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
12:24 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

Test Sites Chosen For Commercial Drone Testing

The Federal Aviation Administration's map showing the locations of the six "unmanned aircraft systems" test sites it has chosen.
FAA.gov

The Federal Aviation Administration on Monday unveiled the names of the six applicants who have been granted the right to test the commercial uses of "unmanned aircraft systems" — drones.

The FAA's approvals were highly sought after because the test sites are expected to bring high-tech jobs and investments to the states where they're located. The six winners are:

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The Two-Way
11:37 am
Mon December 30, 2013

VIDEO: Volcano Erupts In El Salvador, Ash And Gas Soar

The Chaparrastique volcano in eastern El Salvador erupted on Sunday.
Hector Garay/Telenoticias 21 AFP/Getty Images

The first eruption of eastern El Salvador's Chaparrastique volcano in 37 years sent ash and gas soaring as much as six miles into the air on Sunday and led authorities to evacuate thousands of people from their homes.

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The Two-Way
10:04 am
Mon December 30, 2013

NFL Firings Begin: Browns, Redskins, Others Ax Coaches

He's out: Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan on Sunday during the team's loss to the New York Giants. He was fired on Monday.
Jeff Zelevansky Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 12:20 pm

Coaches' heads are beginning to roll in the National Football League, now that the 2013 regular season is over.

NFL.com reports that:

-- Cleveland Browns coach Rod Chudzinski has lost his job after just one season with the club. The Browns finished with a 4-12 record.

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The Two-Way
8:56 am
Mon December 30, 2013

Third Icebreaker Fails To Reach Stranded Ship In Antarctic

Nowhere to go: A view from the MV Akademik Shokalskiy, which is trapped in thick Antarctic ice 1,500 nautical miles south of Hobart, Australia.
Andrew Peacock/Australasian Antarctic Expedition/Footloose Fotography AP

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 2:17 pm

"Bad news: Aurora couldn't get through. Tried twice. Low visibility & heavy ice. Returning to open water. Try again tomorrow?"

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The Two-Way
7:56 am
Mon December 30, 2013

Doctors Unsure Whether Michael Schumacher Will Survive

Race car driver Michael Schumacher in November 2012.
Mark Thompson Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 8:42 am

One of the world's most famous and highest-paid athletes, Formula One racer Michael Schumacher, is in a medically induced coma at a hospital in Grenoble, France. Doctors there are treating him for a critical head injury suffered over the weekend when the German driver fell and hit his head while skiing.

His prognosis?

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The Two-Way
6:58 am
Mon December 30, 2013

'Blood On The Snow' After Second Suicide Blast In Russia

A woman wiped away tears Monday in Volgograd, Russia, after the second suicide bombing in that city in the past two days.
Denis Tyrin AP

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 3:42 pm

  • From the NPR Newscast: Second attack in Volgograd
  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Corey Flintoff reports about the bombings in Volgograd

There's shock in the southern Russian city of Volgograd after what appears to have been the second suicide bombing in two days.

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The Two-Way
1:57 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Stories Merge As 'Duck Dynasty' Fans Plan 'Chick-Phil-A' Day

One of Chick-Phil-A-Day's promotional images.
Facebook.com/chickphiladay

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 5:43 pm

Update at 5:40 p.m. ET. A&E Lifts Phil Robertson's Suspension:

A&E announced Friday afternoon that it was reversing its decision to suspend Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson from the show.

A statement from the cable channel says the decision was made after discussions with the Robertson family and "numerous advocacy groups."

Here's our original post ...

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The Two-Way
12:59 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Target: Encrypted Data Were Taken, But Not The Key To Unlock

The scene outside a Target store in Brooklyn on Black Friday, Nov. 29.
Eric Thayer Reuters /Landov

Though hackers did obtain "strongly encrypted PIN data" when they got into Target's information systems, the retailer said Friday that sensitive information from customers' debit cards should not be at risk.

Target posted this explanation:

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The Two-Way
11:37 am
Fri December 27, 2013

PHOTO: Saturn's Holiday Closeup

Saturn, looking something like a hand-painted ornament, in a newly released image from NASA.
NASA.gov

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 1:00 pm

Just before Christmas, NASA released a photo of Saturn that we can't resist posting.

Here's how the space agency describes the image:

"The globe of Saturn, seen here in natural color, is reminiscent of a holiday ornament in this wide-angle view from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. The characteristic hexagonal shape of Saturn's northern jet stream, somewhat yellow here, is visible. At the pole lies a Saturnian version of a high-speed hurricane, eye and all. ...

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The Two-Way
11:10 am
Fri December 27, 2013

The Price Is Wrong And You Know It: Do You Buy That Ticket?

Delta made a mistake, but says it will stand by some cut-rate fares.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Headlines such as this come along every few months:

"Delta To Honor Extremely Cheap Mistake Fares."

