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
10:20 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Obama's $3.9 Trillion Budget Would Produce $564 Billion Deficit

Copies of President Obama's proposed budget for fiscal 2015, after they were delivered to the Senate Budget Committee on Tuesday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 11:53 am

As expected, President Obama on Tuesday unveiled a $3.9 trillion budget plan for fiscal 2015 that his number crunchers say would produce a $564 billion deficit.

The gap between spending and revenue, while large, would be down from more than $744 billion this fiscal year and a record $1.4 trillion in 2009 — a fiscal year that began when President George W. Bush was still in office. Since then, deficits during the Obama years have topped $1 trillion three times.

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The Two-Way
9:20 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Kentucky Won't Appeal Order To Recognize Same-Sex Marriages

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, pictured in January 2013, said that appealing the judge's order "would be defending discrimination."
Roger Alford AP

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 10:40 am

"Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway will not appeal a federal judge's order that the state must recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages," NPR member station WFPL reports from Louisville.

"From a constitutional perspective, Judge Heyburn got it right," Conway said in announcing his decision on Tuesday, the station adds.

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The Two-Way
8:49 am
Tue March 4, 2014

$2 Million Settlement Closes Ohio's 'Caged Kids' Case

Down this road is the home in northern Ohio where 11 children endured abuses such as being forced to sleep in cages. They were rescued in 2005.
Jamie-Andrea Yanak AP

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 9:26 am

A notorious story that became known as the "caged kids" case after 11 young children were rescued from an Ohio home nearly a decade ago has gotten to its final chapter.

The 11 victims have reached a $2 million settlement with Ohio's Stark County where three of them had lived before being placed in the home of Michael and Sharen Gravelle, where the adoptive parents forced the children to sleep in cages.

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The Two-Way
7:59 am
Tue March 4, 2014

For Those Itching To Etch, Great Wall Now Has A Graffiti Zone

Two of the names carved into the Great Wall, in this case near Badaling, China. Authorities hope to cut down on graffiti by giving tourists a designated spot to leave their marks.
David Guttenfelder AP

Chinese authorities are trying to contain a growing problem — graffiti written on and carved into the stones of the Great Wall of China — by giving tourists a designated section on which they can leave their marks.

China News Service reports that "Mutianyu, a famous section of the Great Wall of China, has established a specified area for graffiti to better protect the ancient heritage item, the governing authority said on Sunday."

Most of the graffiti, the news service says, is in English.

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The Two-Way
6:10 am
Tue March 4, 2014

At Last, No News Is Good News When It Comes To The Weather

For one day at least, an "all clear" has been issued.
National Weather Service

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 7:37 am

We wouldn't normally post a map that basically says there's nothing happening.

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The Two-Way
5:17 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Putin Says Those Aren't Russian Forces In Crimea

Russian President Vladimir Putin during his news conference Tuesday.
Alexei Nikolsky AP

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 10:50 am

  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's David Greene speaks with 'New York Times' Moscow correspondent Steven Lee Myers

(We updated this post at 11:55 a.m. ET.)

Russian soldiers have not occupied government buildings and surrounded Ukrainian military bases on the Crimean Peninsula, Russian President Vladimir Putin insisted Tuesday during a news conference near Moscow at which he gave an account of recent events that contradicts reports from the ground.

Instead, he told reporters that the heavily armed men are "local self-defense forces."

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The Two-Way
10:24 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Russia Denies Issuing Ultimatum Or Warning Ukraine Of 'Storm'

Armed men in military uniform, believed to be Russian soldiers, were outside the territory of a Ukrainian military unit in Bakhchisaray, on the Crimean Peninsula, on Monday.
Maxim Shipenkov EPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 2:21 pm

Update at 12:45 p.m. ET: "Total Nonsense," Russian Official Reportedly Says:

Any claims that the Russian military has warned Ukraine to surrender in Crimea or face an assault on Tuesday are "total nonsense," a Russian Defense Ministry official says, according to The Voice of Russia.

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The Two-Way
9:34 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Boy Scouts' Ban On Gay Leaders Leads Disney To End Grants

Tony Gutierrez AP

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 11:06 am

This news that broke locally in Florida last week is starting to grab headlines and attention across the nation:

"Disney Ends Funding To Boy Scouts Over Gay Policy." (The Associated Press)

Here's how The Orlando Sentinel, one of the first outlets to report the news, frames the story:

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The Two-Way
7:13 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Here's Ellen's Star-Stuffed Oscar Selfie That Broke Twitter

So many stars, it's hard to fit them all in.
TheEllenShow

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 11:07 am

A group selfie that host Ellen DeGeneres organized at the start of Sunday's Oscars show is now in the record books.

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The Two-Way
6:20 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Pistorius Pleads Not Guilty, Witness Tells Of Hearing Screams

Accused South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius in court on Monday in Pretoria. He's accused of premeditated murder in the death of his girlfriend on Feb. 14, 2013.
Herman Verwey EPA/Landov

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 7:59 am

"The first witness at Oscar Pistorius' murder trial told the court on Monday she heard 'bloodcurdling screams' from a woman followed by shots," Reuters writes.

It was, the wire service adds, "a dramatic opening to a case that could see one of global sports' most admired role models jailed for life."

NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reminds our Newscast Desk that:

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