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
5:25 am
Thu September 15, 2011

Swiss Bank UBS Says Rogue Trader Caused $2 Billion Loss

Oli Scarff Getty Images

"Unauthorized trading" by one of its traders has led to a loss "in the range of $2 billion," Swiss banking giant UBS announced this morning.

He reportedly worked in the bank's London equities division, Larry Miller reports for NPR, and was arrested by authorities there early today "on suspicion of using his position to commit fraud."

According to UBS, none of its clients were affected by the loss.

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The Two-Way
12:55 pm
Wed September 14, 2011

Al Gore: It's An Honor To Be Attacked On Climate Change

"There's a long tradition of people who don't like a particular message turning to attack the person delivering the message," former Vice President Al Gore just said on NPR's Talk of the Nation.

That's why, the 2000 Democratic presidential nominee added, "I view it as an honor, really," to be the target of Republican jabs on the issue of climate change.

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The Two-Way
11:10 am
Wed September 14, 2011

Cats That Glow For AIDS Research Join List Of Animals That Shine

Glowing for science.
Mayo Clinic

Originally published on Wed September 14, 2011 11:12 am

A story that's been getting some attention the past day or so — that AIDS researchers at the Mayo Clinic have inserted genes into cats that make the animals glow green in the dark — sounded familiar.

Haven't researchers been doing this sort of thing for years? We wondered.

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The Two-Way
9:00 am
Wed September 14, 2011

'Wi-Fi Refugees' Are Moving To West Virginia To Escape Radio Waves

"Dozens of Americans who claim to have been made ill by Wi-Fi and mobile phones have flocked to the town of Green Bank, W.Va.," the BBC reports.

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The Two-Way
8:25 am
Wed September 14, 2011

Gulf Spill Blamed On Poor Management, Bad Cement Job, Other Missteps

"A key federal report blames poor management, key missteps and a faulty cement job by BP and others for the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history and the deaths of 11 rig workers," The Associated Press reports.

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The Two-Way
7:15 am
Wed September 14, 2011

Report: White House 'Tried To Rush' Decision On Solar Firm Loan

May 26, 2010: President Obama tours the Solyndra solar panel company with Executive VP of Engineering Ben Bierman.
Pool Getty Images

One of the scoops of the day, from The Washington Post:

"The Obama White House tried to rush federal reviewers for a decision on a nearly half-billion-dollar loan to the solar-panel manufacturer Solyndra so Vice President Biden could announce the approval at a September 2009 groundbreaking for the company's factory, newly obtained e-mails show."

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The Two-Way
6:38 am
Wed September 14, 2011

Retail Sales And Wholesale Prices Unchanged In August

A sharp drop in energy costs helped keep prices at the wholesale level unchanged in August vs. July, the Bureau of Labor Statistics just reported.

According to BLS, while food costs went up 1.1 percent, energy costs fell 1 percent.

Still, over the 13 months ended Aug. 31 the producer price index rose 6.5 percent, BLS added.

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The Two-Way
6:10 am
Wed September 14, 2011

Release Of American Hikers Not Imminent, Iran's Judiciary Says

The limits of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's authority appear to be showing again with word from that country's official news outlet that:

"Iran's Judiciary has rejected recent media reports on the imminent release of the two American nationals that were convicted of spying on behalf of the United States."

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The Two-Way
5:55 am
Wed September 14, 2011

Democrats Suffer 'Demoralizing' Defeats In New York And Nevada

"Republicans pulled off an upset in Tuesday's special election in New York City to replace former congressman Anthony Weiner," NPR's Joel Rose reports. "Bob Turner claimed victory over Democrat David Weprin."

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The Two-Way
5:30 am
Wed September 14, 2011

Inside Kabul Siege Site:Attackers' Bodies, Walls Riddled With Bullet Holes

Afghan Security personnel stand above the body of one attacker, on the 10th floor of the building in Kabul from which RPGs and other weapons were fired.
David Gilkey NPR

An attack on the U.S. embassy and other buildings in the heart of Kabul's diplomatic district that lasted 20 hours is now over.

