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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7:25am

Thu December 15, 2011
The Two-Way

As Flag Is Put Away, America's Mission In Iraq Symbolically Ends

America's colors have been cased in Iraq — the flag was just symbolically put away at a ceremony marking the end of a war that lasted nearly nine years.

At the Baghdad airport a short time ago, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and other officials were there to mark the occasion, NPR's Kelly McEvers reports. It was, she said on Morning Edition, a "quiet, small ceremony."

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3:35pm

Wed December 14, 2011
The Two-Way

Christmas Stamps Are OK; Christmas Carols? Not At The Post Office

There's been some consternation on the Web about what happened this weekend at a post office in Silver Spring, Md., when three Christmas carolers — all decked out in shawls, bonnets and a top hat (for the guy) — popped in and started singing.

It seems that one of the USPS managers on duty jumped into action, telling the trio that they couldn't do that because they were on government property.

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12:08pm

Wed December 14, 2011
The Two-Way

Obama To Troops: 'Welcome Home'

Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 1:12 pm

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama with troops at Fort Bragg, N.C., today (Dec. 14, 2011) after his address.
Gerry Broome AP

"On behalf of a grateful nation, I'm proud to finally say these two words and I know your famlies agree:

"Welcome home."

With that, President Obama began an address today at North Carolina's Fort Bragg, where he continued to mark the end of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq by talking with some of the troops who served in that nearly nine-year conflict.

We updated this post with more from his address.

Update at 12:25 p.m. ET. "Because Of You":

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11:35am

Wed December 14, 2011
The Two-Way

Reports: Afghan Rape Victim Freed, Unclear If She Must Marry Attacker

Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 11:37 am

Burqa-clad Afghan women wait to buy chickpeas from a shop in Kabul earlier this year.
Shah Marai AFP/Getty Images

Gulnaz, the young Afghan woman whose story has spread around the world because she was imprisoned after being raped by a relative, is now free, CNN and the BBC are reporting.

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10:55am

Wed December 14, 2011
The Two-Way

Jiminy Cricket! Just What We Need: A Cockroach That Jumps

We should have jumped on this story earlier, but it's too creepy not to mention:

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9:50am

Wed December 14, 2011
The Two-Way

Hezbollah's Alleged Ties To South American Cocaine Trade Detailed

Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 9:55 am

Hezbollah members listen to a speech by the group's leader, Â Hassan Nasrallah, via video-link in the southern suburbs of Beirut on Nov. 11, 2011.
Anwar Amro AFP/Getty Images

There are "new insights into the murky sources of Hezbollah's money," The New York Times reports this morning, that point to "the direct involvement of high-level Hezbollah officials in the South American cocaine trade."

Here's the story's money quote:

"One agent involved in the investigation compared Hezbollah to the Mafia, saying, 'They operate like the Gambinos on steroids.' "

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9:27am

Wed December 14, 2011

8:25am

Wed December 14, 2011
The Two-Way

Terrorism Not Thought To Have Been Motivation Of Attacker In Belgium

Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 8:28 am

Grieving: At a bus shelter that was shattered during Tuesday's grenade and gun attack in Liege, Belgium, people gathered today to express their sorrow and pay respects.
Philippe Huguen AFP/Getty Images

While it still isn't clear why a man attacked a crowded square in Liege, Belgium, on Tuesday with grenades and gunfire, killing at least three people and injuring more than 120, authorities are saying that evidence indicates terrorism was not his motivation, according to The Associated Press and other news outlets.

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7:45am

Wed December 14, 2011
The Two-Way

'The Protester' Is 'Time' Magazine's Person Of The Year

Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 8:04 am

Time magazine

"The protester" has been named Time magazine's person of the year, it was just announced on NBC-TV's The Today Show and on Time's website.

That covers, most notably of course, those who went to the streets in the Arab Spring movement that swept across much of North Africa and the Middle East.

But as Time writes, protesters have also had major impacts in Greece, Spain, the U.K. and — via the Occupy Wall Street movement — the United states.

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7:00am

Wed December 14, 2011
The Two-Way

Fate Of Payroll Tax Cut, Jobless Benefits Uncertain As Lawmakers Haggle

Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 7:17 am

Outside the Capitol, there's goodwill. Inside, less so.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

A veto threat. Finger-pointing. The end of some jobless benefits.

We've been through all this before this year and we're going through it again as 2011 draws to a close.

As The Associated Press says:

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