ATLANTA (AP) — The Associated Press has named Ravi Nessman regional news director for the U.S. South, a new position overseeing AP’s journalism and news operations across formats in 13 states.

The appointment was announced Monday by Brian Carovillano, AP’s vice president for U.S. News. Nessman is based in Atlanta, AP’s regional hub for the South.

AP is merging text, photo, video and interactive journalism at each of its four U.S. hubs in a reorganization similar to one completed overseas. Nessman will oversee 13 states in the South, which will become fully cross-format, with multimedia journalists and integrated editing desks that emphasize video and social media, along with a streamlined management structure.

“Ravi has great experience and the leadership needed for this important position,” said executive editor Sally Buzbee. “He has traveled the world for AP and spent the last two years consolidating what he has learned to direct the South on important stories for the AP, including the church shooting in Charleston and the killings at an Orlando nightclub. He is well suited to lead this region for the AP through this critical transition.”

Nessman, 44, has been based at the South Desk since 2014, first as deputy regional editor and then as acting regional editor. He has extensive experience working as a journalist internationally and in the United States.

Nessman, a New Jersey native, joined AP in 1994 as a reporter in Chicago. He worked in New Jersey and Philadelphia and as an editor on the International Desk in New York before embarking on an international journalism career.

As a foreign correspondent, he covered many of the defining stories of the era. He reported from Afghanistan in 2001; was embedded with the Marines during the 2003 invasion of Iraq; led AP’s coverage of the AIDS pandemic in Africa; and covered the deaths of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and the funeral of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. He served as news editor in southern Africa, correspondent in Jerusalem, bureau chief in Sri Lanka and South Asia bureau chief.

His work won awards for his coverage of the bloody end to Sri Lanka’s civil war, the Israel-Palestinian conflict, the fight against polio in India and Bhutto’s assassination. In 2013, he teamed up with Kristen Gelineau, bureau chief for Australia, to win the APME award for feature writing for the story of a young man’s quest to find his mother after they were separated decades earlier in India and he was adopted by a family in Australia. That tale is commemorated in the Oscar-nominated film “Lion.”

In 2013, Nessman become a Nieman fellow at Harvard University, studying the intersection between poverty and religion.

Since moving to Atlanta in 2014, Nessman has helped lead coverage of the Charleston Church shooting, the attack on a nightclub in Orlando, the response to North Carolina’s so-called bathroom bill and the societal transformations that gave rise to the successful candidacy of Donald Trump. He has worked to give AP’s stories a more global appeal and pushed for everything from snappier headlines to more visual content from traditional text reporters.

The AP’s South region encompasses news in 13 states: Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

Nessman earned a bachelor’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Former NHL enforcer Andrew Peters has been suspended indefinitely as coach of a youth hockey team pending a Buffalo police investigation into his role in an on-ice brawl.

Buffalo Junior Sabres president Kevyn Adams announced the suspension Sunday, a day after the melee occurred during a game between the Peters-coached 15-and-Under team and the Ontario-based Hamilton Junior Bulldogs.

A video posted on YouTube shows the fight escalating into the Sabres’ bench, when Peters becomes involved in attempting to separate the players. At one point, the 36-year-old appears to shove a Hamilton player backward onto the ice.

Buffalo police were called to the downtown arena to investigate the brawl, but no charges were filed. The investigation continues, police spokesman Michael DeGeorge wrote in an email.

The Junior Sabres suspended Peters immediately after the game.

“We are very disappointed in the series of events that unfolded,” Adams, a former NHL player, said in a statement. “We are currently reviewing the situation and in the meantime have suspended head coach Andrew Peters indefinitely until the matter is over.”

According to a person familiar with the situation, Peters told Junior Sabres officials that he slipped while attempting to get one of the Hamilton players away from Buffalo’s bench. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the conversation was to remain private.

Listed at 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, Peters was known for his physical style while playing six NHL seasons , including five with the Sabres. He scored four goals and seven points, and totaled 650 penalty minutes in 229 career games from 2003 through 2010.

