Brian Naylor

NPR News' Brian Naylor is a correspondent on the Washington Desk.

In this role, he covers politics and federal agencies, including transportation and homeland security.

With more than 30 years of experience at NPR, Naylor has served as National Desk correspondent, White House correspondent, congressional correspondent, foreign correspondent and newscaster during All Things Considered. He has filled in as host on many NPR programs, including Morning Edition, Weekend Edition and Talk of the Nation.

During his NPR career, Naylor has covered many of the major world events, including political conventions, the Olympics, the White House, Congress and the mid-Atlantic region. Naylor reported from Tokyo in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, from New Orleans following the BP oil spill, and from West Virginia after the deadly explosion at the Upper Big Branch coal mine.

While covering the U.S. Congress in the mid-1990s, Naylor's reporting contributed to NPR's 1996 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Journalism award for political reporting.

Before coming to NPR in 1982, Naylor worked at NPR Member Station WOSU in Columbus, Ohio, and at a commercial radio station in Maine.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Maine.

President Obama leaves Thursday night on a trip that will take him back to his father's homeland, while at the same time making him the first sitting president to visit two key East African nations: Kenya and Ethiopia.

The president's first stop is Kenya. He will not visit his father's ancestral village, administration officials say, citing security and logistical reasons. But he will meet privately with relatives, who may well include his father's second wife; Obama's step-grandmother, known as Mama Sarah; and his half-sister Auma Obama.

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

The government said Thursday it will make federal marriage benefits available to all same-sex couples.

The Obama administration had previously extended most federal benefits to married same-sex couples. But the federal government could not distribute Social Security and VA benefits to couples living in states where such marriages were prohibited.

Updated at 9:40 p.m. ET

The U.S. government says it's concluded "with high confidence" that the Social Security numbers of 21.5 million people were stolen from government background investigation databases.

The New York Stock Exchange says a planned software update caused Wednesday's system shutdown that halted trading for more than 3.5 hours.

In a statement, the NYSE says its problems began Tuesday night with the rollout of a software release. The exchange says that as customers began connecting after 7 a.m. ET on Wednesday, "there were communication issues between customer gateways and the trading unit with the new release."

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The NYSE says it turns out the gateways were "not loaded with the proper configuration compatible with the new release."

Updated at 3:15 p.m. ET

Trading has resumed on the New York Stock Exchange, after computer related problems forced the exchange to suspend trading for more than three and a half hours.

The exchange "temporarily halted" trading as of 11:32 a.m. ET; trading resumed at approximately 3:10 p.m. ET.

The NYSE released a series of Tweets in which it said the issue was technical and not due to malicious activity:

Big news today from Springfield: The voice of Mr. Burns is returning. Harry Shearer isn't leaving the cast of The Simpsons after all.

Fox, which has aired the show since 1989, said today that it is "proud to confirm that each and every member of the iconic series' voice cast will be returning to the roles they've brought to life since the show's beginnings as a series of animated shorts nearly 30 years ago."

Shearer also provides that voices of Waylon Smithers, Ned Flanders and many other Simpsons characters.

The Obama administration hopes to make solar power more accessible for low- and middle-income Americans. It's announcing a series of moves, including installing more solar energy units in federally subsidized housing, low cost loans for homeowners and a program to help renters.

The federal government Thursday granted recognition to the Pamunkey Indian tribe of Virginia. The tribe, whose members encountered the first permanent English settlers some 400 years ago, had long sought the recognition.

The Pamunkey tribe has just over 200 members, about a quarter of whom live on a reservation near Richmond.

The announcement by the Bureau of Indian Affairs that it would recognize the tribe is "vindication," said tribal Chief Kevin Brown.

BP on Thursday announced an $18.7 billion settlement with the U.S. government, five Gulf Coast states and more than 400 local governments. The agreement comes five years after the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion spewed millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Eleven workers were killed in the accident.

The company says the payments, to be made over the next 18 years, "settle all state and local claims arising from the event."

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