The news, says The Associated Press, is that:

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The Two-Way
8:59 am
Fri December 27, 2013

Three NATO Personnel Killed By Bombing In Afghanistan

An Afghan security officer runs toward the scene of Friday's bombing in Kabul. Three NATO personnel were killed and at least six Afghan civilians were wounded.
Omar Sobhani Reuters /Landov

A bomb explosion Friday in Kabul killed three members of the NATO coalition serving in Afghanistan and wounded at least six civilians, NPR's Sean Carberry reports from the Afghan capital.

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The Two-Way
8:08 am
Fri December 27, 2013

Power's Still Out For Many Across North And Into Canada

In Delton, Mich., broken branches and snapped limbs lie on the ground after this week's snow and ice storms. Many in the state are without power.
Chuck Miller MLive.com/Landov

This may make you shiver:

"It could be days before power is restored to swathes of the country after a ice storms plunged homes and businesses from Michigan to Maine and into Canada into darkness, utility officials say." (NBC News)

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The Two-Way
7:32 am
Fri December 27, 2013

VIDEO: Rescuers Are Drawing Near To Ship Stuck In Antarctic

Stuck in the ice: The MV Akademik Shokalskiy.
Chris Turney Australasian Antarctic Expedition

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 6:24 pm

Update at 6:15 p.m. ET. Chinese Icebreaker Gets Stuck:

The Chinese icebreaker Snow Dragon became stuck in the ice itself as it tried to reach the stranded vessel MV Akademik Shokalskiy.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority tweeted:

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The Two-Way
6:41 am
Fri December 27, 2013

Bomb Blast In Beirut Kills Former Ambassador To U.S.

Some of the destruction at the scene of Friday's car bombing in Beirut.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 8:23 am

  • Correspondent Susannah George describes the scene in Beirut

An explosion in Beirut on Friday killed at least six people, including a former Lebanese ambassador to the U.S. who was a leader of the Western-backed coalition that opposes the militant group Hezbollah.

More than 70 other people were injured by the car bomb, authorities say.

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The Two-Way
1:54 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

Cowboys' Emergency QB Kitna Will Give Away His Pay

Quarterback Jon Kitna in 2011, before his retirement from football. He's due to be back in a Dallas Cowboys uniform on Sunday.
NFL Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 1:12 pm

Whether or not you like the NFL's Dallas Cowboys, this news may warm your heart:

Jon Kitna, who is coming out of retirement to be the team's emergency quarterback on Sunday, plans to donate his $53,000 paycheck from the game to the Tacoma, Wash., high school where he now teaches math and coaches football.

According to the Dallas Morning News:

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The Two-Way
11:51 am
Thu December 26, 2013

It Was 50 Years Ago Today: 'I Want To Hold Your Hand' Hit U.S.

Paul McCartney, left, and John Lennon during a November 1963 Beatles show in London. The next month, the band had its first big hit in the U.S. and Beatlemania started to sweep America.
AP

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 12:13 pm

  • The opening of 'I Want To Hold Your Hand'

If you don't smile after clicking "play" on the box above ... well, then either we're too old or you're too young.

It was 50 years ago today, Kabir Bhatia from member station WKSU in Cleveland reminds our Newscast Desk, that Capitol Records released the Beatles' I Want To Hold Your Hand in the U.S.

The fab four, as he says, had "sold millions of records in Europe throughout 1963, but had flopped in the U.S. after several releases on small, regional labels."

Then came I Want To Hold Your Hand.

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The Two-Way
10:45 am
Thu December 26, 2013

American Kidnapped By Al-Qaida In Pakistan Seen In Video

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 12:41 pm

An American development worker and Peace Corps veteran who was kidnapped more than two years ago from his home in Pakistan by men claiming to be affiliated with al-Qaida, asks President Obama in a newly released video "to instruct your appropriate officials to negotiate my release."

Warren Weinstein, 72, is also heard saying he feels "totally abandoned and forgotten."

According to The Associated Press:

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The Two-Way
9:54 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Jobless Claims Fell Sharply Last Week

A "help wanted" sign earlier this year in the window of a clothing store in Pasadena, Calif.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Just as last week's figures may been distorted by temporary factors related to the holiday season that made things look worse than they really are, the word Thursday that there's been a sharp drop in claims for unemployment insurance needs to be accompanied by the same sort of caveat.

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The Two-Way
9:18 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Greenpeace Activists Start Getting Visas To Leave Russia

In St. Petersburg on Thursday, Greenpeace International activist Anthony Perrett, a British citizen, showed the Russian transit visa that's now in his passport.
Olga Maltseva AFP/Getty Images

The next step has been taken in what some observers say is Russian President Vladimir Putin's bid to burnish his country's reputation before February's Winter Olympic Games in Sochi:

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The Two-Way
7:47 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Apologies, Promises From UPS And FedEx About Delivery Delays

UPS delivery man Vinny Ambrosino was dressed for the holiday season on Tuesday as he delivered packages in New York City. Not all the things ordered for Christmas got to their destinations on time.
Carlo Allegri Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 8:28 pm

Update at 8:20 p.m. ET. Amazon, UPS, Offer Refunds:

The Washington Post reports:

"Amazon and UPS said Thursday they would offer refunds to customers who did not receive their Christmas orders on time, after a surge in last-minute online shopping caught the shipping giant off guard."

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