He has maintained a home in Buffalo and works for the Sabres as a co-host of a show titled “The Enforcers,” which is broadcast daily on TV and radio.

Peters also faces potential discipline from the New York State Amateur Hockey Association.

The association’s regional president, David Braunstein, told the AP he will investigate what happened during the brawl. Braunstein said he intends to view the video and seek out other possible footage, as well as speak to the on-ice officials.

 

Warning: the awww factor for today is quite literally sky high. Get this. You’re on vacation with your family, enjoying a delicious breakfast in a beautiful setting. Suddenly, a friendly, fuzzy head pops in to say good morning, fluttering its lovable giraffe eyelashes at you (and your toast!) How could you say no?

It may be hard to believe but this scene straight out of a story book can be your reality at Giraffe Manor in Nairobi, Kenya. And we’re not talking captive giraffes like you see at the zoo. These Rothschild giraffes are wild, and can gallivant across 140 acres of indigenous forest, stopping into the hotel’s 12-acre garden as they please.

Giraffe Manor has been delighting tourists with its luxurious details and majestic environment since the 1930s. It’s got sun-drenched terraces and 10 different rooms to accommodate up to 25 guests. A suite for a family of four during the high season costs $4,000 per day, but that includes meals cooked by the house chef, drinks, Wi-Fi, access to a site-seeing vehicle, and of course, giraffes. What do you say? Worth it for an up-close encounter with these elegant, long-legged creatures?

Vote and tell us what you think — you can even submit video comments to nbt@channelone.com. We will feature the results of the poll and some of your comments on the show!

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The 89th Academy Awards show promises to be equal parts pomp and politics.

The only thing expected to take the stage more often than the frothy front-runner “La La Land” at Sunday’s ceremony is protest (and probably some punchlines) over the policies of President Donald Trump. For largely liberal Hollywood, his election has proven a rallying cause-celebre throughout an awards season that has otherwise been a parade of honors for Damien Chazelle’s celebrated musical.

Just how political things are going to get at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles may be the biggest question of Sunday night’s show, to be broadcast by ABC beginning at 8:30 p.m. EST, with red carpet coverage starting earlier. The current forecast for Sunday is only a slight chance of rain, though the inside of the Dolby Theatre is expected to be far stormier.

Even the usually glitzy lead-up to Sunday’s show has taken on the form of a gathering tempest. On Friday, the United Talent Agency, forgoing its usual Oscar party, instead held a rally over immigration. “We will not tolerate chaos and ineptitude and war-mongering,” Jodie Foster told attendees.

More strikingly, the six directors of the foreign film nominees on Friday released a joint statement condemning “the climate of fanaticism and nationalism we see today in the U.S. and in so many other countries, in parts of the population and, most unfortunately of all, among leading politicians.”

The signees included the Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, whose “The Salesman” is favored to win him his second foreign language Oscar. He isn’t attending the awards out of protest for Trump’s proposed travel ban from seven predominantly Muslim nations, including Iran.

On Friday, he posted a video thanking the Hollywood community for its support of his Oscar boycott. In it, Farhadi condemned Trump’s policies and said they are “trying to promote hate.”

And sure to stoke the rhetoric at Sunday’s Oscars is news this weekend that U.S. immigration authorities are barring entry to a 21-year-old Syrian cinematographer who worked on the documentary short nominee “The White Helmets,” about the nation’s civil war.

Meanwhile, about 20 Trump supporters gathered Saturday at an intersection near the Dolby Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. One held a sign with Trump’s signature slogan, “Make America Great Again,” while another sign asked motorists to honk if they supported Trump. There were few honks.

Some Trump supporters are calling for a boycott of the broadcast, expecting more speeches like Meryl Streep’s fiery remarks at the Globes — which prompted Trump to call her “overrated.” (The Academy of Motion Pictures on Friday added Streep, also a nominee, to its presenters.) But similar so-called boycotts have also trailed the Broadway sensation “Hamilton” and 2016’s top box-office hit, the “Star Wars” spinoff “Rogue One.”

