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
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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.


Donald Trump to declare ‘national emergency’ to fund US-Mexico border wall

Updated 1 min 2 sec ago
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Donald Trump to declare ‘national emergency’ to fund US-Mexico border wall

  • Trump’s plan, announced by the White House on a chaotic political day Thursday, alarmed US lawmakers
  • Signing the spending bill will bring an end to a rolling, two-month battle over government funding

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump will declare a national emergency Friday to fund his long-sought US-Mexico border wall, after agreeing to a measure that prevents a new government shutdown but excludes the billions he demanded for the barrier.

His announcement of his intentions came on the same day as he said he would state his case on Daesh "within 24 hours," as well as making statements about North Korea and future trade with Britain.

Trump’s border plan, announced by the White House on a chaotic political day Thursday, alarmed US lawmakers, including those in his Republican Party who warn that the move would set a dangerous precedent, and Democrats who fumed about an abuse of presidential power.

The massive spending measure will keep federal agencies operational through September 30 — a relief for lawmakers who had fretted about the possibility of a second crippling shutdown this year.

But it falls wells short of the $5.7 billion that Trump has been demanding for a wall on the 2,000-mile (3,200-kilometer) southern border, and Trump’s emergency declaration would help him bypass Congress and get the money that lawmakers refused to give him.

Signing the spending bill will bring an end to a rolling, two-month battle over government funding.

But by declaring an emergency, Trump opens a new confrontation — and creates some of the riskiest legal peril of his term.

Trump has been demanding for a wall on the 2,000-mile (3,200-kilometer) southern border

Under the National Emergencies Act, the president can declare a national emergency, providing a specific reason for it.

That allows the activation of any of hundreds of dormant emergency powers under other laws, which can permit the White House to declare martial law, suspend civil liberties, expand the military, seize property and restrict trade, communications and financial transactions.

Recent presidents — including Trump — have used emergency powers on such issues. But the expectation that Trump will use the authority to raid billions of dollars from government accounts for the funding of a wall is sounding alarm bells on Capitol Hill.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Trump’s Democratic nemesis in Congress, said declaring such a national emergency would be “a lawless act (and) a gross abuse of the power of the presidency.”

Members of her caucus were “reviewing our options” about how to respond to Trump’s move, she told reporters Thursday.

“I’m not advocating for any president doing an end run around Congress,” Pelosi added.

“I’m just saying that the Republicans should have some dismay about the door that they are opening, the threshold they are crossing.”

Members of the migrant caravan that has made its way from central America to the US-Mexico border

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he backs the president’s emergency intent, but several others in the Republican camp have expressed deep reservations.

“I have concerns about the precedent that could be set with the use of emergency action to re-appropriate funds,” veteran Republican Senator Chuck Grassley said in a statement.

Senator Susan Collins said it “would be a mistake” for the president to declare such an emergency, warning it would “undermine” lawmakers’ all-important role as holders of federal purse strings.

Article 1 of the US Constitution states Congress gets to decide how money is appropriated. Many lawmakers have said they have no idea where Trump will draw the funding from.

Democrats in particular have signaled that the move would open the door to future presidents declaring emergencies on various topics, from gun violence to climate change to the opioid crisis.

There is broad expectation that Trump’s move would be challenged in court.

And House Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler expressed support for a joint congressional resolution of disapproval to “terminate” Trump’s emergency declaration.

Such a move has a chance of passing both chambers of Congress, but Trump would almost certainly veto it.

Lawmakers could try to override the veto with a two-thirds majority but that would be tough going in the Senate, where several Republicans may not wish to cross the president.

The spending measure includes only $1.375 billion for border barriers or fencing, far from the $5.7 billion that Trump has sought for his long-promised border wall — a demand that led to the recent 35-day government shutdown, the longest in US history.