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The Two-Way
2:15 pm
Tue September 13, 2011

What A Year: Disasters Have Been Declared In All But Two States

Volunteer firefighter Jason Collard at a wildfire in Strawn, Texas, in April.
Tom Pennington Getty Images

Partisans on both sides continue to argue over whether to put more money into the coffers of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is running short of cash because there have been so many tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters this year.

The political bickering is nothing new, of course.

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The Two-Way
10:50 am
Tue September 13, 2011

Al-Qaida Is Weakened, But Remains A 'Serious Threat,' Petraeus Says

CIA Director David Petraeus (right) and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testifying earlier today (Sept. 13, 2011).
Mark Wilson Getty Images

"The CIA assesses that, 10 years after the 9/11 attacks, the United States continues to face a serious threat from al-Qaida and its worldwide network of affiliates and sympathizers," even though the terrorist organization "has been weakened," CIA Director David Petraeus told Congress today in his first testimony since taking over the top job at the intelligence agency.

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The Two-Way
8:35 am
Tue September 13, 2011

VIDEO: Good Samaritans Lift Burning Car To Free Trapped Man

People rushed to help. They lifted the car so that the motorcyclist could be pulled free.
Salt Lake Tribune

"A motorcyclist who was dragged beneath a car Monday in Logan [Utah] was rescued by bystanders who helped police lift the burning car and pull the man out from under the wreckage," The Salt Lake Tribune writes.

It adds that the 21-year-old man, Brandon Wright, "was reported to be in critical condition Monday night."

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The Two-Way
8:15 am
Tue September 13, 2011

Poverty Rate Spiked To 15.1 Percent Last Year, Highest Since 1993

"The nation's official poverty rate in 2010 was 15.1 percent, up from 14.3 percent in 2009," the Census Bureau just reported.

It adds that this is "the third consecutive annual increase in the poverty rate. There were 46.2 million people in poverty in 2010, up from 43.6 million in 2009 — the fourth consecutive annual increase and the largest number in the 52 years for which poverty estimates have been published."

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The Two-Way
7:35 am
Tue September 13, 2011

Reminder: Put Some Clothes On, Google Street View May Be Coming By

That blur in front of the door is a very naked woman in Miami.
Google Street View

A Google Street View snapshot of a woman in Miami who wasn't leaving anything to the imagination when she stepped out her door is a fresh reminder that if you don't want the world to see you in your birthday suit, put something on before

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The Two-Way
6:40 am
Tue September 13, 2011

Grieving Dad In Touching Sept. 11 Photo 'Was Just Honoring Rob'

Robert Peraza, who lost his son Robert David Peraza, pauses at his son's name at the North Pool of the 9/11 Memorial at the site of the World Trade Center.
Justin Lane/pool Getty Images

It was perhaps the most touching photo among thousands of poignant images taken on Sunday at the 9/11 Memorial in New York City.

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The Two-Way
5:50 am
Tue September 13, 2011

'Sparks Flew' At Republican Debate; Perry Took Most Of The Fire

Former Massachusetts Gov Mitt Romney (left) and Texas Gov. Rick Perry during Monday's debate in Tampa.
Win McNamee Getty Images

"Sparks flew right away" Monday night at the latest Republican presidential debate, NPR's Don Gonyea reported earlier on Morning Edition.

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The Two-Way
5:20 am
Tue September 13, 2011

RPGs, Gunfire 'Raining Down' On Diplomatic District In Kabul

Attackers set off at least three explosions in the center of Kabul's diplomatic district today and were "raining down rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons fire across both the U.S. embassy compound" and the headquarters of the international security force, NPR's Quil Lawrence reports from the Afghan capital.

The BBC says "gunmen are holed up in a partly-built high-rise building nearby, exchanging sporadic gunfire with police."

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The Two-Way
5:00 am
Tue September 13, 2011

American Hikers Held By Iran To Be Freed 'In Two Days,' Ahmadinejad Says

Two Americans who have been held in Iran since July 2009 will be released "in two days," President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has told NBC News.

