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TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Gov. Chris Christie's critics are seizing on claims from a former loyalist that the Republican governor knew about massive traffic tie-ups near the George Washington Bridge last year as they were happening.

The lawyer for the former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey executive who ordered them said in a letter released Friday that evidence exists that Christie was aware.

No evidence was presented in the letter.

But the allegation contradicts Christie's claim that he was unaware of the jams until after they happened.

They were the result of lane closures that appear to have been politically motivated.

The Democratic National Committee says the allegations mean that Christie could be forced to talk about things other than Sunday's Super Bowl being held in his state.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The search for a home for President Barack Obama's presidential library is officially underway.

With Obama's blessing, top supporters are launching a foundation that will develop and build the library, which will both house his presidential records and serve as a lasting monument to his legacy.

The nonprofit Barack H. Obama Foundation will be led by a close Obama friend from Chicago, Marty Nesbitt, and by a former White House social secretary and top official in his re-election campaign, Julianna Smoot.

A vigorous competition to host the library has already ramped up. The state where Obama was born, Hawaii, and the state where he has lived for decades, Illinois, have been lobbying the Obamas publicly and privately.

New York, where Obama went to college, also has expressed interest.

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NEW YORK (AP) -- The U.S. stock market is opening sharply lower as investors fret over disappointing earnings and more trouble in overseas markets.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 226 points, or 1.4 percent, to 15,625 moments after the market opened Friday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 22 points, or 1.2 percent, to 1,772. The Nasdaq dropped 43 points, or 1.1 percent, to 4,079.

Disappointing results and outlooks from retailers left investors uneasy. Amazon fell 8 percent after it reported earnings that fell short of expectations. Wal-Mart cut its outlook.

Currencies for several countries fell against the dollar as turmoil in emerging markets flared up once again.

It's been a tough January for investors. The Dow is down 5 percent, while the S&P 500 index has lost 4 percent.

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