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
6:07 am
Tue July 2, 2013

VIDEOS: Solemn Salutes To Fallen Firefighters In Arizona

Holding on to each other: Firefighters hug during a memorial service Monday in Prescott, Ariz. They were honoring 19 others who died Sunday.
Michael Nelson EPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 7:43 am

The simple, sobering sound of a bell ringing as each firefighter's name and age was read brings home the sad story from Prescott, Ariz., where 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots who died Sunday fighting a wildfire were remembered Monday.

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The Two-Way
5:34 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Pressure Builds On Egypt's Morsi To Compromise Or Step Down

Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square again Monday during a protest calling for the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi.
Mohamed El-Shahed AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 7:37 am

With about 24 hours to go before the deadline set by Egypt's military to work with opponents and craft a roadmap that moves the country past its political problems or have one created for him by the army, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi is under intense pressure. He must either "reach some kind of compromise" with those protesting against his government "or step aside," NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson tells our Newscast Desk.

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The Two-Way
2:02 pm
Sun June 30, 2013

LOOKING BACK: RFK's 'Ripple Of Hope' Speech In South Africa

A Meeting Of Great Minds: During his 1966 visit to South Africa, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy met with anti-apartheid activist Chief Luthuli and later spoke publicly about their meeting. Because of a government ban on media coverage of Luthuli, it was the first news many had of their leader in more than five years.
Shoreline Productions

At South Africa's University of Cape Town on Sunday, President Obama noted that he was speaking at the same place where, in 1966, then-Sen. Robert Kennedy, D-N.Y., delivered what some historians believe was the best speech of his life.

Obama was discussing about how, as a young man, he had come to believe that "I could be part of something bigger than myself; that my own salvation was bound up with those of others."

Then the president brought up the late senator:

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The Two-Way
12:35 pm
Sun June 30, 2013

Snowden Is 'A Hero,' WikiLeaks' Assange Says

From one secrets leaker to another:

Edward Snowden "is a hero," WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said Sunday on ABC-TV's This Week with George Stephanopoulos. "He has told the people of the world and the United States that there is mass unlawful interception of their communications, far beyond anything that happened under Nixon."

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The Two-Way
11:39 am
Sun June 30, 2013

Justice Kennedy Denies Request To Halt Same-Sex Marriages

Lining up to be married: Adam Chandler, 33, left, and Ivan Chandler, 38, both of Citrus Heights, were among those waiting in line Saturday to get married at San Francisco City Hall.
Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group MCT/Landov

Originally published on Sun June 30, 2013 4:36 pm

(Most recent update: 4:30 p.m. ET.)

Supporters of California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriages lost another argument Sunday when Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy turned down their request to at least temporarily bar such marriages in the state.

The Associated Press and Reuters report that Kennedy denied the petition "with no additional comment."

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The Two-Way
10:52 am
Sun June 30, 2013

Jennifer Lopez Sorry She Sang For Turkmenistan's Dictator

Jennifer Lopez on stage Saturday in Avaza, Turkmenistan.
Igor Sasin AFP/Getty Images

Here's how the State Department's latest human rights report about the Central Asian nation of Turkmenistan begins:

"Although the constitution declares Turkmenistan to be a secular democracy and a presidential republic, the country has an authoritarian government controlled by the president, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov."

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The Two-Way
9:23 am
Sun June 30, 2013

'Furious' EU Demands Answers After New Report Of NSA Spying

European Union flags fly in front of the organization's headquarters in Brussels.
Wu Wei Xinhua/Landov

"Senior European Union officials are outraged by revelations that the U.S. spied on EU representations in Washington and New York," Germany's Der Spiegel writes. "Some have called for a suspension of talks on the trans-Atlantic free trade agreement."

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The Two-Way
8:36 am
Sun June 30, 2013

'Deeply Humbled' Obama Visits Mandela's Former Jail Cell

President Obama looks out the window of the Robben Island prison cell that once held Nelson Mandela. The president and his family visited the prison on Sunday.
Gary Cameron Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Sun June 30, 2013 12:37 pm

(We most recently updated this post at 1:50 p.m. ET.)

After visiting the jail cell on South Africa's Robben Island where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in prison during the long struggle against apartheid, President Obama wrote on Sunday about the bravery of Mandela and others who demanded their rights.

In a message he added to the island's visitors book, the president said:

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The Two-Way
7:50 am
Sun June 30, 2013

13 Years In Jail For Writing On A Sidewalk With Chalk?

Sidewalk chalk: The tools of a criminal?
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Sun June 30, 2013 12:37 pm

There's no evidence that he wrote anything obscene.

His messages could be easily erased.

And they don't seem to have upset many, if any, people.

But in San Diego, 40-year-old Jeffrey Olson is on trial for expressing his opinions on sidewalks outside three Bank of America branches. He's charged with 13 counts of vandalism. Jury deliberations began Friday, our colleagues at KPBS say. If convicted on all counts, they add, he faces up to 13 years in prison.

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