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Rockets Fired from Gaza, Israel Responds with Airstrikes; North Korea Test Fires Short-Range Projectiles; Investigators Recover Flight Data Recorder from Boeing 737 that Slid into Florida River; Rebuilding Notre Dame; Juan Guaido Urges Military to Abandon Maduro; Thai King Grants Titles to Royal Court; Country House Wins Kentucky Derby. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired May 5, 2019 - 04:00   ET




GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Israel retaliates with a wave of attacks on targets in Gaza after hundreds of rockets are unleashed by militants.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): North Korea conducts a new round of weapons tests but President Trump doesn't seem worried, touting his relationship with Kim Jong-un.

HOWELL (voice-over): Also ahead at this hour, an unprecedented drama at the Kentucky Derby. The winner is disqualified, giving the trophy to the second place finisher.

That was a surprise to a lot of people.

ALLEN (voice-over): We'll dig down into that one. Welcome to our viewers in the U.S. and around the world, coming to live from Atlanta. I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL (voice-over): I'm George Howell. Welcome to CNN World Headquarters. NEWSROOM starts now.


HOWELL: 4:00 am on the U.S. East Coast. Tensions are playing out on two fronts. Between North Korea and South Korea. The U.S. scrambling to calm tensions that are playing out in the Middle East.

Let's first talk about the situation in North Korea. A new weapons test has put relations in jeopardy. South Korea is urging North Korea to stand down as President Trump seeks to affirm the relationship with Kim Jong-un, saying he is with Kim.

ALLEN: There's also been a massive flare-up of violence between Israel and Gaza militants. They've been trading fire, with deaths reported on both sides. The White House says the president's son-in- law is working on a peace plan. But many fear the Jared Kushner approach will not be enough. HOWELL: Let's start in Israel. Our Oren Liebermann is on the story.

We know that one man has died in the most recent rocket attacks by Gaza militants.

What is behind the latest attacks?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: George and Natalie, we've been standing along the Israel-Gaza border. At any point, if you stood here for 10 or 15 minutes, you would see a barrage of rocket fire or an interception from Israel's Iron Dome or an Israeli airstrike.

This now, the past hour or so, hour and a half, is the first time in the last 24 hours I will stand here and say there appears to be a lull in the fighting.

Is this a lull because there's about to be a restoration of a cease- fire?

Or is this a break in hostilities and we'll see more rocket fire and airstrikes?

That answer is coming. The Israeli military says more than 430 rockets have been fired. Short range rockets and more powerful rockets. They have targeted some of the major cities like Be'er Sheva and Ashdod, some of the major cities in Southern Israel.

In that rocket fire a 50-year-old man was killed in Ashkelon, a city north of Gaza. It is the first Israeli killed by Gaza rocket fire since the end of the 2014 war and a second person overall. Important to note that back in November during another round of fighting, a Palestinian man was killed in Ashkelon.

Israel has carried out a wave of airstrikes against targets, hitting more than 200 targets of what they say are Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad military targets inside Gaza.

In those airstrikes and attacks, the Palestinian ministry of health says six people have been killed, including a 1-year-old baby girl and her pregnant mother. Israel denies it was behind the attack that killed those two, saying instead that it was Hamas' malfunction of one of their missiles that killed the baby girl and their mother.

To this point we'll see what happens here. We have seen the fighting and it has escalated from smaller targets to more powerful rockets from Gaza as well as larger targets struck from Israel.

The Israeli military saying they have attacked the houses of militant operatives, saying there were military operations from them. So that, too, an escalation of action on Israel's side.

We will see how this day develops. It was a very volatile day across the border on Saturday. We'll see if that continues today or if Egyptian and U.N. efforts to restore a cease-fire are successful.

HOWELL: Is there any sense of the timeline? Obviously things are volatile now but a sense of how long it could take before things de-escalate for either side to stand down?

LIEBERMANN: Normally we've seen these rounds of fighting de-escalate in about 24 or 48 hours. That's been the norm over the past year when we've seen these sharp escalations. It is important to note that over the past few weeks there has been relative calm between Israel and Gaza, since before the Israeli elections in early April.

