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
8:41 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Guilty Plea From Jesse Jackson Jr. Over 'Lavish' Spending

Former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., as he entered court in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 3:51 pm

  • NPR's David Schaper reporting

We most recently updated the top of this post at 2:50 p.m. ET.

Saying that "I've never been more clear in my life" about what he was doing, a tearful Jesse Jackson Jr. on Wednesday pleaded guilty to using about $750,000 in campaign funds collected for his congressional races to buy himself presents that included a Rolex watch worth more than $43,000.

The former congressman, a Democrat from Chicago, appeared in a Washington, D.C., courtroom. When he's sentenced in June, he could get a prison term of nearly five years.

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The Two-Way
7:53 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Single-Family Housing Starts Edged Up In January

Going up: A construction worker at a housing development in San Mateo, Calif., in June 2012.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Work was begun on 0.8 percent more single-family homes in January than had been started the month before, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development say.

And the number of single-family starts was up 20 percent from January 2012.

A 26.1 percent drop in starts, from December to January, on construction of apartment buildings and other multi-family homes dampened the news somewhat.

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The Two-Way
7:13 am
Wed February 20, 2013

'It Felt Like An Earthquake': One Still Missing After Kansas City Explosion

Fire fighters and utility workers at the scene of a massive gas explosion and fire Tuesday night in Kansas City, Mo.
Orlin Wagner AP

"It sounded like thunder, but it felt like an earthquake," Tracey Truitt, a lawyer who was working in a nearby building, tells the Kansas City Star about an explosion Tuesday evening that leveled a restaurant in the city's Country Club Plaza.

At least 16 people were injured and as of early this morning one person remained missing, the Star says.

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The Two-Way
6:50 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Pistorius's Story Challenged: Witness Heard Screams And Shots, Police Say

South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius in a Pretoria court Wednesday.
EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 12:41 pm

A neighbor has told investigators that he heard "gunshots ... a female screaming two-three times, then more gunshots" coming from the South African home of Oscar Pistorius in the early morning hours of Feb. 14, a police officer testified Wednesday at a bail hearing for the Olympic and Paralympic athlete.

The witness has also told investigators about "non-stop talking" and sounds "like fighting" coming from Pistorius's home between the hours of 2 a.m. and 3 a.m.

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