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
6:43 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Once Again, North Korea Fires Missiles To Send Message

In Pyongyang, North Korea, last July, this short-range missile was among the military hardware on parade.
Kyodo/Landov

"North Korea fired four projectiles believed to be short-range ballistic missiles off its southeast coast Thursday," South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reports, citing a "South Korean defense ministry official" as its source.

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The Two-Way
6:10 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Ukraine Crisis: New Government Takes Shape As Crimea Simmers

Flags fly outside the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol on Thursday during a rally by pro-Russian protesters. Gunmen seized government buildings in the city.
David Mdzinarishvili Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 12:58 pm

  • On the NPR Newscast: Peter Kenyon reports from Kiev
We're adding updates throughout this post as the day continues.

Tensions continue to rise in Ukraine, where months of public protests led last week to the downfall of President Viktor Yanukovych's government. His opponents are now installing pro-Western ministers to replace the pro-Russian leaders who worked for Yanukovych. The interim government is expected to be in charge at least until new elections can be held, perhaps in late May.

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The Two-Way
1:03 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Killers Sentenced In Hacking Death Of British Soldier

The victim: Fusilier Lee Rigby.
U.K. Ministry of Defense

One of the two men who hacked to death a British soldier on a London street in May 2013 was sentenced Wednesday to spend the rest of his life in prison. The other was given a minimum term of 45 years.

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The Two-Way
11:16 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Killers Were Tiny, Victims Were Huge At Chile's Whale Graveyard

The fossilized remains of a whale that washed up on a shore in what's now Chile more than 5 million years ago.
Vince Rossi Smithsonian Institution

Since construction workers discovered dozens of fossils along a highway in Chile in 2011, one question has preoccupied researchers:

What killed the whales, seals and other creatures that ended up there more than 5 million years ago?

Writing in Proceedings of The Royal Society B, scientists from the Smithsonian Institution and universities in the U.S. and Chile say the culprits were among the smallest possible killers: "Algal toxins."

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The Two-Way
8:54 am
Wed February 26, 2014

North Korea's Still In The Dark, As Photos From Space Show

This image was taken Jan. 30 by astronauts aboard the International Space Station. North Korea is the large dark patch in the middle. The only significant light is from its capital, Pyongyang. The next photo adds reference points.
NASA.gov

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 10:55 am

Pictures really do tell the story about how far behind economically North Korea is compared with its neighbors.

In 2002, as Eyder has said, then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld used a satellite photo to illustrate how in-the-dark the communist nation was.

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The Two-Way
8:02 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Benedict Dismisses Renewed Rumors About Why He Left The Papacy

Pope Francis, left, and former Pope Benedict XVI at a Vatican ceremony on Saturday. It was their first public appearance together in the year since Benedict resigned.
L'Osservatore Romano AP

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 9:40 am

Almost one year to the day since Benedict XVI stepped down as spiritual leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, the former pope has issued his first public comment on recurring rumors in the Italian media that he didn't resign of his own will.

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The Two-Way
6:58 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Putin Flexes Moscow's Muscles; Kerry Says This Isn't 'Rocky IV'

Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Ria Novosti Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 11:25 am

We retopped this post at 12:25 p.m. ET.

Responding to the news that Russian President Vladimir Putin has put his army on alert in what seems to be a bid to influence events in Ukraine, Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday that the U.S. is "not looking for [a] confrontation" with Moscow.

And, in a reference to the Cold War days of the past when the rivalry between two superpowers would find its way into popular culture, Kerry tried to cool things down.

"This is not Rocky IV," he said, during an MSNBC interview.

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The Two-Way
6:07 am
Wed February 26, 2014

What A Rush! California Couple Finds Gold Coins Worth $10M

Thar's gold in them thar cans: One of the eight cans discovered by a California couple. They were stuffed with gold coins minted in the 1800s. The cache's estimated value: $10 million.
Kagin's Inc. AP

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 10:53 am

If you've ever dreamed about finding buried treasure, this story's for you:

A California couple who say they had walked by the same spot on their Sierra Nevada property many times over many years are an estimated $10 million or so richer after digging up eight rusty old cans containing 1,427 very valuable gold coins. It's thought to be the most valuable discovery of such coins in U.S. history.

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The Two-Way
12:57 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Obama: U.S. May Leave Afghanistan, But Door's Open To Staying

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 1:16 pm

President Obama told Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday that he has asked the Pentagon to draw up plans to have all U.S. forces out of Afghanistan by the end of the year.

But at the same time, Obama opened the door to the U.S. staying in the Central Asian nation even if Karzai hasn't signed a newly negotiated "Bilateral Security Agreement" before the end of April — the month of scheduled presidential elections in Afghanistan and what had been something of a deadline set by U.S. officials.

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The Two-Way
12:19 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Brit Released From Guantanamo In '05 Is Arrested In U.K.

Moazzam Begg in front of the U.S. Embassy in London in 2006.
Alastair Grant AP

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 12:21 pm

  • On 'Morning Edition' in 2006: Part I of an interview with Moazzam Begg
  • On 'Morning Edition' in 2006: Part II of an interview with Moazzam Begg

Nine years after his release from the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a British-born man named Moazzam Begg is once again in custody and being questioned about alleged ties to terrorists.

Begg was one of four people arrested Tuesday in Birmingham, England, British authorities tell Reuters and other news outlets.

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