Mark Memmott

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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6:15am

Tue December 27, 2011
The Two-Way

Activists Condemn Syrian Army's 'Show,' Say Tanks Didn't Move Far

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 6:49 am

A Syrian tank driving through the city of Homs on Monday (Dec. 26, 2011).
AFP/Getty Images

"Syria's army suspended days of punishing attacks on the restive city of Homs," The Associated Press writes, "and began withdrawing its tanks Tuesday just as Arab League monitors visited the area and met with local leaders, activists and officials said."

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5:45am

Tue December 27, 2011
The Two-Way

Lost Money: $41 Billion In Gift Cards Haven't Been Redeemed Since 2005

You may have given one — or two, or three. You may have gotten one — or two, or three.

Gift cards.

The presents that show up in Christmas stockings all across America. The go-to gifts for aunts and uncles trying to please those finicky teenaged nieces and nephews. The tokens of affection that may say "I got this on the way over here."

And, also, the gifts that sometimes never get used.

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11:10am

Fri December 23, 2011
The Two-Way

Dozens Killed In Syria: Regime Blames Terrorists, Opposition Blames Regime

Originally published on Fri December 23, 2011 2:59 pm

A crater left by an explosion at the site of a suicide attack today in Damascus.
Louai Beshara AFP/Getty Images

"Twin suicide car bomb blasts ripped through an upscale Damascus district Friday, targeting security and intelligence buildings and killing at least 40 people" according to authorities, The Associated Press writes.

NPR's Deborah Amos says it's the "first such attack since the beginning of a 10-month revolt" against President Bashar Assad's regime.

Now there's the question of who is responsible.

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9:10am

Fri December 23, 2011
The Two-Way

Cue The Scary Music: 'Space Ball' Crashes In Namibia

Originally published on Fri December 23, 2011 10:43 am

The space ball. What is it?
Namibia's National Forensic Science Institute AFP/Getty Images

It's said to be made of a "metal alloy known to man," according to Agence France Presse. (We enjoyed that Spock-like line.)

But there's much that isn't known about what's being called a "space ball" that came down in Namibia last month: Such as where or what it came from.

Officials from NASA and the European Space Agency have been contacted.

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8:20am

Fri December 23, 2011
The Two-Way

Revisiting Istalif, Famed For Pottery And Picnics

Originally published on Fri December 23, 2011 8:24 am

A man in Istalif last year.
Shah Marai AFP/Getty Images

Hearing Renee Montagne's Morning Edition report today about the village of Istalif, Afghanistan, brought back memories for this blogger.

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