Mark Memmott, NPR

Mark Memmott joined NPR News in the spring of 2009 to launch a new blog, "The Two-Way," with co-blogger Frank James.

"The Two-Way" is the place where NPR.org gives readers breaking news and analysis — and where it engages users in conversations ("two-ways") about the most compelling stories being reported by NPR News and other news media.

Memmott came to NPR from USA Today, where for over 20 years he worked as a reporter and editor on subjects ranging from politics and, foreign affairs to economics and the media.

In recent years he helped launch and then led three different news blogs at USATODAY.com, including the website's 2008 presidential campaign blog, On Politics.

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Science
9:05 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Did You See It? If Not, Here's The 'Blood Moon'

The "blood moon" as seen from Koreatown, west of Los Angeles, early Tuesday. The next total eclipse of the moon comes on Oct. 8.
Joe Klamar AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 8:34 am

There were "whistles, cheers and howls" early Tuesday on the grounds of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles as the moon turned red during a total lunar eclipse.

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Affordable Care Act
11:49 am
Fri April 11, 2014

'I Knew It Wouldn't Be Easy,' Outgoing Health Secretary Sebelius Says

Vice President Biden (from left), Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, President Obama and Budget Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell at the White House Friday. Sebelius is stepping down. Burwell is being nominated to replace her.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Fri April 11, 2014 12:53 pm

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who has borne the brunt of criticism for the troubled rollout of the HealthCare.gov website, said Friday that as she prepares to leave that agency she is thankful to have had the chance to work on "the cause of my life."

Her agency, Sebelius said, has been "in the front lines of a long overdue national change — fixing a broken health system."

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Special Coverage
9:47 am
Wed April 9, 2014

At Least 20 Students Injured In Knife Attack At Pa. High School

Emergency responders gather in the parking lot on the campus of Franklin Regional High School in Murraysville, Pa., on Wednesday after an attack there left at least 20 people, nearly all of them students, injured. Most suffered stab wounds or lacerations.
Keith Srakocic AP

Originally published on Thu April 10, 2014 5:48 am

(This post is being updated as news comes in.)

At least 20 teenagers and one adult were injured, two of them critically, Wednesday morning at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville, Pa., when a 16-year-old fellow student attacked them with two knives.

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Ukraine
7:32 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Split Decisions: Ukraine Signs Up With EU, Russia Wraps Up Crimea

As Russian soldiers walked one way in the distance, a departing Ukrainian soldier carried some of his belongings Friday at a military base in Perevalne, Crimea.
Ivan Sekretarev AP

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 9:57 am

There will be few days that better symbolize the crisis in Ukraine.

On Friday:

As Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk was signing an agreement on closer relations with the European Union ...

... Russian President Vladimir Putin was signing the laws his country has put in place to take Crimea from Ukraine and make it part of the Russian Federation.

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Westboro Baptist Church
12:43 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Westboro Baptist Church Founder Fred Phelps Sr. Dies

July 2007: The Rev. Fred Phelps Sr. prepares to protest outside the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka, Kan.
Orlin Wagner AP

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 5:03 am

The Rev. Fred Phelps Sr., whose tiny Westboro Baptist Church has protested outside the funerals of fallen soldiers and celebrities to spread its views about homosexuality and abortion, has died, according to news reports. He was 84.

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Crime & Justice
11:15 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Reprimand, $20K Fine, No Jail Time For General's Sexual Misconduct

Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair as he arrived for his court-martial case Thursday at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, N.C.
Chris Keane Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 5:45 pm

Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair avoided jail time Thursday and instead "was reprimanded and fined a total of $20,000 for inappropriate relationships with three subordinates in a closely watched court case," The Associated Press reports from Fort Bragg, N.C.

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Malaysia Airlines
8:30 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Search For Missing Jet Focuses On Objects Seen Off Australia

This map adds in routes that investigators believe Malaysia Flight 370 might have taken.
Australian Maritime Safety Authority

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 12:14 pm

This post is being updated.

Satellite images showing objects floating in the Indian Ocean have focused the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and the 239 people who were on board to an area about 1,500 miles southwest of Perth, Australia.

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Malaysia Airlines
8:14 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Confusion Reigns Over Missing Jet's Final Location

As the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has expanded, teams from many countries have been involved. This navigator was aboard a Vietnamese helicopter searching the waters off that nation's coast.
Hoang Dinh Nam AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 5:23 am

This post has been updated.

There's no sign yet of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 — the Boeing 777 with 239 people aboard that disappeared early Saturday while on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

At the same time, there is confusion as to where authorities last spotted the jet.

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Mexico
1:18 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Mexican Drug Lord Shot Dead ... For Second Time

Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, in an image from one of the quasi-religious books his cartel distributed.
Heriberto Rodriguez MCT/Landov

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 11:06 am

Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, one of Mexico's reputed drug lords, has now been killed twice.

Well, perhaps we should say that he's been declared dead for the second time.

