New British Prime Minister Theresa May announced six members of her Cabinet Wednesday.

Amid a sweeping crackdown on dissent in Egypt, security forces have forcibly disappeared hundreds of people since the beginning of 2015, according to a new report from Amnesty International.

It's an "unprecedented spike," the group says, with an average of three or four people disappeared every day.

The Republican Party, as it prepares for its convention next week has checked off item No. 1 on its housekeeping list — drafting a party platform. The document reflects the conservative views of its authors, many of whom are party activists. So don't look for any concessions to changing views among the broader public on key social issues.

Many public figures who took to Twitter and Facebook following the murder of five police officers in Dallas have faced public blowback and, in some cases, found their employers less than forgiving about inflammatory and sometimes hateful online comments.

As Venezuela unravels — with shortages of food and medicine, as well as runaway inflation — President Nicolas Maduro is increasingly unpopular. But he's still holding onto power.

"The truth in Venezuela is there is real hunger. We are hungry," says a man who has invited me into his house in the northwestern city of Maracaibo, but doesn't want his name used for fear of reprisals by the government.

The wiry man paces angrily as he speaks. It wasn't always this way, he says, showing how loose his pants are now.

Ask a typical teenage girl about the latest slang and girl crushes and you might get answers like "spilling the tea" and Taylor Swift. But at the Girl Up Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., the answers were "intersectional feminism" — the idea that there's no one-size-fits-all definition of feminism — and U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit


Renowned Kung Fu Master Inspires Slew Of Action Flicks

Aug 23, 2013
Originally published on August 23, 2013 1:34 pm

Forty years after his death, there's a name that's become practically synonymous with Chinese kung fu films.

And no, it's not Bruce Lee.

It's actually his teacher, Ip Man.

The late kung fu master's life story has inspired more movie releases than Spider-Man. The five films so far include Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai's The Grandmaster, which opens Friday in New York and Los Angeles.

The Filmmakers' Creation

Ip Man (pronounced YEEP-mun in Cantonese) has long been renowned as a skilled teacher within the world of Wing Chun-style kung fu.

But he's also a new popular creation of Hong Kong filmmakers, says Grady Hendrix, co-founder of the New York Asian Film Festival.

"Ip Man was not a well-known public figure before these movies started," he says. "People haven't been sitting around going, 'Oh my god! I hope someone makes an Ip Man movie this year!' "

Instead, Hendrix says, the character many filmmakers had in mind to put on screen was Ip's most famous student, Bruce Lee.

But, Hendrix adds, "[filmmakers have] always been blocked by the Lee family who ... carefully controls his image." (A recent exception is the 2010 biopic Bruce Lee, My Brother, which received the support of Lee's brother Robert.) Unable to make Bruce Lee movies, filmmakers turned to what Hendrix calls "the next best thing."

The 'Traditional Chinese Way'

Bruce Lee's kung fu teacher was born in 1893 to a well-to-do family in southern China. After the communist takeover of China, Ip moved to Hong Kong, where he later died in 1972. Teaching Wing Chun kung fu, a personal interest since childhood, became his financial lifeline as a mainland Chinese émigré living in Hong Kong.

The Ip Man movies are loosely based on his life. They often portray him as a lone, nationalist hero with almost superhuman skills. In Ip Man 2, he nimbly balances on a tilting tabletop as he jabs at a challenger – a scenario that's more movie magic than an accurate display of skill level.

A visit to Allan Lee's Wing Chun kung fu school offers a more accurate depiction of what Ip Man in action may have really looked like. Lee first took lessons from Ip Man himself and his disciples almost 50 years ago, when he began learning Wing Chun principles like how to overcome an opponent's physical advantage and minimize his movement.

Today, Lee runs the Ip Man Wing Chun Kung Fu Academy in a former bowling alley in Queens, N.Y. On a recent Saturday afternoon, about a half-dozen of Lee's most senior students, armed with fraying wrist wraps and leg pads, threw punches and kicks atop a bare concrete slab.

"I want to run my school in a traditional Chinese way," Lee says, though most of his students are not of Chinese descent. "So you don't follow the American way here. You have to at least have certain etiquette to respect our last generation."

The last generation includes the smiling man in the painted portrait hanging in the back of the studio, where Lee's late teacher Ip Man appears to be keeping watch above a wooden dummy.

Still A 'Fresh' Character

Filmmaker Wong Kar Wai credits Ip Man's generation for passing on the martial arts tradition despite upheaval in China. His latest film, The Grandmaster, which stars Tony Leung as Ip Man, is an action-packed meditation on Chinese martial arts philosophy that is intentionally old-fashioned.

"Today we see the Chinese went through rapid changes. It's time for us to return to our roots and to revisit our heritage," Wong says.

True to Wong's signature art-house style, The Grandmaster is one lush sequence after another. In an early scene, a gleaming brothel serves as the battleground for Ip Man and his rivals. The film crisscrosses over decades between Hong Kong and mainland China.

The other Ip Man movie this year — Ip Man: The Final Fight, which opens Sept. 20 in select U.S. cities — is rooted in nostalgia for 1950s Hong Kong. Its plot revolves around labor strikes and anticolonial politics.

The Final Fight is the second Ip Man project for screenwriter Erica Li, who also wrote the 2010 prequel about the kung fu master's early years, The Legend Is Born: Ip Man.

Li says she understands Ip's appeal to audiences as a character.

"In the comic [book] world, you have Superman, Spider-Man, [and the] Avengers. You guys have a lot [of heroes]. But [there's] not enough for martial arts," she explains. "Up [until] now, Ip Man [has been] relatively fresh and, not to be offensive, [there's] still room for exploitation."

In fact, Ip follows a tradition of celebrated folk heroes from southern China with impressive martial arts skills that inspire film and TV projects. (The popular martial arts hero Wong Fei-hung, who has been played by Jet Li in the Once Upon a Time in China series, is set to make a film comeback.)

We've already seen Ip Man take down Japanese soldiers, British colonialists, Hong Kong gangsters and rival kung fu masters.

Space aliens and robots — you may be next.

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