This escalation started on Friday, when Israel says a sniper from inside Gaza wounded two Israeli soldiers.


LIEBERMANN: An Israeli response was a strike that hit a military post. Two members of Hamas' military wing were killed. That Friday led to all the fighting we've seen Saturday. We know Egypt and the U.N. are trying to mediate between all sides to restore a cease-fire. And it will be at some point restored; the question is how quickly and how much more fighting until that cease-fire is restored -- George.

HOWELL: Oren Liebermann, thank you.

Now to the situation playing out in North Korea. Months after the failed summit between its leader and the U.S. president, Kim Jong-un is back to firing weapons. State media called this a strike drill, a drill personally overseen by the North Korean leader himself.

They say long range rocket launches were tested on Saturday along with tactical guided weapons.

ALLEN: South Korean officials are downplaying that part. They say the projectiles were short range and crashed into the sea. Still North Korea is treating this as a victory. Here's the country's so called Pink Lady announcing the test on state TV.


RI CHUN HEE, NORTH KOREAN ANCHOR (through translator): Kim Jong-un, chairman of the Workers Party of Korea, guided the strength drill of defense units in the forefront area and on the Eastern front which took place in the East Sea of Korea. Watching the drill together with him were cadres of the central committee of the Workers Party of Korea, including Kim Pyong-hae, O Su-yong, Ri Kim-tern (ph) and Cho Yong-won.


ALLEN: The U.S. president is apparently trying to calm fears on Twitter while boasting about his diplomatic skills.

HOWELL: This as U.S. national security officials meet to figure out what to do about the North. Mr. Trump says he has faith in North Korea's leader. Our Boris Sanchez has this report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A stunning response from the White House, especially when you consider the way that President Trump had previously responded to provocations from North Korea.

Remember Little Rocket Man or "fire and fury, the likes of which the world had never seen," this is a much more subdued response from the White House.

Part of it is that the president wants to maintain a good personal working relationship with Kim Jong-un. He believes that, by charming him personally with the promise of economic prosperity for North Korea, he can sway Kim to abandon this generations-long quest to arm North Korea with nuclear weapons.

Some experts believe that is unlikely. Nevertheless, it's what the president is trying to do on Twitter, making a personal appeal to Kim Jong-un.

Trump writing this, quote, "Anything in this very interesting world is possible but I believe that Kim Jong-un fully realizes the great economic potential of North Korea and will do nothing to interfere or end it. He also knows that I am with him and does not want to break his promise to me. Deal will happen."

Despite aggressive steps by Kim Jong-un, President Trump remaining optimistic that he could strike a deal to denuclearize North Korea, though we should pay attention to that portion of the tweet, where the president says that Kim Jong-un knows that he is with him.

It will be curious to see how some of the United States' allies in that region, Japan and South Korea, respond to that statement and also the parents of Otto Warmbier, that American that died, having been returned to the United States after having been held in captivity in North Korea for some time.

His parents have been very critical of President Trump's personal relationship with Kim Jong-un in the past -- Boris Sanchez, CNN, at the White House.


ALLEN: Let's talk about it with Andrew Stevens.

Let's talk about reaction in a moment. First, let's talk about the launches themselves.

What were they and what message does North Korea seem to be sending with this?

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN ASIA PACIFIC EDITOR: Well, the message seems to be quite clear, Natalie, that North Korea is frustrated and unhappy that it is not making any headway at all on negotiations with the U.S. about a denuclearized zone in the Korean Peninsula, mainly because North Korea wants sanctions relief.

It needs sanctions relief to get the economy back on its -- some sort of standing by itself but it's not just seeing any of that at the moment.

Kim Jong-un had gone to the second summit with Donald Trump in Hanoi in February, expecting to see the U.S. move on sanctions in some type of form. Donald Trump walked away. Nothing was delivered there.

And we've seen this slow but steady buildup of frustration, if you like, from North Korea. They've been sharply critical of what was seen as a very low level military drill between the U.S. and South Korea.

