Mark Memmott

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.

As the NPR Ethics Handbook states, the Standards & Practices editor is "charged with cultivating an ethical culture throughout our news operation. This means he or she coordinates regular training and discussion on how we apply our principles and monitors our decision-making practices to ensure we're living up to our standards."

Before becoming Standards & Practices editor, Memmott was one of the hosts of NPR's "The Two-Way" news blog, which he helped to launch when he came to NPR in 2009. It focuses on breaking news, analysis, and the most compelling stories being reported by NPR News and other news media.

Prior to 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 reported from places across the United 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 news blogs: "On Deadline," "The Oval" and "On Politics," the site's 2008 presidential campaign blog.

George Zimmerman, the man charged with second-degree murder in the death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, is going to ask for a "stand your ground" court hearing in an attempt to have the case against him dismissed without ever going to trial.

There's word from the wife of first-man-on-the-moon Neil Armstrong that he's "doing great" after cardiac bypass surgery on Tuesday, NBC News reports.

And that's good, tweets second-man-on-the-moon Buzz Aldrin, because he and Armstrong have "agreed to make it [to] the 50th Apollo Anniv in 2019."

Armstrong turned 82 on Sunday.

There were 361,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, the Employment and Training Administration says. That's down 6,000 from the week before (that previous week's total was revised up by 2,000).

Claims have stayed in a range between 350,000 and 400,000 all year. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, has also varied little: it's low this year has been 8.1 percent and the high has been 8.3 percent.

The numbers keep rising in the Philippines, where monsoons have overwhelmed Manila and other areas.

According to the country's disaster response agency

-- The number of people affected by the devastating rains, flooding and landslides has grown to 2.1 million, up from 1.2 million on Wednesday.

As Syrian President Bashar Assad today chose a replacement for the prime minister who defected earlier this week, there were conflicting reports about just what's happening in the key northern city of Aleppo.

As we said two weeks ago, China's state-controlled media had already concluded that Gu Kailai was guilty of murder even before any sort of a trial.

Today in central China the wife of once-prominent politician Bo Xilai got her day in court.


So, a bear walks into a candy shop.

No, we're not starting a bad joke.

Last week in Estes Park, Colo., a black bear with a sweet tooth took advantage of a candy shop's defective front door to walk in and out seven times over 20 minutes — each time taking some of the treats outside and then coming back in to enjoy more.

Wade Michael Page, the man authorities say killed six people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin on Sunday, appears to have "died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head," FBI Special Agent in Charge Teresa Carlson told reporters in Milwaukee this morning.

After a Oak Creek, Wis., police officer shot Page in the stomach, she said, video from the scene appears to show Page taking his own life.

Update at 5:11 p.m. ET. Back-ToBack:

For his second year in a row, teenager Austin Wierschke has earned the title of fastest texter in the United States.

"Weirschke of Wisconsin, won after eight rounds at the texting competition Wednesday in New York's Times Square," the AP reports. "He gets $50,000 in prize money."