeal Same-Sex Marriage Order

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear
Bill Greenblatt UPI/Landov

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 9:54 am

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear says his state will hire outside counsel to appeal a federal judge's order to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages.

The governor's announcement follows word from the state's attorney general, Jack Conway, that his office will not pursue such an appeal.

Both men are Democrats.

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The Two-Way
7:47 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Time For Tense Negotiations In Ukraine, Kerry Says

Armed men in unmarked military uniforms — who witnesses believe are Russian troops, but who Russian leaders say are "local self-defense" forces — stand outside the territory of a Ukrainian military unit in the Crimean village of Perevalnoye.
Maxim Shipenkov EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 7:15 am

This post was updated at 5:10 p.m. ET.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said all sides agree that the crisis on the Crimean Peninsula must be resolved through dialogue, but he acknowledged there has yet to be one-on-one discussions between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart.

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The Two-Way
2:18 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

'12 Years A Slave' Leads To Correction Of 161-Year-Old Story

In Twelve Years A Slave, Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Solomon Northup, who was kidnapped and sold into slavery.
Jaap Buitendijk Fox Searchlight Pictures

Here's something of another victory for new media over old media.

The New York Times on Tuesday corrected a 161-year-old report about the enslavement of Solomon Northup, after a Twitter user pointed out that the story had twice misspelled Northup's name — including in the headline.

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The Two-Way
12:54 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Obama's $3.9 Trillion Budget Would Produce $564 Billion Deficit

Copies of President Obama's proposed budget for fiscal 2015, after they were delivered to the Senate Budget Committee on Tuesday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 1:53 pm

As expected, President Obama on Tuesday unveiled a $3.9 trillion budget plan for fiscal 2015 that his number crunchers say would produce a $564 billion deficit.

The gap between spending and revenue, while large, would be down from more than $744 billion this fiscal year and a record $1.4 trillion in 2009 — a fiscal year that began when President George W. Bush was still in office. Since then, deficits during the Obama years have topped $1 trillion three times.

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The Two-Way
11:20 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Kentucky Won't Appeal Order To Recognize Same-Sex Marriages

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, pictured in January 2013, said that appealing the judge's order "would be defending discrimination."
Roger Alford AP

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 12:40 pm

"Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway will not appeal a federal judge's order that the state must recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages," NPR member station WFPL reports from Louisville.

"From a constitutional perspective, Judge Heyburn got it right," Conway said in announcing his decision on Tuesday, the station adds.

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