They've been accusing the U.S. of acting in bad faith on that Hanoi summit. Very careful not to mention Donald Trump by name, though, the two leaders still professing, as we've heard, to have a close relationship. But it is clear this --


STEVENS: -- is a signal to the U.S. that North Korea's patience is running out, Natalie. We know that the North has given the U.S. a deadline, which is the end of the year, to come back with a deal to see sort of sanctions relief for North Korea.

ALLEN: So let's talk more about the region's response. We know South Korea and Japan closely watching whatever Kim Jong-un does. We saw that tweet from President Trump, a rosy tweet, saying Kim knows he's with him, meaning the president stands with Kim and has faith in the North Korean leader.

What do people in the region think about the president's overtures?

Are they constructive?

STEVENS: It was extraordinary, if you put it in context with tweets not that long ago from Trump talking about North Korean leader. But there has been a muted response and certainly no direct response to that tweet from Donald Trump.

Probably the strongest we've heard has come from the South Koreans, which is not surprising, Natalie. President Moon Jae-in voicing serious concerns that the North Koreans were violating the treaty that the two Koreas were working towards to de-escalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

The Japanese have been pretty quiet about it. That is, in part, due to the fact that the Japanese and South Korean foreign ministers did have calls. There's a lot of diplomatic activity on the telephone between the U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo, South Korea and Japan, at which they agree to have a prudent response to the North Koreans.

And another point worth mentioning here, Natalie, is that North Korea imposed a self-imposed moratorium on missile testing and nuclear testing back last year. But that was for long-range missile testing, intercontinental ballistic missiles, missiles capable of hitting the U.S. What we have seen in the latest launch is guided missiles. They were

short range, up to 200 miles. They haven't seen the moratorium being broken but it is ramping up the tensions, Natalie.

ALLEN: Certainly. We appreciate your insights, Andrew Stevens. Thank you, Andrew.

HOWELL: Let's talk about this now with Natasha Lindstaedt, a professor of government at the University of Essex, joining us from Colchester, England.

Good to have you, Natasha.


HOWELL: These launches, as we mentioned, do not violate Kim Jong-un's promise not to test long-range missiles but it seems North Korea is saying to Washington the ball is in your court.

How important is it now for the Trump administration to get things moving with the continued talks and negotiations?

LINDSTAEDT: I think actually, in Trump's defense, any U.S. leader is in a very difficult spot in dealing with North Korea and, in fact, there really hasn't been any U.S. leader that has been able to get much out of the North Koreans.

They have been difficult to deal with because historically what their strategy has been is to push things to the brink, test missiles, really try to provoke almost and get to the point where they can negotiate and they use all of these provocations as leverage to get to the negotiating table.

The issue is for Trump to negotiate with the North Koreans, they will have to alleviate some of the sanctions. And they may have to do that before the North Koreans are willing to do anything regarding dampening or decreasing their nuclear activity.

And that is really, really risky to do. I think U.S. policymakers would not advise the U.S. to give in too much to the North Koreans because they have had a history on reneging on agreements, going back to the 2006 party talks, where they agreed to certain activity and then they violated it.

In this particular instance, Trump is in a really, really difficult situation. He may want to push forward and get to the negotiating table again. But it's really only China that has most of the leverage in trying to get the North Koreans to stop this type of activity.

HOWELL: Between the two countries, things have clearly stalled for the most part. Satellite imagery also suggests nuclear imagery continues in North Korea. All of this hinging on the relationship between Kim Jong-un and President Trump, with Mr. Trump saying on Twitter that Kim knows that I am with him and that he does not want to break his promise to him.

The question to you, what is the plus-minus in this situation becoming so personal between these two men?

LINDSTAEDT: Well, on the plus side this means that the North Koreans and the U.S. have been meeting more than they had in --


LINDSTAEDT: -- previous administrations and we have to think that engagement of any type might be a good thing because it's better than not engaging at all.

Not engaging at all hasn't led to much, if any, change. The issue is if it leads to the U.S. making bad decisions, trusting the North Koreans without evidence that they have been willing to actually make some meaningful changes to their nuclear program.

