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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6:40am

Thu December 29, 2011
The Two-Way

Jobless Claims Rise By 15,000

The number of Americans filing first-time claims for jobless benefits grew by 15,000 last week from the previous week, to 381,000, the Employment and Training Administration just reported. It was the first increase in the past four weeks.

The agency adds, though, that "the 4-week moving average was 375,000, a decrease of 5,750 from the previous week's revised average of 380,750."

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6:10am

Thu December 29, 2011
The Two-Way

In Syria: Videos Belie Monitor's Comment About 'Nothing Frightening'

Sudanese Gen. Mustafa al-Dabi told reporters Wednesday that he had seen "nothing frightening" during his first visit to the Syrian city of Homs this week.

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5:40am

Thu December 29, 2011
The Two-Way

Report: Criminal Charges Being Prepared Against BP For Gulf Oil Spill

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig burned on April 21, 2010.
U.S. Coast Guard Getty Images

"U.S. prosecutors are preparing what would be the first criminal charges against BP PLC employees stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident, which killed 11 workers and caused the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history," The Wall Street Journal reports this morning, citing "people familiar with the matter."

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12:40pm

Wed December 28, 2011
The Two-Way

There Will Be No Friday This Week In Samoa

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 12:53 pm

Samoa: Would you argue with getting an extra day in a place like this?
D. Kirkland/Samoa Tourist Authority AP

What's happening in Samoa on Friday?

Nothing (sort of).

Officially, the day won't exist.

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11:25am

Wed December 28, 2011
The Two-Way

In S.C.: Whether To Say 'It's A Great Day' Is Now A Political Issue

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 11:26 am

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R).
Chris Keane Getty Images

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) has told her Cabinet agencies that all employees should answer their phones with this greeting:

"It's a great day in South Carolina. How can I help you?"

But two Democratic members of the state House are sponsoring legislation that would prohibit any agency from ordering its staff to say that unless it truly is a "great day in South Carolina" (according to those legislators).

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