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Contractor killed in rocket strike near US base in Iraq

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Broken glass is seen at the Bright Castle Motors building after reports of mortar shells landing near Erbil airport, in Erbil, Iraq February 15, 2021.

A rocket attack near a base housing American forces in northern Iraq killed a US-led coalition contractor and wounded at least eight other people on Monday night.

A US service member and two civilians were among the injured in the 9:30 p.m. strike in between the Irbil international airport in the semi-autonomous Kurdish-run territory and the base, authorities said.

Initial reports indicate at least three rockets struck the area.

Coalition spokesman Col. Wayne Marotto said in a statement the attack is under investigation. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the blast.

Marotto did not disclose the nationality of the dead contractor.

Iraqi President Barham Saleh condemned the attack in a statement posted online, calling it a “dangerous escalation.”

Rocket attacks have frequently targeted the US presence in Baghdad, but slowed down late last year ahead of President Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Former President Donald Trump had blamed the attacks on Iran-backed groups.

Last year, tensions soared between the US and Iran when an US drone attack killed top Iranian Gen. Qassim Soleimani.

With Post wires

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Florida snorkeler finds $1.5 million worth of cocaine

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Florida snorkeler finds $1.5 million worth of cocaine

A snorkeler off the Florida Keys found 25 bricks of cocaine on Wednesday, authorities said.

The drugs were contained inside a floating bale and were valued at over $1.5 million, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

The snorkeler alerted authorities to the find.

The snorkeler “noticed a large black bundle wrapped in tape & contacted local authorities,” Chief Border Patrol Agent Thomas Martin wrote on Twitter.

Border Patrol agents responded and retrieved the drugs.

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Texas power operators overcharged companies $16 billion

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Texas power operators overcharged companies $16 billion

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas made a massive error that resulted in $16 billion in overcharges last month when millions of residents were left without power after a historic winter storm, according to a watchdog that oversees the power grid operator.

ERCOT set the maximum price of electricity at $9,000 per megawatt-hour, which caused the massive overcharges from 12 a.m. Feb. 18 to 9 a.m. Feb. 19., Bloomberg reported, citing Texas’ independent market monitor Potomac Economics.

The firm sent a letter to regulators recommending the pricing be corrected and that the $16 billion overcharge should be reversed.

The error also led several electric companies such as EDF Renewable Energy and Just Energy to ask the Public Utility Commission to reset the pricing, and others have asked regulators to waive their payments until the issue was resolved.

“If we don’t act to stabilize things, a worst-case scenario is that people will go under,” Carrie Bivens, a vice president at Potomac Economics, told Bloomberg. “It creates a cascading effect.”

More than 4.5 million customers were left without power during the storm, which claimed the lives of dozens of Texans amid record freezing temperatures.

Four ERCOT board members resigned after coming under fire for not living in the state and for their handling of the power outages.

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Tales of Cuomo’s toxic work environment go back to AG days

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Tales of Cuomo's toxic work environment go back to AG days

Gov. Cuomo created a toxic work environment that dates back at least to his time as state attorney general — and includes rages that can last for days, former aides and associates said Thursday.

Cuomo once chewed out an aide so harshly that “he made her cry,” a source familiar with the incident recalled. “Young people work for him thinking they will rise up with him. Older people are stuck because they need a job and benefits.’’ 

Back when he was AG from 2007 through 2010, Cuomo viciously teed off on a veteran State Police investigator in his 60s who accidentally mispronounced his name as “Como,” according to a source familiar with that incident. 

“What’s my name?” Cuomo thundered in front of a group of people. “How do you pronounce it? Spell it!”

In addition to berating the cop, Cuomo transferred him out of his security detail.

During his 2018 gubernatorial re-election campaign, an insider recalled, Cuomo apparently became “livid” just because his Republican challenger, Marc Molinaro, suddenly appeared at the Manhattan’s Columbus Day Parade and shook his hand.

A Cuomo spokesman said the governor “had a great time at the parade.”

“‎Many of us have been here for years and others have left and come back,“ senior adviser Rich Azzopardi said in a statement. “This job isn’t for everyone but we work hard every day to deliver for New Yorkers, and from a $15 minimum wage, to the strongest gun safety laws in the nation to free public college tuition we’ve cut through the red tape and delivered for New York.”

Meanwhile, the recent allegation by Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Queens) that Cuomo threatened to “destroy” him isn’t the first time the governor has engaged in that sort of intimidation, according to a source who formerly worked with him.

About five years ago, the source said, he heard Cuomo bellowing into a phone, “I will destroy you!”

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