Now it looks like that there's a big difference between Trump's personal relationship with Kim and what the State Department wants to do. The State Department appears to be much more cautious and unwilling to make an overture.

But it's really unchartered waters for the U.S. We've never had a U.S. president that had a good or thought they had a good working relationship with the North Korean leader. It's possible that it could lead to the advantage of more negotiations but the issue is the U.S. doesn't have that much leverage over North Korea. There is no trade that takes place and, in comparison, countries like Russia and China have a little bit more leverage that they may be able to use to get the North Koreans to stop escalating things.

HOWELL: You've mentioned Russia and China goes to my third question for you. This is happening a week after he met with Russian president Vladimir Putin and he spent time with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Is it conceivable to believe that North Korea may be more emboldened to push for what it wants, the lifting of U.S. sanctions, given the support of the neighbors?

LINDSTAEDT: What it's trying to do with its relationship with Russia -- it's always had a close relationship with Chinese -- is to show the U.S. there are other players involved, there are other main actors it can have a relationship with.

In the summit with Russia, the North is hoping the Russians can push for alleviating the sanctions. They're hoping they can get more food aid and they're hoping they can get a little bit more investment, a little bit more trade.

They continue to have at least 10,000 people that live in Russia and hope they can have these laborers stay in Russia. So for the North, these relationships with Russia and China become more and more and more important.

Whether it's emboldened them, we don't know. We do know the North Korean regime has been more emboldened since Kim Jong-un took over. He's executed way more missile tests than his father, he's been much more aggressive in terms of his overall personality. He's much more of a risk taker than the Kim dynasty had been in the past.

So I think we're going to continue to see him pushing the envelope until he gets some sanctions relief.

HOWELL: Natasha Lindstaedt giving us some perspective this day. Thank you.

LINDSTAEDT: Thanks for having me.

ALLEN: Coming up here, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Students are getting a shot at making an addition to one of the world's most iconic landmarks. We'll explain that ahead.

Also --


DARWING SILVA, PASSENGER: At the moment of impact, I went forward. I had my seat belt on. I hit my head on top of the roof.


HOWELL: Hear from a man who endured Friday's plane accident in Florida. We'll have his story as well as the latest on the crash investigation. You're watching NEWSROOM.






HOWELL: In the U.S. state of Florida, investigators are looking into the flight data recorder of a plane that crash-landed in Jacksonville.

ALLEN: They're trying to figure out what caused this Boeing 737 to skid off the runway and right into a river. It was carrying 143 people from the U.S. military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The good news: everyone on board survived. For more about the crash, here's CNN's Rosa Flores in Florida.


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The NTSB is on scene here in Jacksonville, Florida. And they say that their preliminary assessment indicates that this flight coming in from Guantanamo Bay overran the runway, impacted the low-level seawall and ended up in the shallow waters of the St. John's River.

Now the NTSB is looking at multiple factors. First of all, the aircraft. The flight data recorder has been recovered. The cockpit voice recorder has not been recovered because it is submerged underwater and it is still unclear when that aircraft will be removed from the waters of the St. John's River.

Those two pieces of equipment are key in telling the story of what happened. They will also be looking at some human factors. They will be investigating the crew and the pilots.

What were they doing in the past 72 hours?

And then finally also the environment, the weather, what was happening at that time?

We do know that there were reports of thunderstorms and lightning.

In about two weeks, the NTSB is due to release a preliminary report and we should know more at that point in time. The good news here is that the 140-plus passengers are safe.

The bad news is that while authorities are not saying that the pets on board have perished, they are saying that none of the crates or kennels are above water -- Rosa Flores, CNN, Jacksonville, Florida.


ALLEN: We are hearing from the passengers who survived that plane crash.

HOWELL: That's right. One Florida man says that he was in an exit row seat when the plane slid into the river. He spoke with CNN affiliate WSVN in Miami about how he got out of that plane. Listen.