The head of "the cultlike, pseudo-Christian La Familia cartel" was supposedly killed back in December 2010 during a two-day shootout with police.

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SXSW 2014
11:49 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Edward Snowden Tells SXSW He'd Leak Those Secrets Again

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 12:11 pm

Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who has leaked large amounts of classified information about the agency's electronic surveillance programs, spoke via video to a sympathetic audience at South By Southwest Interactive on Monday.

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Malaysia Airlines
11:45 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Fate Of Missing Malaysia Airlines Plane Still A Mystery

At Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Sunday, prayers were said for the 239 people who have been missing since flight MH370 disappeared.
Lai Seng Sin AP

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 2:26 pm

We'll be updating this post throughout the day on Monday.

Nearly three days after the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, there's still no definitive trace of the Boeing 777 or the 239 people who were on board.

As of Monday evening in Malaysia, none of the clues so far had led searchers to the plane.

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Bitcoin
9:53 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Bitcoin Exchange Mt. Gox Goes Dark After Theft Report

Kolin Burges, a self-styled cryptocurrency trader and former software engineer, was among a small number of protesters outside the Tokyo offices of bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox on Tuesday.
Toru Hanai Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 3:10 pm

"The website of major bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox was offline Tuesday amid reports it suffered a debilitating theft, a new setback for efforts to gain legitimacy for the virtual currency," The Associated Press reports.

Also Tuesday, all the posts had been erased from the Mt. Gox Twitter account.

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The Two-Way
6:41 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Virginia's Same-Sex Marriage Ban Is Ruled Unconstitutional

Supporters of same-sex marriage and opponents were out when the challenge to Virginia's law was heard in a Norfolk federal court earlier this month.
Jay Paul Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 1:11 pm

"A federal judge has struck down Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage, ruling on Thursday that the amendment adopted by voters in 2006 is unconstitutional," WAMU's Michael Pope writes this morning. He adds that:

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Transportation
12:29 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

How Bad Is It For Fliers Today? Latest 'Misery Map' Shows

Here's where the misery was this morning, according to FlightAware.com.
FlightAware.com

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 12:11 pm

With more than 5,000 flights into or out of the nation canceled today and hundreds more delayed because of the snow and ice storm moving up the East Coast, it's time once again to point to FlightAware.com's "Misery Map."

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Business
7:05 am
Wed February 5, 2014

CVS To Stop Selling Tobacco Products

Soon to be gone: Marlboro cigarettes on display at a CVS store in Pittsburgh last July.
Gene J. Puskar AP

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 10:43 am

Saying it is "the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health," the CEO of CVS Caremark announced Wednesday that the company's 7,600 pharmacies will stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products by Oct. 1.

Larry Merlo also said CVS will try to help those who want to quit smoking with a "robust national smoking cessation program" at its locations.

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Movies
11:09 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Oscar Nominees For Best Picture Include 'Captain Phillips,' 'Gravity'

Tom Hanks in Captain Phillips.
Hopper Stone, SMPSP

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 10:22 am

Let the arguments begin over who and which film should have been nominated but weren't.

This year's nominees for Oscars from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences were just announced and they include:

Best Picture

-- American Hustle

-- Captain Phillips

-- Dallas Buyers Club

-- Gravity

-- Her

-- Nebraska

-- Philomena

-- 12 Years a Slave

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Texas
1:45 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Permit To Hunt And Kill One Black Rhino Sold For $350,000

A black rhino in Namibia's Etosha National Park.
Frans Lanting DPA/Landov

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 10:23 am

The Dallas Safari Club's controversial auction of a permit to hunt one black rhino in Namibia raised $350,000 over the weekend, the club confirms on its Facebook page.

That's at the lower end of the range that club executive Ben Carter had expected. In December, he told NPR that he hoped the auction would raise $225,000 to $1 million.

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Politics
12:00 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

NSA Says It Would Welcome Public Advocate At FISA Court

The National Security Agency headquarters building in Fort Meade, Md.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 11:45 am

The National Security Agency "would welcome" the creation of a public advocate's position at the court that oversees its electronic surveillance programs, said its outgoing deputy director.

John C. "Chris" Inglis, who retires Friday after more than seven years as the NSA's No. 2, told Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep that "I would only put the caveat on there that it needs to be operationally efficient."

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Crime & Justice
6:56 am
Thu January 9, 2014

How Would You React In A Shooting? Have A Plan, Experts Say

Newtown, Conn., Dec. 20, 2012: Stuffed animals and a candle arrangement at a streetside memorial for the 20 children and six adults killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 9:28 am

The annual number of mass murders and attempted mass murders in the U.S. has tripled since 2008, to 15 last year, according to statistics that the FBI and Justice Department have been citing in recent weeks.

In a new study posted online by the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, experts make the case that "police have, generally, done an excellent job responding to active shooter events quickly."

But, they add:

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The Two-Way
11:45 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

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 8:54 am

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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