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The Two-Way
1:25 pm
Mon September 12, 2011

Newly Discovered Planet: Hot, Muggy And (Maybe) Liveable

An artist's impression of HD 85512 b.
European Southern Observatory

Sort of like Washington, D.C., in the summer:

"It would feel like a steam bath — hot, sticky and beyond uncomfortable."

That's how The Associated Press describes the way scientists are describing "HD 85512 b ... a newly discovered planet about 35 light-years from Earth in the constellation Vela."

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The Two-Way
11:15 am
Mon September 12, 2011

Obama Chooses Republicans' Words Carefully To Say They're Playing Politics

President Obama and Vice President Biden in the Rose Garden of the White House earlier today (Sept. 12, 2011).
Alex Wong Getty Images

At the White House today, President Obama criticized what he said is a view among some Republicans that they don't want to work with him on passing a jobs bill — even when many of the things he's proposing are measures they've supported in the past — because it wouldn't be good for the GOP politically:

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The Two-Way
11:00 am
Mon September 12, 2011

Rumsfeld Calls Paul Krugman's Sept. 11 Column 'Repugnant'

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, in March 2011.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

"After reading Krugman's repugnant piece on 9/11, I cancelled my subscription to the New York Times this AM."

That's the reaction on Twitter today from former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to "The Years of Shame" blog post published Sunday by New York Times columnist and Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman.

In his post, Krugman argues that:

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The Two-Way
9:40 am
Mon September 12, 2011

Bank Of America Says 'Phase I' Of Cost-Cutting Will Eliminate 30,000 Jobs

Upcoming job cuts at Bank of America will reduce its payroll "by approximately 30,000 jobs over the next few years," the company just announced.

The financial giant describes the reductions as part of "Phase I" in its reorganization. "Phase II" covering "businesses and operations that were not reviewed in Phase I," will begin in October.

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The Two-Way
9:10 am
Mon September 12, 2011

Sorry, What Did You Say? SpongeBob Is Bad For Kids' Brains?

SpongeBob Squarepants.
Bryan Bedder Getty Images for Nickelodeon

The good folks over at the Shots blog will have more to report about this, but we just couldn't wait to pass on word that:

"The cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants is in hot water from a study suggesting that watching just nine minutes of that program can cause short-term attention and learning problems in 4-year-olds." (The Associated Press)

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The Two-Way
8:25 am
Mon September 12, 2011

In Syria: 2,600 Dead So Far, U.N. Official Says

At least 2,600 people have been killed in Syria since the start of protests there in mid-March, the United Nations' High Commissioner for Human Rights reported today.

Navi Pillay said in Geneva that the estimate is based on information from "reliable sources on the ground."

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The Two-Way
7:35 am
Mon September 12, 2011

Russian Hockey Player Dies; Was Only Member Of Team To Survive Crash

Alexander Galimov.
AFP/Getty Images

"The only member of a top Russian hockey team to survive a plane crash that killed 44 people died Monday of his injuries in a Moscow hospital," The Canadian Press and The Hockey News report.

Alexander Galimov, 26, "died of the severe burns that covered about 90 percent of his body," the news outlets add. He played the forward position.

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The Two-Way
7:15 am
Mon September 12, 2011

Pawlenty Endorses Romney; GOP Contenders Debate Tonight

Originally published on Mon September 12, 2011 7:19 am

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, the first major candidate to drop out of the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, has endorsed his one-time rival Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts.

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The Two-Way
7:00 am
Mon September 12, 2011

Tracking Device On 'Happy Feet' The Penguin Is Silent

Back in June, Happy Feet showed up on Peka Peka Beach in New Zealand.
Richard Gill AP

Originally published on Mon September 12, 2011 7:03 am

It looks like we may never know if Happy Feet the wayward penguin makes it home.

"The satellite transmitter that was attached to Happy Feet has not been received since Friday 9 September 2011, NZ time," report the analysts at Sirtrack, which had been following the little guy's progress.

"This leads to the conclusion that either the satellite transmitter has detached or an unknown event has prevented Happy Feet from resurfacing," they add.

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