SILVA: So at the moment of impact, I went forward. I had my seat belt on. I hit my head on top of the roof. I kind of landed. I just remember feeling water. I was the first one out. I was on the wing. Once I noticed I was on the wing and I noticed it was only water, I'm not a big swimmer, so I kind of got even more -- a little shaken up.


HOWELL: He also says that he went back into the plane and helped a woman put on her life --


HOWELL: -- jacket before assisting a man who had been injured.

My goodness.

ALLEN: We want to turn now to a massive explosion that rocked a town in Illinois Friday night, killing two people and leaving three others injured. Two people are still missing. The blast occurred 40 miles north of Chicago at a plant that manufactures silicone chemicals.

Authorities are working to determine the cause. The explosion affected at least five other nearby buildings. Damage estimated at more than $1 million. HOWELL: In France, you'll remember the fire at the beautiful Notre Dame cathedral. It was terrible to see. When France rebuilds that cathedral, it won't look the same. The competition is now underway to redesign parts of that iconic building.

ALLEN: And it is attracting hopeful architects from around the world, including a group of American students. Here's Ben Wedeman in Paris.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Pencil on paper, it's very old school, yet perhaps it's the best way to capture the scorched majesty of Paris' 800 year old Notre Dame cathedral.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced an international competition to redesign the roof and 300-foot spire the flames destroyed. The task the government, flush with around a billion dollars in donations, hopes to finish in five years.

Architecture students from Notre Dame, the university in the U.S. state of Indiana, are here to draw and study this medieval marvel. They plan to join the competition.

Texas native Ethan Scott hasn't come up with a specific idea just yet. But he was thinking...

ETHAN SCOTT, ARCHITECTURE STUDENT, UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME: Gothic. It could be bigger, it could be gilded, it could be stone, it could be marble but I think something that respects what is still there.

WEDEMAN (voice-over): A balance between old and the new is what's needed, says classmate Jessica Most from San Diego, California.

JESSICA MOST, ARCHITECTURE STUDENT, UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME: I think it's important to also stay relevant to what historically was there as well as keeping it modern.

WEDEMAN (voice-over): Keeping it modern, however, has its limits. Already some designers have posted their ideas online; some are interesting.

Notre Dame Architecture student Mary Repsinski, from Boston, Massachusetts, puts it this way.


WEDEMAN: Paris-based heritage architect Marie Anne Tek is confident sober heads will prevail. In a masterpiece like Notre Dame, which took a hundred years to be built, won't be rebuilt in a rush.

"It's not a train station, it's not a museum," she tells me. "It's a special place and I believe we should provide this special place all the means necessary to express itself with genius and audacity."

The outlines of genius have long been there. It will just take a brilliant mind to fill in what the fire erased -- Ben Wedeman, CNN, Paris.


HOWELL: So well told by our Ben Wedeman, so many different ideas about how that cathedral could look. It's going to be interesting.

ALLEN: Absolutely.

Coming up here, Venezuela's opposition once again tries to win military support but those efforts are met with resistance. And that right there is a show of that resistance. We'll explain here in a moment.





ALLEN: All right. We're already 30 minutes in.

How did that happen?

Welcome back to our viewers in the U.S. and around the world. This is CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL: I'm George Howell with the headlines.


HOWELL: Venezuela's national assembly leader is again trying to convince the military to defect from president Nicolas Maduro.

ALLEN: Juan Guaido called for more rallies Saturday, hoping to win over the armed forces. His supporters gathered at military bases and handed letters to soldiers, urging them to switch sides but there was some resistance, as you can see right here. One service members burned the offer letter. Here's how one protester reacted.


MARIA MARTINEZ, GUAIDO SUPPORTER (through translator): We are not at war. We, simply Venezuelan citizens, are in civil rebellion, which is different, civil rebellion. All Venezuelans are here because we have the need to make our claims. We have a right.


HOWELL: In the meantime President Maduro spent part of the day at a military training base. He was rallying with his military there, getting support from cadets who are loyal to him.

ALLEN: Let's start right there with that video and talking with our guest, Kevin Middlebrook, who is a professor of Latin American politics at University College in London.

