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
9:45 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Good Work On Those 'Feeli The Finnish Reindeer' Lyrics

His antlers are so bright.
Reindeer Herders' Association (of Finland)

We asked and Two-Way readers came through.

The challenge:

Set the story of "Feeli the Finnish Reindeer" and his shiny antlers to the tune of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."

The responses in our comments thread:

Feeli the Finnish reindeer
Had antlers that didn't glow.
And drivers didn't see them
As right over them they'd mow.

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The Two-Way
7:04 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Breakthrough? Ukrainian President, Opposition Leaders Reach Deal

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych (right) and opposition leader Vitali Klitschko shake hands Friday after signing an agreement that diplomats hope will end the bloodshed in Kiev.
Tim Brakemeier EPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 6:52 pm

We're updating this post as the day continues.

In what could be a major move toward ending the violence in the streets of his capital, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and leaders of the anti-government opposition reached agreement Friday on a deal to hold new elections, form a unity government and restore a constitution drafted in 2004.

Some details have yet to be spelled out. But the BBC sums up the news this way:

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The Two-Way
1:57 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

These Reindeer Really Do Shine, And It's For Their Own Good

His antlers are so bright.
Reindeer Herders' Association (of Finland)

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 10:23 am

Feeli the Finnish reindeer,

Had some very shiny horns ...

OK, we'll stop there.

Here's the news:

"Herders in Lapland are spraying their reindeer with reflective paint to help drivers see them in the dark," the BBC writes.

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The Two-Way
9:06 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Dip In Weekly Jobless Claims Seen As Sign Of Better Times Ahead

As the weather warms, will more signs such as this pop up? Economists say the latest data on claims for unemployment benefits may signal that better times are ahead.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 10:37 am

There were only 3,000 fewer first-time claims filed for jobless benefits last week, but the slight decline is being seen as another sign that the nation's labor market will gain some strength once spring arrives.

The Employment and Training Administration said Thursday that 336,000 applications were submitted last week, versus 339,000 the week before.

That means the pace of claims is still running about where it's been since late 2011.

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The Two-Way
8:24 am
Thu February 20, 2014

In Venezuela, Another Beauty Queen's Death Adds To Anger

This photo, which witnesses say shows Venezuelan beauty queen Genesis Carmona being evacuated from the scene of a protest on Tuesday, is ricocheting around the Web. She died after being shot.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 11:40 am

There's a sad symmetry to the news from Venezuela, where anti-government protests in recent weeks have been fueled in part by outrage over the shooting death of a beauty queen — a death that underscored that nation's struggle to control violent crime.

One of the five people killed this week during protests against the socialist government of President Nicolas Maduro, it's now being reported, was another young beauty queen.

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The Two-Way
7:06 am
Thu February 20, 2014

World's Outrage Grows As Death Toll Rises In Kiev

An injured man is carried away Thursday after more clashes between anti-government protesters and police in Kiev.
Yannis Behrakis Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 7:46 am

  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports from Kiev

This post is being updated as the day continues.

Just hours after a truce was declared, deadly clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces broke out again in Ukraine's capital.

Read more
The Two-Way
1:11 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Jailed Protest Leader Urges Venezuelans To Keep Demonstrating

Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez (in white shirt) as he turned himself over to police on Tuesday in Caracas.
Cristian Hernandez Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 2:10 pm

In a video released Wednesday, imprisoned protest leader Leopoldo Lopez urges his supporters in Venezuela to continue pressing for the resignation of President Nicolas Maduro, Reuters reports from Caracas.

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The Two-Way
11:10 am
Wed February 19, 2014

U.K. Court OKs Detention Of Reporter Glenn Greenwald's Partner

Glenn Greenwald, left, and David Miranda after Miranda's arrival at Rio de Janeiro's International Airport on Aug. 19, 2013. Miranda had been detained for nine hours at London's Heathrow Airport. Authorities questioned him about Greenwald's reporting of the "NSA leaks."
Ricardo Moraes Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 11:26 am

British authorities were within their rights to detain journalist Glenn Greenwald's partner for nine hours last August and to seize an external hard drive containing classified documents leaked by Edward Snowden, three high court judges in the U.K. have ruled.

