Frank James joined NPR News in April 2009 to launch the blog, "The Two-Way," with co-blogger Mark Memmott.

"The Two-Way" is the place where NPR.org gives readers breaking news and analysis — and engages users in conversations ("two-ways") about the most compelling stories being reported by NPR News and other news media.

James came to NPR from the Chicago Tribune, where he worked for 20 years. In 2006, James created "The Swamp," the paper's successful politics and policy news blog whose readership climbed to a peak of 3 million page-views a month.

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Middle East
2:31 pm
Tue October 18, 2011

Freed Israeli Soldier Seeks Return To 'Quiet Life'

Released Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit (second from right), walks with Israeli Defense Minster Ehud Barak (left), Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (second from left) and Israeli Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, at the Tel Nof Air base in southern Israel on Tuesday. Shalit was freed after more than five years of captivity in the Gaza Strip.

Israel Defense Ministry AP

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 10:19 am

In a dramatic day that took him from captivity in the Gaza Strip to his home village in northern Israel, soldier Gilad Shalit was freed Tuesday after more than five years as a prisoner of Palestinian militants.

His release was cause for celebration in Israel, and nowhere more so than in Mitzpe Hila, where he was welcomed by several hundred neighbors and close friends who had long pressed for his release.

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Jason Beaubien is NPR's Global Health and Development Correspondent on the Science Desk.

In this role, he reports on a range of health issues across the world including the mobilization of massive circumcision drives in Kenya; how Botswana, with one of the highest rates of HIV in the world, has managed to provide free, life-saving drugs to almost all who need them; and why Brazil's once model HIV/AIDS program is seen in decline.

Prior to moving into this assignment in 2012, Beaubien spent four years a NPR foreign correspondent covering Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. From his base in Mexico City, Beaubien filed stories on politics in Cuba, hurricanes in Haiti, the FMLN victory in El Salvador, the world's richest man and Mexico's brutal drug war.

Sports
2:06 pm
Tue October 18, 2011

Analysts Point To Several Factors In Wheldon's Death

When the race cars began to collide Sunday on the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Dr. Terry Trammell immediately muted his television. He watched in silence to focus on the signs of injury based on car positions and how the safety crew was responding. When he saw the helicopter arrive, he knew that someone was severely injured. Dan Wheldon, a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, was pronounced dead two hours later.

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Latin America
2:01 pm
Tue October 18, 2011

In Mexico, Tourism Survives Bloody Drug War

Mexico has launched a publicity blitz to attract more tourists. The vast majority of tourists travel to just one of a half-dozen destinations in Mexico — including Cancun, shown here last year — far from the drug violence.

Gustavo Graf Bloomberg via Getty Images

Yes, the drug war has created an image problem. But Mexico has launched an aggressive publicity blitz to try to attract more tourists, and it seems to be succeeding.

Even President Felipe Calderon is involved in the full court press to tout the wonders, delicacies and marvels of Mexico to potential visitors.

On the PBS program The Royal Tour of Mexico, Calderon serves as the on-camera guide for TV host Peter Greenberg. The president leads a zip-line tour across a rain forest, rappels into a cave, climbs Mayan ruins and snorkels along a coral reef.

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It's All Politics
1:57 pm
Tue October 18, 2011

GOP Las Vegas Debate Finds Focus On Cain As Romney Cruises

Mitt Romney and Nevada Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki (r) take photos with supporters as Romney opens his state headquarters in Las Vegas, October 17, 2011.

Ethan Miller Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 18, 2011 7:09 pm

As Republican presidential candidates gird for their eighth debate, this one in Las Vegas, Nev., Tuesday evening, a central question is: how will the Herman Cain phenomenon shape the event?

With the one-time pizza company CEO near or at the top of the GOP field depending on which poll you consult, he's likely to draw more attention from the other candidates at the debate than was true in any of their previous meetings. The two-hour debate will be carried by CNN at 8 pm ET.

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The Two-Way
1:50 pm
Tue October 18, 2011

Police: BlackBerry Outage Led To Fewer Traffic Accidents In Abu Dhabi

Damien Meyer AFP/Getty Images

As Mark has reported, BlackBerry users faced a text messaging outage for three days straight last week. Yesterday, BlackBerry offered some customers $100 in free apps as an apology.

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U.S.
1:09 pm
Tue October 18, 2011

Maine Strained By Use Of Cocaine-Like 'Bath Salts'

Although Shane Heathers was warned about the dangers of using synthetic stimulants known as bath salts, he said he wanted to try the drug anyway. He injected it day and night for a week before he ended up at the hospital. Several more bath salts binges followed.

Jay Field for NPR

Originally published on Tue October 18, 2011 9:48 pm

States across the country continue to fight the spread of a dangerous new drug: bath salts.

They aren't anything like those soothing crystals you pour into the tub — they're synthetic stimulants, so-called designer drugs that cause paranoid, psychotic, often violent behavior in users.

Bath salts can still be purchased legally in some states and, in some cases, over the Internet.

Read more
Law
1:01 pm
Tue October 18, 2011

Businesses Push Back On Foreign Bribery Law

One of the federal government's few success stories when it comes to policing corporate crime in recent years comes from a post-Watergate law called the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA.

Prosecutors have used the law to get more than $1 billion in bribery fines out of huge companies like Siemens and DaimlerChrysler.

But now the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is pushing back: It has hired former Justice Department leaders to make the case that the law is out of date.

Critics: Law Has Huge Consequences

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