Thank you for giving us your time. We just saw that video of Maduro rousing his troops. Somehow he holds on. There have been defections but largely the military continues to stand with him.

Why is that?

KEVIN MIDDLEBROOK, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON: Well, there are many possible reasons. One of them right now is the role that the United States is playing in how it's conducting itself tactically.

When the Trump administration talks about all options being on the table and Lindsey Graham, senator from South Carolina, talks about a request of a U.S. aircraft carrier off the coast of Venezuela, it heightens the Venezuelan nationalism.

I can't imagine there's anyone --


MIDDLEBROOK: -- who wears the uniform of the Venezuelan armed forces who doesn't react negatively to the threat of a U.S. invasion or use of armed force in some way. That at least, in the short term, bolsters Maduro. It also runs the risk of undercutting Guaido because he increasingly looks like a U.S. puppet in this effort.

When he declared himself president in January, there were about 14 Latin American countries that backed him. They've now really fallen into the background. There's a larger number worldwide who do back him worldwide but this is increasingly becoming a U.S. show.

And that makes it much more problematic for him to actually come across as an autonomous leader of a proposed democratic transition.

ALLEN: Right.

With that challenge, what else can Guaido do at this point?

Is he running out of options?

MIDDLEBROOK: Well, he and his U.S. allies and others have come up with new and different options at different times. But, yes, the defeat of this attempted military overthrow last Tuesday has, at least in the short term, hurt the opposition.

It's very hard for him to persuade his people to come onto the streets in large numbers successively if there's no prospect that anything is going to change in the short term.

ALLEN: What, if anything, else can the U.S. do not to look like it is the only player here in the region and anything short of, say, military intrusion?

And what does Russia being in the mix do to the equation?

MIDDLEBROOK: Well, the Russian presence complicates things. It doesn't appear there's much the Russian government can do to block what the U.S. is attempting. There are several hundred Russian troops in Venezuela.

I suppose in the worst case scenario they would act as a trip wire against any U.S. use of military force. But it simply gives Russia a role to play in the Western Hemisphere that it had not previously had in some 30 years.

That, of course, makes President Putin look better. The United States has done what it can in terms of strong economic sanctions now. The hope is it will produce a result because, increasingly, the sanctions do worsen the humanitarian crisis, do hurt average Venezuelans.

Again, these are tactics that has the U.S. fingerprint all over them. So it really plays into the argument that Hugo Chavez, now Nicolas Maduro, have always made, that all of Venezuela's economic problems have been because of the U.S. hostility. That's not really been the case up until the last couple of months. But now it does increasingly ring true and that does not ease things.

ALLEN: Do you see this as in a stall?

MIDDLEBROOK: It is temporarily stalled. I would -- what I would love to see is for Latin American nations to be given a much more prominent role in trying to negotiate a settlement, some kind of a transition here.

The longer the stagnation persists, the greater the risk of real social violence accompanying any transition. Everyone is focused on the military. That is the most important actor right now.

There are anywhere from 200,000 to more than 1 million armed militia members in Venezuela. These are people very committed to the Chavez and Maduro project. They will not easily stand by, even if the top military agrees, these people will not easily stand by and allow Guaido and his alliance to come to power without some resistance.

So the longer this stagnation or paralysis goes on, the worse the odds are not good for anyone.

ALLEN: Right. It's so unfortunate. Kevin Middlebrook joining us from London. Thank you.


HOWELL: A new chapter unfolds in Thailand's long and colorful history. It is the first coronation of a king in nearly 70 years. We'll go live to Bangkok to explain what is happening right now.

ALLEN: Also, you probably heard about it. The Kentucky Derby never had a finish like this. The horse that won, well, he didn't win. More about that coming up.




HOWELL: Pope Francis is in Bulgaria, kicking off a three-day visit there. His vision for Macedonia is to improve relations with the Eastern Orthodox Church. It's a sensitive task. The two do not get along. Catholics are a tiny minority in the two Balkan nations.

ALLEN: The pope will visit a refugee camp and meet with Orthodox leaders. In Macedonia he will visit the birthplace of Mother Teresa and focus on outreach to the poor.