ABC would be very happy with similar results, especially after last year’s telecast, hosted by Chris Rock, drew 34.4 million viewers, an eight-year low. Ads this year are still going for $2.1 million for 30-second spots.

Host Jimmy Kimmel will have a delicate balance on his hands. Play it too light and he’ll appear out of sync with the mood. Hammer too hard and he’ll alienate viewers already inundated by politics.

A lot of the suspense has been deflated by the juggernaut of “La La Land,” the Golden Globe winner and favorite to win best picture. It’s up for 14 awards, tying it with “Titanic” and “All About Eve” for the record.

Rock’s 2016 show, which he introduced as “the White People’s Choice Awards,” was rife with Hollywood’s diversity debate. But after two straight years of all-white acting nominees and the resulting “OscarsSoWhite” rancor, this year’s field is teaming with African-American actors and filmmakers, thanks to films like best-picture candidates Barry Jenkin’s coming-of-age tale “Moonlight,” Denzel Washington’s August Wilson adaptation “Fences” and Theodore Melfi’s uplifting space-race drama “Hidden Figures.”

For the first time, an actor of color is nominated in each acting category. A record six black actors are nominated. Four of the five films nominated for best documentary were made by black filmmakers. Bradford Young (“Arrival”) is the second black cinematographer ever nominated. Kimberly Steward, the financer of “Manchester by the Sea,” is the second black female producer nominated for best picture.

The nominees follow the efforts by Academy of Motions Pictures Arts and Sciences President Cheryl Boone Isaacs to diversify the membership of the largely white, older and male film academy. In June, the academy added 683 new members: 46 percent of them were female; 41-percent were nonwhite; and they pulled from 59 countries.

There is other turmoil, too. Only one major studio — Paramount, which distributed “Arrival” and “Fences” — scored a best picture nod this year — and its chief, Brad Grey, departed last week. Amazon, on the other hand, scored its first best-picture nomination with “Manchester by the Sea.”

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Nekesa Mumbi Moody contributed to this report.

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Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The arena has all the features that a professional sports venue needs: stands, warm-up areas for teams, massive screens for spectators and a broadcast platform for commentators. But what distinguishes this new Las Vegas arena is its dozens of video game consoles.

The 15,000-square-foot e-sports venue slated to open Friday will host competitive video game tournaments. It’s part of a trend that the casino industry hopes will attract the millennial crowd, the 15- to 34-year-olds who are becoming majority spenders in today’s economy but aren’t necessarily interested in traditional gambling.

“Las Vegas needs to consistently reinvent itself to remain relevant to the up-and-coming generation,” said Seth Schorr, CEO of Fifth Street Gaming and a member of the board of directors of Millennial Esports, the company behind the arena. “We’ve always come up with ways to maintain our position as the entertainment capital of the world.”

Athletes participating in a tournament at the arena will emerge from a tunnel surrounded by roaring crowds in the stands. They will then go on a podium and sit at stations equipped with game consoles, monitors and other equipment.

The venue will open its doors March 3 with a three-day, $50,000-prize-pool Halo World Championship qualifier and host an EA Sports-sanctioned Madden 17 NFL tournament later in March.

The arena is within walking distance of downtown hotel-casinos. It will host 200 people in stadium-style seating overlooking the main stage, but hundreds more can be accommodated in another hall outfitted with screens showing the live competition. The entire facility was built in an area that once housed movie theaters and a nightclub.

More than 3 miles of CAT cable were needed to wire the facility. Its dozens of ports offer internet speeds of one-gigabit. When no tournaments are in progress, the facility will be open to casual gamers and others interested in using the high-speed internet.

Las Vegas casinos have invested in numerous non-gaming amenities to attract the elusive millennials, from rooms with bunk beds for the young travelers who don’t want to spend a minute apart to a lounge that features pool, foosball and air hockey. The Downtown Grand, a short walk from the new arena, has an e-sports lounge, where tournament competitors, casual gamers and fans play and socialize.

