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UNITED NATIONS， March 28 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Syrian Red Crescent jointly delivered food and emergency items to 25，000 Syrian people in rural Damascus， the first convoy to the area since June 2016， a UN spokesman said here Tuesday.
"Today， a UN-International Committee of the Red Cross-Syrian Arab Red Crescent convoy is delivering food and emergency items to 25，000 people in need in Bludan in rural Damascus，" Farhan Haq， the deputy UN spokesman， said at a daily news briefing here. "The last interagency convoy to that area was in June last year."
There is also a UN-Syrian Arab Red Crescent convoy delivering assistance for 84，000 people in Talbiseh， in Homs， a location that was last reached on Feb. 5， he said.
"We continue to call for safe， sustained and unimpeded humanitarian access to all those in need in Syria， particularly the close to 5 million people in hard-to-reach and besieged areas，" Haq added.
The current Syrian crisis， which broke out in March 2011， has taken its toll on the humanitarian situation in the Middle East country， which has progressively deteriorated over the past six years.
More than half of Syria's population -- over 11 million people -- has been displaced， making it one of the largest mass displacements since World War II. Of these， 6.3 million people are now internally displaced within Syria， while more than 4.8 million are registered refugees in neighboring countries， such as Lebanon， Jordan and Turkey， and North Africa.
VIENNA， July 20 (Xinhua)-- The performing arts festival， Bregenz Festival， began its 70th anniversary on Wednesday at Lake Constance in the border triangle between Germany， Switzerland and Austria， a spokesman of the festival told Xinhua in an interview.
The Bregenz Festival was founded in 1946 in order to distract from the drab postwar period in Austria.
Press spokesman Axel Renner explained the three phases the festival had gone through: "It started with orchestra concerts and stage plays. Then， in the 60s and 70s， operetta performances in the gravel bed of Lake Constance came in the focus of the festival. In the late 70s， there was a festival crisis in Austria. The Bregenz Festival reacted and started in 1985 to stage grand operas of an incredible quality."
Today， about 200，000 people visit the 80 performances each year. Most visitors come from German-speaking countries.
"More than 90 percent come from Germany， Austria and Switzerland，" Renner said. "However， we have visitors and artists from all five continents."
Renner is especially proud of the premieres that are presented as part of the festival.
"The first performances are unique in the world，" he said. "To give living artists a stage should be the function of a festival."
However， the major attraction remains the world's largest lake stage， with stands providing seats for almost 7，000 people.
Every two years a new production of a grand classical opera is presented. This year， Puccini's opera "Turandot" is being performed.
Stage director Marco Arturo Marelli has placed a wall symbolizing the Great Wall that measures 72 meters wide by 27 meters high， Renner said about the set. In addition， more than 200 copies of the terracotta warriors provide the perfect setting to tell the story of the Chinese princess Turandot.
Not only opera stars have appeared on the floating stage. In 2008， a part of the James Bond film "Quantum of Solace" was filmed on the platform.
"The British direction team of the former production of the opera Tosca captured the attention of the James Bond film crew，" Renner said.
The stage's appearance in the Bond film built up the international reputation of the Bregenz Festival.
"The James Bond films are shown in cinemas worldwide. A few weeks after the film release， we got ticket requests even from New Zealand，" Renner told.
Currently， festival organizers are already busy with plans for the coming years. In 2017 and 2018， Georges Bizet's "Carmen" will be performed on the floating stage and in 2019 Verdi's "Rigoletto" will be showcased.
SAN FRANCISCO nike air max sale australia , March 18 (Xinhua) -- An almost accidental discovery at a laboratory in Stanford University, California, has raised hopes of finding alternative therapies to cure a type of blood cancer by turning the dangerous cells into white blood cells, the "good guys."
These immune cells are also able to detect and destroy other cancer cells, therefore providing a fighting chance against one of the most aggressive blood cancers, B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia with a mutation called the Philadelphia chromosome.
The Stanford researchers are particularly excited about the prospects of the discovery since this kind of leukemia often has a grim outcome for most patients.
Professor Ravi Majeti and his team, whose findings are described in a paper in the latest issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published on Monday, claimed the discovery was done almost by chance after they collected the type of leukemia cells from a patient.
"We were trying to keep these cells alive by providing them with different kinds of nutrients and growth factors," Majeti told Xinhua. "And we saw that sometimes, they shifted to white blood cells, also known as macrophages. Instead of ignoring this fact, we decided to investigate what was making them change."
Majeti and his team were at odds to find the reason for the change until one researcher remembered an earlier study which showed that early B-cell mouse progenitor cells could be forced to become macrophages when exposed to certain transcription factors.
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