We turn now to Thailand. A three-day coronation of the king is approaching one of its most important events. A grand parade through the streets outside of the royal palace.

HOWELL: It will be the moment when the public gets to see the king in person for the first time as he visits several important Buddhist temples.

ALLEN: On Saturday after becoming Thailand's sovereign ruler, the king received the sacred objects of his office. That included a heavy crown of gold and diamonds.

HOWELL: The actual moment of his coronation was the presentation of this nine-tiered silk umbrella that symbolizes the physical and spiritual protection he brings to his people. Our Will Ripley has been following it all.

We have seen so many of these intricate rituals play out. Tell us now, the new king is being celebrated throughout Bangkok.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there, George and Natalie. Yes, what we are expecting to see through the streets over the next more than four hours is the kind of opulent celebration in a monarchy that is very rare to find anywhere in the world these days.

But it is alive and well in Thailand. The new king, Maha Vajiralongkorn, will be carried through the streets by a group of soldiers. He will be on a palanquin, his throne. It will be lifted up by a group of men and he will be carried through the streets.

The temperatures are upwards of 36 degrees or 100 degrees Fahrenheit. So it's hot and yet people are out here. The crowds are definitely bigger than what we saw yesterday. We continue to stand at the southwest corner of the grand palace.

Yesterday it was quite sparse and quite hot. A lot of people might have been watching the ceremonies inside the grand palace on the livestream. We don't have the numbers of how many people were watching the broadcast on the Internet.


RIPLEY: We see lots of people, everybody who passed through the extensive security checkpoint is wearing the auspicious color of yellow. That is the color of the monarchy, that people in Thailand wear when they support the monarchy.

We did hear yesterday the first order from the new king. It was short and it was sweet and we'll play it for you now.


MAHA VAJIRALONGKORN, KING OF THAILAND (through translator): I shall continue, preserve and build upon the royal legacy and shall reign with righteousness for the benefit and happiness of the people forever.


RIPLEY: This kind of ceremony is something the new king has relied upon in the 2.5 years since the death of his father in 2016. He has not been as hands-on on the ground in Thailand as his father. He spends a lot of his time in Munich, Germany, where he has a residence and lives and has lived for the most of the time over a number of years.

He is here now. He does exert his influence over the political system, the Thai king is not just a figurehead but a vital figure entrusted with keeping his party unified in a time of fractious political division ever since military coup in 2014.

In fact, just days from now, Thailand will learn the results of an election that was held back in March. It's a very divisive election. It will be up to the king to try to maintain stability and unity. And ceremonies like this, George and Natalie, they help to project the legitimacy and authority of the monarch which is why they're spending $30 million to pull off a very grand and opulent ceremony to the new king's coronation.

HOWELL: Will, the people have had many decades to know his father. So these rituals important, as you say, for people to get a sense of who he is. Will Ripley, live for us in Bangkok. Thank you.

ALLEN: Coming up here, America's most famous horse race finishing in controversial and spectacular fashion. Why this year's Derby was unlike any before, at least for many decades. That's coming next.





HOWELL: You are looking there at the winner of this year's Kentucky Derby, Country House, but it was how he won that has shocked horse racing world.

ALLEN: Right. The famous race ended in dramatic fashion Saturday after the winning horse, Maximum Security, was disqualified for committing a foul on the track. Second place finisher, Country House, was then declared the winner. CNN's Patrick Snell explains more about it.


PATRICK SNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is without question one of the biggest occasions on the U.S. sporting calendar. The 145th running of the Kentucky Derby which took place on Saturday, the famous horse race, it dates all the way back to 1875.

It's known as the greatest two minutes in sport. But as it turned out, this year's version would not only prove to be highly controversial in its outcome but truly historic as well.

Here's what happened amid all the soggy conditions at Churchill Downs. It appeared as though one of the pre-race favorites, Maximum Security, ridden by the Panamanian jockey, Luis Saez, had won this, the first leg of America's famed Triple Crown series.