“The younger people don’t get enamored by the glitz and the glitter of something; it’s all about authenticity for them,” said Alex Igelman, CEO of Millennial Esports.

Vegas is betting on e-sports as its popularity has evolved from a niche genre of gaming to a lucrative sport thanks to new technologies, more reliable internet speeds and a generation of gamers that has grown up watching competitive matches on YouTube and other sites. Nevada sportsbooks have already taken wagers on matches.

The sport now draws tens of millions of spectators to online platforms and real-world venues, including New York City’s Madison Square Garden, the Los Angeles’ Staples Center and Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena, which earlier this month saw 16 of the world’s best CS:GO teams compete. Estimates show 323 million people watched e-sports in 2016. The global audience is expected to grow to 385 million this year.

“E-sports no longer needs to be legitimized; it’s a huge sport already,” said Mike Sepso, co-founder of Major League Gaming. “There are e-sports fans everywhere in this country.”

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Follow Regina Garcia Cano on Twitter at https://twitter.com/reginagarciakNO. More of her work can be found at https://www.apnews.com/search/ReginaGarciaCano

CRANS MONTANA, Switzerland (AP) — Suddenly the overall title is not looking so certain for Mikaela Shiffrin after Ilka Stuhec won a super-G race on Saturday.

There was also a worrying crash for Lindsey Vonn on a disappointing day for American skiers.

Entering this weekend’s races in Crans Montana, Shiffrin held more than a 400-point lead in the standings over her next active challenger, Sofia Goggia of Italy. Defending overall champion Lara Gut, in second place, is out for the rest of the season after injuring her knee while training between runs of the combined event at the world championships in St. Moritz two weeks ago.

However, Stuhec was second in Friday’s Alpine combined race to leapfrog Goggia into third place overall. The Slovenian went one better on Saturday to cut Shiffrin’s lead to 258 points with nine races remaining — including another combined on Sunday.

Stuhec, the recently crowned downhill world champion, leads the downhill standings and moved to within 16 points of Tina Weirather in the super-G.

Stuhec, who was fastest in the super-G part of the combined on Friday, finished 0.5 seconds ahead of Elena Curtoni as the Italian achieved a best ever finish in a World Cup race. Stephanie Venier of Austria was third.

“I try not to think about the globe — any of them,” Stuhec said. “I just try to focus on every race, do my best and then we will see what comes in the end. I’m just having a lot of fun and I don’t want it to end.

“Combined is always challenging. It’s two totally different disciplines and you have to ski both very well. I’m looking forward to it because apparently super-G works well for me. I know where I went wrong yesterday in the slalom so I’ll try to improve tomorrow.”

Shiffrin finished 13th, more than two seconds behind Stuhec.

“I didn’t quite handle the peeling snow as well as I could have and I was a bit conservative in sections that I didn’t want to be but I’m happy to get a run on this hill,” Shiffrin said. “I’ll get the video, I’ll watch a lot and compare with Ilka who’s been really skiing well and see sections where I can charge a lot harder. I know there are a lot of sections where I need to attack more.”

There was more misery for Lindsey Vonn as she was one of a number of skiers who crashed as the snow began to soften. Goggia also didn’t finish, for the second successive day.

Vonn had pulled out of Friday’s race, along with Shiffrin and their American teammate Laurenne Ross, because of dangerous conditions on the course. She had also posted on social media that she was feeling unwell Friday evening and had not fully recovered.

The announcement of Vonn’s name prompted a smattering of boos among spectators but that turned into loud gasps as the 32-year-old lost control and fell, sliding several feet before crashing into the safety netting.

There was an anxious wait as Vonn remained down and Stuhec and other skiers were clearly concerned for their rival. However, the four-time World Cup overall champion was able to ski down to the finish area, where she was greeted with loud cheers.

Vonn, who only returned to competition last month after nearly a year out with knee and arm injuries, was visibly upset and appeared to be crying as she was comforted by teammate Julia Mancuso.

The former Olympic champion also missed nearly two seasons of competition after injuring her right knee in Austria in 2013 and hurting the same knee in her comeback.