David Miranda, who lives with Greenwald in Brazil, was stopped at London's Heathrow Airport last August as he was making his way home from Europe.

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The Edge
9:45 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Finnished! Russian Hockey Team Bounced Out Of Olympics

Russian fans who gathered in Sochi's Olympic Park react with dismay as they watch a broadcast of the ice hockey match between Russia and Finland.
Shamil Zhumatov Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 7:33 pm

"Uskotko ihmeisiin?"

No, this isn't exactly a "do you believe in miracles?" bit of history for Finland, but its men's hockey team just produced a moment-to-remember at the Sochi Games.

Finland beat Russia 3-1, bouncing the home team out of the tournament.

As NPR's Robert Smith has reported, there was tremendous pressure on Alex Ovechkin and his Russian teammates to win gold in Sochi.

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The Two-Way
8:56 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Nun Who Broke Into Nuclear Complex Gets 35-Month Jail Term

Anti-nuclear activists (from left) Gregory Boertje-Obed, Sister Megan Rice and Michael Walli, pictured Feb. 6 in Knoxville, Tenn., were sentenced to prison terms on Tuesday for the 2012 break-in at Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge.
Linda Davidson The Washington Post/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 11:15 am

"An 84-year-old Catholic nun was sentenced Tuesday to nearly three years in prison for breaking into a nuclear weapons complex and defacing a bunker holding bomb-grade uranium, a demonstration that exposed serious security flaws at the Tennessee plant," The Associated Press writes from Knoxville, Tenn.

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The Edge
7:31 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Team USA's Ted Ligety Wins Gold In Giant Slalom

Ted Ligety of Team USA celebrates Wednesday after winning the men's giant slalom event at the Sochi Winter Games.
Hans Klaus Techt EPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 8:10 am

Ted Ligety is now only the second American to ever earn two Olympic gold medals in Alpine skiing after finishing first Wednesday in the giant slalom at the Sochi Winter Games.

As USA Today writes:

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The Two-Way
7:05 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Negotiations In Ukraine Under Close Scrutiny After Bloodshed

Riot police officers stand in Kiev's Independence Square on Wednesday as smoke rises from protesters' burning barricades.
Alexey Furman EPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 11:13 pm

  • On 'Morning Edition': David Stern of the BBC speaks from Kiev
This post was updated at 10:15 p.m. ET

The U.S. and the European Union are closely watching Ukraine amid news that the government was starting negotiations with opposition leaders to end the violence, which has left more than two dozen people dead since Tuesday.

A statement on the Ukrainian presidential website said:

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The Two-Way
2:39 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Soldiers' 'Fun' Photo With Flag-Draped Coffin Sparks Outrage

The photo that has offended many. The soldier responsible for posting it on Instagram has been suspended and an investigation has begun.
Wisconsin National Guard Facebook page

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 2:05 pm

Two photos posted on Instagram by a member of the Wisconsin National Guard have caused an uproar on social media.

In one, 14 soldiers are seen joking around in front of what authorities say was an empty coffin draped with the American flag. The caption with that image reads, in part: "We put the FUN in funeral."

In the other, the soldier who put the pictures on the Web is seen in uniform. The caption with that photo reads: "It's so damn cold out....WHY have a funeral outside !? Somebody's getting a jacked up flag."

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The Two-Way
1:09 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Obama Wants Tougher Fuel Standards For Big Trucks

Exhausts rises from a truck in California last September.
Mike Blake Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 2:02 pm

President Obama said Tuesday that he has told the Environmental Protection Agency to work with the Department of Transportation on a second round of regulations to improve the fuel efficiency of medium- and heavy-duty trucks. The goal: reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions they contribute to the environment.

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The Two-Way
11:49 am
Tue February 18, 2014

A Big Asteroid Just Flew By, And Guess What? More Are Coming

NASA/JPL-Caltech

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 3:18 pm

An asteroid that's about the size of three football fields flew past Earth on Monday, coming within 2.1 million miles. That was near enough to generate headlines such as this, from Reuters: "Earth marks close encounter with enormous asteroid."

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