The jockey, who thought he'd won, already declaring his apparent victory a dream. But then came the real controversy here that would change the outcome completely with race long shot Country House, who had actually crossed the finish in second place, eventually being declared the winner after Maximum Security was disqualified.

Officials had taken around 20 minutes or so to investigate the incident, ruling Maximum Security had actually committed a violation by moving out of his lane and cutting off another horse, meaning heartbreak for Saez and joy for the 65-1 long shot, Country House.

This the second time a winner has been disqualified by the way in this famous old race. But the first time it's actually happened due to a foul claim during the race itself -- Patrick Snell, CNN, Atlanta.


ALLEN: All right. Let's talk about it with horse racing journalist Ray Paulick, joining us.

Thanks so much. We know what happened with Maximum Security. I look and look. I can't see it just because I'm not a professional horse race follower but this illegal movement, how did it happen?

As I understand it wasn't a tactical move by the jockey. It was, what, an accident by the horse, a misstep?

RAY PAULICK, SPORTS JOURNALIST: Well, the horse can't talk to us so we have to rely on the jockeys. With about a little more than a quarter of a mile left in the mile and a quarter race, Maximum Security shifted off the rail and he cut off several horses. The worse horse cut off is War of Will, who, actually, his front legs came into contact with the rear legs of Maximum Security.

ALLEN: All right. So as a result, a disqualification happened. That hasn't happened since 1968. Kind of a buzzkill to end a storied race with a disqualification. The stewards made the call.

Was it the right call in your opinion?

PAULICK: First of all, the 1968 disqualification didn't happen as a result of anything that happened during the race. It was actually a post-race drug test. The horse that won the race was disqualified days and weeks later.

This was different. There have only been a handful of inquiries or foul claims in the 145-year history of the Derby. The most famous was the 1933 fighting finish, where two jockeys were actually fighting near the end of the race.

This was the first time. In Kentucky, the rules state that, if a horse is interfered with and it cost him a better placing, not the win but a better placing, the stewards may disqualify the horse that caused the interference. And if they follow the letter of the rules, they made the right call.

ALLEN: Poor Maximum Security, he doesn't know what he did. Stewards, one rider put it this way. Stewards disqualified the best horse over an incident that impacted two also-rans while giving the victory to another horse who was never was going to win on his own.

How does that make sense?

This will be debated and debated. But I want to talk to you about the bigger issue here. This comes at a time when the --


ALLEN: -- horse racing industry is under scrutiny; 23 horses died at Santa Anita, California, over the winter. Steps were taken; the banning of whips on horses there. In 2012, "The New York Times" investigation shows 24 horses died each week at racetracks across the U.S.

Is there regulations in the industry?

Does there need to be more to protect these horses?

What's wrong with horse racing?

PAULICK: Well, there are regulations. Every state has its own set of regulations and that's really part of the problem. There is no national oversight and there currently are a couple of -- there's one bill in the House of Representatives, the Horse Racing Integrity Act, that was introduced by Kentucky and New York congressmen, that would provide national oversight medication, which is a critical issue for horse racing.

So there is oversight. There is drug testing. There is some restrictions on the use of the riding crop or the whip but, in my opinion, not enough.

ALLEN: I want to end with this. One sports blogger wrote this, "If I love animals, can I love horse racing?"

How would you answer that?

PAULICK: Horses that are in racing are pampered and loved and, you know, the people that are around the horses could not care -- you know, they love the horses they work with.

It's a -- you know, it's a dangerous game. You saw what happened out there today. That could have caused an accident, when the jockey -- when the horse shifted off the rail and almost collided with another horse, with 18 horses behind them.

Can you imagine what would happen if those two horses had gone down in the race?

It would have been just a terrible tragedy. So it's a dangerous game, there's no question about that. But the industry has to do all it can to make it as safe as possible for the horses and for the jockeys.

ALLEN: Right. The time has come. Ray Paulick, we really appreciate your insight.

PAULICK: My pleasure.

ALLEN: Sorry about Maximum Security but you've got to admit the name Country House is sweet.

HOWELL: How do they come up with those names?

ALLEN: Thanks for watching. We'll be right back.