A day after a massacre, Vegas is not quite Vegas

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Investigators load a truck next to a body from the scene of a mass shooting at a music festival near the Mandalay Bay resort and casino on the Las Vegas Strip on Monday, Oct. 2, 2017 in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
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Debris is strewn through the scene of a mass shooting at a music festival near the Mandalay Bay resort and casino on the Las Vegas Strip, Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
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Visitors take in a view of the Las Vegas Strip over the Tropicana Hotel, left, and Mandalay Bay resort and casino, top right, in the aftermath of a mass shooting at a music festival Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
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A broken window is seen at the Mandalay Bay resort and casino Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, on the Las Vegas Strip following a mass shooting at a music festival in Las Vegas. Authorities say Stephen Craig Paddock broke the window and began firing with a cache of weapons, killing dozens and injuring hundreds. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
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Flowers are placed near the scene of a mass shooting at a music festival near the Mandalay Bay resort and casino, top left, on the Las Vegas Strip, Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Updated 03 October 2017

A day after a massacre, Vegas is not quite Vegas

LAS VEGAS: The slot machines were still ringing and the drinks still flowing but the party didn’t feel quite the same along the world-famous Las Vegas Strip on Monday evening, 24 hours after a gunman staged the bloodiest shooting in modern US history.
The somber mood was especially pronounced at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, where police say a retiree with an arsenal of assault rifles rained hundreds of bullets into a crowd of concert-goers below his room, killing at least 59 and injuring more than 500.
A hush had descended over the Mandalay hotel lobby that, in normal times, bustles with excitement at nearly every hour of the day or night. The shrieking gamblers, the bachelorettes with oversized cocktails, the high-rollers spruced up for an expensive evening out, all were nowhere to be seen.
Instead, a few solitary gamblers sat with glassy eyes in front of slot machines in the lobby. Four security officers unceremoniously escorted a Reuters reporter out when she tried to interview a casino guest.
“It’s eerie. People are trying to enjoy it, but there’s a cloud hanging over the city right now,” said Greg Hartnett, 31, who had arrived for his first visit to Vegas earlier in the day.
Hartnett, who lives near the site of the 2007 massacre of 32 people at Virginia Tech university, said Sunday’s rampage reminded him of that bloodbath.
“It really shows the dark side of humanity,” he said.
Vegas cabbie Alex Sanchez said his passengers were much less chatty than usual, and there were many fewer cars on the road.
“People come here for an escape. They want to leave their stresses behind,” Sanchez said. “And this really puts a damper on it.”
Despite the overall gloominess, people along the Strip appeared more ready than on a more carefree day to hold a door or share a quiet smile with strangers.
“I’ve been thanking every police officer I see,” said Hartnett. “I feel like it’s bringing people together.
Sheriffs deputies and their gleaming white motorcycles were parked on the sidewalk in a show of force, perhaps intended to reassure anxious tourists.
“Thanks for last night, guys,” shouted one passing woman.


UK authorities investigate Qatar-owned bank over money laundering controls

Updated 14 sec ago

UK authorities investigate Qatar-owned bank over money laundering controls

LONDON: A British bank owned by Qatar and linked to Islamist organizations is under investigation over its money laundering controls.
The probe into A Rayan by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) was launched last year and earlier this year the bank has been restricted on who it can open deposit accounts for.
The details of the investigation have surfaced weeks after it was reported the bank was providing financial services to numerous organizations linked to Islamist groups.
Among its account holders are groups linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, a charity banned in the US as a terrorist entity, groups that promote hard-line preachers, and a mosque whose trustee is a Hamas leader.
The bank’s annual report filed in May said Al Rayan’s “anti-money laundering (AML) processes and controls have been placed under formal review by the Financial Conduct Authority, which has led to ongoing investment in enhanced AML processes.”
The FCA restrictions mean the bank must not accept or process any new deposit account applications from  a “person categorized as high risk for the purposes of financial crime risk” and “politically exposed persons” or their families and close associates.
Al Rayan, headquartered in Birmingham in central England, is the UK’s largest and oldest Islamic bank. It is 70 percent by Qatar’s Masraf Al Rayan and 30 percent by Qatar Holding.
The FCA says banks are required to “apply risk-based customer due diligence” to prevent their services “being used for money laundering or terrorist financing.” 
Pressure on the Al Rayan comes as Qatar continues to be accused of supporting Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood. Doha’s alleged funding of extremists in the Middle East was central to the decision by Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries to launch a boycott of the tiny emirate in 2017.
Al Rayan did not respond to a request for comment by Arab News.
A spokesperson told The Times newspaper that the bank voluntarily agreed to place a “temporary restriction” on new deposit accounts for certain individuals following discussions with the FCA.