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
1:35 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Trains To Roll Through Devastated Quebec Town Again

Scene of the disaster: On July 6, smoke rose from the tank cars that derailed in Lac Megantic, Quebec. The explosions and fires killed 47 people.
Paul Chiasson AP

For the first time since a July 6 derailment that caused massive explosions and fires that killed 47 people, freight trains are due to roll again through Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, starting on Wednesday.

According to Toronto's Globe and Mail:

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The Two-Way
11:48 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Mandela Interpreter Says He Was In Group That Killed Two Men

Thamsanqa Jantjie.
Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi AP

As we continue to follow the story of the apparently bogus sign language interpreter who stood beside President Obama and other world leaders at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela last week in Johannesburg, South Africa, there's word that:

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The Two-Way
10:51 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Harvard Issues 'All Clear' After Unconfirmed Reports Of Explosives

SWAT team officers on the scene Monday at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. Four buildings on campus were evacuated after an unconfirmed report that explosives may have been placed inside.
Elise Amendola AP

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 2:58 pm

Update at 2:50 p.m. ET. Authorities Issue 'All Clear' For All Four Campus Sites:

Harvard's Emergency website issued has cleared the university's Science Center, the last of four sites that were searched for possible explosives.

After nearly 6 hours of searching by bomb squads and other experts, authorities at Harvard University on Monday had issued "all clear" notices for the four buildings apparently cited in "unconfirmed reports" about explosives on campus.

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The Two-Way
9:54 am
Mon December 16, 2013

'Billy Jack' Creator Tom Laughlin Dies

"Billy Jack" — actor Tom Laughlin, who died last week.
TC Laughlin Public Relations
  • A bit of 'One Tin Soldier'

Tom Laughlin, who invented and played the movie character "Billy Jack" — a half-white, half Native American Vietnam veteran who used martial arts skills to battle racists — died last week.

Late Sunday, The Associated Press reported that Laughlin's daughter said "he died Thursday at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Laughlin was 82 and Teresa Laughlin, who acted in the Billy Jack movies, said the cause of death was complications from pneumonia."

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The Two-Way
6:59 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Joan Fontaine, 'Coolly Beautiful' Oscar Winner, Dies

Actress Joan Fontaine in 1944.
Dan Grossi AP

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 7:50 am

She was a "patrician blond ... who rose to stardom as a haunted second wife" in Hitchcock's Rebecca and "the coolly beautiful 1940s actress who won an Academy Award for her role in Alfred Hitchcock's Suspicion."

Joan Fontaine died Sunday at the age of 96.

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The Two-Way
1:32 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Steubenville Officials Plead Not Guilty In Rape Case

Four adults, including the city's schools superintendent, pleaded not guilty on Friday to several charges stemming from the aftermath of the notorious rape 2012 rape of a teenage girl by high school football players in Steubenville, Ohio.

Steubenville's WTOV-TV reports that:

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The Two-Way
10:39 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Report: Mandela Interpreter Was Once Charged With Murder

Thamsanqa Jantjie, whose appearance at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela angered many in South Africa's deaf community and has led to an apology from the government. His sign language interpretation was just meaningless gestures, say those who understand that language.
Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi AP

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 12:16 pm

Update at 12:15 p.m. ET. Previously Charged With Murder?

"The South African government said Friday it is aware of reports that the bogus sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela's memorial once faced a murder charge, and said he is being investigated," The Associated Press reports from Johannesburg.

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The Two-Way
9:22 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Was North Korea's No. 2 Killed For Not Clapping Hard Enough?

Jang Song Thaek, who was North Korea's second-most powerful official, was put to death this week.
Kyodo/Landov

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 2:36 pm

  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Frank Langfitt talks about a high-profile execution in North Korea

As outsiders try to figure out why North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had his uncle executed this week, they're focusing on a couple things. According to NPR's Frank Langfitt:

-- There seems have been "a lot of genuine personal dislike" between Kim and Jang Song Thaek, the uncle and until this week North Korea's second most powerful man.

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The Two-Way
7:17 am
Fri December 13, 2013

For Friday The 13th, Say It With Us: Paraskevidekatriaphobia

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 10:16 am

  • Korva Coleman helps cure Friday the 13th fears

Because we want everyone to feel safe, once again we offer this advice for how to get through another Friday the 13th:

Learn how to pronounce paraskevidekatriaphobia.

Successfully saying that super long word supposedly cures one of any Friday the 13th-related fears.

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The Two-Way
6:45 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Obama's 'You Can Keep It' Promise Is 'Lie Of The Year'

President Obama: He's been called out on one of his highest-profile promises.
Drew Angerer/pool Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 1:59 pm

President Obama's oft-repeated promise that "if you like your health care plan, you can keep it" is 2013's "lie of the year," according to the fact checkers at the Tampa Bay Times' nonpartisan PolitiFact project.

PolitiFact says that:

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