TRENTON, N.J. (AP) --
CHRISTIE-STATE OF STATE
NEW: Christie proposes longer school day amid scandal
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will propose extending the public school calendar and lengthening the school day in a speech he hopes will help him rebound from an apparent political payback scheme orchestrated by key aides.
In excerpts of his State of the State address obtained by The Associated Press, the early front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination will make a case today that children who spend more time in school graduate better prepared academically.
Christie hopes to regain his footing after being shaken by revelations that staff members orchestrated massive traffic backups near the George Washington Bridge in an apparent political vendetta against a Democratic mayor who wouldn't endorse Christie.
The proposal could antagonize the powerful public teachers union, which has clashed with Christie over tenure reforms.
NEW: Egypt holds key vote on country's new charter
CAIRO (AP) -- Egyptians have started voting on a draft for their country's new constitution that represents a key milestone in a military-backed roadmap put in place after President Mohammed Morsi was overthrown in a popularly backed coup last July.
The two-day balloting, which began today, is a heavy blow to the Muslim Brotherhood's campaign for the reinstatement of Morsi and paves the way for a presidential run by the nation's top general.
A massive security operation is underway to protect polling stations and voters against possible attacks by militants loyal to Morsi.
Shortly before polls opened, an explosive device went off outside a Cairo courthouse. The blast damaged the front of the building but caused no casualties.
CHEMICAL SPILL-WEST VIRGINIA
Water ban lifted for part of W.Va. after spill
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Officials in West Virginia say the tap water is safe to drink for about 15 percent of the 300,000 people affected by a water ban.
Residents in the Charleston metro area were told a few days ago not to use the water because of a chemical spill.
Officials say the roughly 45,000 residents who can now use their running water will have to flush out their systems, but the water may still have a slight licorice odor to it.
Deadly movie theater argument
WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. (AP) -- Witnesses say it started with an argument over texting in a movie theater, and it ended with the death of one moviegoer, who was shot the chest.
Authorities in Wesley Chapel, Fla., have arrested a 71-year-old retired police captain and have charged him with shooting another movie patron.
Police say Curtis Reeves had complained that the other man was texting in the theater.
A witness says eventually the two men argued, popcorn was thrown and Reeves pulled out a gun.
WYOMING FIRING SQUAD
Wyo. lawmaker proposes firing squad for executions
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) -- A Wyoming lawmaker is pushing a bill to use a firing squad as an alternative method of execution for condemned state inmates, in case of constitutional issues with lethal injection or if the drugs are unavailable.
Some states have had problems finding drugs for lethal injections.
Republican State Sen. Bruce Burns says current state law calls for using a gas chamber, but the state doesn't have one and he believes building one isn't worth it. Wyoming has only one inmate on death row.
Burns says a firing squad is cheaper. Utah has allowed inmates to choose the firing squad but is phasing it out.
Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington, D.C., says Wyoming could face constitutional challenges using the firing squad as its only method of execution.
SOUTHWEST AIRLINES-WRONG AIRPORT-PLANE
Wrong airport pilots grounded
DALLAS (AP) -- The pilots of a Southwest Airlines flight that landed at the wrong Missouri airport won't fly again pending internal and federal investigations.
The plane, with 124 passengers, landed at a small airstrip seven miles away from the destination in Branson.
One witness says he smelled burning rubber because the pilot jammed on the brakes so hard. The runway is only about half the length of a standard runway.
Baby trafficker gets death sentence in China
BEIJING (AP) -- A doctor in China has been sentenced to death for baby trafficking.
But the obstetrician has been given a two-year reprieve, after she admitted in court that she stole babies from the hospital where she worked and sold them to human traffickers.
The court says the doctor (Zhang Shuxia) had told parents their newborns had congenital problems and persuaded them to give up their children.