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Liu Yan Shaq Lawson Hat , a mermaid dancer at an aquarium in Beijing, dances among the marine fish. Photo:CFP

Many little girls dream of being a mermaid. Liu Yan is one of a few girls who have made the dream come true.

A mermaid dancer in an aquarium in Bejing, 36-year-old Liu is determined to continue her work as long as she can.

Liu developed a passion for the sea during a childhood visit in her to her aunt living in Dalian Dion Dawkins Hat , a seaport in Northeast China's Liaoning Province. It was her first sight of the sea, and she was immediately absorbed by its vastness and beauty.

After growing up, she gradually obtained certifications for swimming coach and lifeguard. She also earned CMAS 2 Star Diver Zay Jones Hat , a certificate issued by the World Underwater Federation after testing skills in first aid, CPR and dealing with underwater issues that is recognized all over the world.

During the trainings, she began to learn mermaid dancing. "I was lucky to have close contact with gigantic whale shark and sand tiger shark Tre'Davious White Hat , which was very impressive," she recalled.

After studying foreign trade and English in college, she worked as an assistant and translator at a foreign-funded firm. Three years later Kelvin Benjamin Hat , she quit. "The job was not bad but the amount of pressure was huge. I felt bored and stuck," she said.

In 2012, Liu became the first mermaid of Beijing Pacific Underwater World Kyle Williams Hat , a marine life exhibition hall in Haidian district. The dancing with sharks and mermaid show has become most popular among the various offerings the aquarium puts on.

Practicing to overcome oxygen shortage, water pressure and resistance was difficult in the beginning. Even with a slight deviation underwater, she could easily crash with artificial hills LeSean McCoy Hat , or the glass wall. She had to practice for a month just how to greet the audience.

In her spare time, Liu does physical exercises and yoga to remain energetic and agile.

Her performance as a mermaid has gradually improved, winning her constant applaud and appreciation from the audience.

So far Tremaine Edmunds Hat , she has completed 108,000 minutes or 75 whole days of underwater performance.

"I want to be a mermaid for the whole life. I think I can't live without water or aquatic life," Liu noted.

Liu wears a wig to prepare for a mermaid show. Photo:CFP Liu prepares for a mermaid show. Photo:CFP

Liu performs underwater. Photo:CFP

Liu sorts out diving suits and equipment. Photo: CFP

Liu refills oxygen tanks. Photo:CFP

Liu climbs the wall at her dormitory to exercise. Photo:CFP Liu enjoys her meal after a show. Photo:CFP

By Matthew Rusling

WASHINGTON, May 26 (Xinhua) -- Brash U.S. billionaire Donald Trump on Thursday hit the number of delegates needed to grab the Republican Party (GOP) nomination, as some experts predict that he will be a competitive candidate in the presidential race.

The development comes on the heels of Trump's recent surge in the polls, as he for the first time is running neck-in-neck with likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. This foreshadows a tight contest in this year's race to the White House.

Just six months ago, most political observers dismissed Trump as a flash in the pan, but he now stands out as the winner in the Republican nomination fight.

And, for the first time, Trump recently inched ahead of Clinton in the Real Clear Politics polling average, although Clinton later moved ahead by a point. But with a margin of error around 2 points, the candidates are essentially tied.

"Trump has gotten a polling bump from nailing down the GOP nomination," Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Darrell West told Xinhua.

"Party leaders are endorsing him and he has made tremendous progress in unifying the Republican party. This is helping him greatly in the fall campaign against Hillary Clinton. As of right now, he has a more unified party than she (Clinton) does," he said.

Dan Mahaffee, an analyst with the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, told Xinhua that a lot of the GOP establishment and voters are beginning to unify behind Trump despite concerns about specific policies.

Once it became clear that after former GOP candidates Senator Ted Cruz and Ohio Governor John Kasich quit the Republican nomination race in early May, many establishment Republicans who had in the past expressed a dislike for Trump began to rally around him.

"Shifts in the poll numbers supporting Trump have demonstrated this. The establishment has begun the process of warming to him and feeling him out on specific policies," Mahaffee said.

With the nomination out of the way, Trump can now focus his attention and strategy on Clinton. The bombastic businessman has begun forming a narrative about his political rival, calling her "crooked Hillary," in an effort to paint her as dishonest and untrustworthy.

"If crooked Hillary Clinton is in charge, things will get much worse," Trump said on Thursday at a rally, saying that Clinton would bury businesses in regulations that would be difficult to navigate.

That would further slow the economy that has still not fully recovered from the 2008 economic nosedive, Trump implied.

Indeed, Clinton is currently embroiled in a scandal over whether she jeopardized U.S. national security by using a private email account and server for official business while she was Secretary of State under President Barack Obama.

A House panel is also investigating Clinton's responsibility for the 2012 terror attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in which four Americans including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens were killed, when Clinton was then secretary of state.

After clinching the nomination, Trump is highly likely to go on full attack mode against Clinton and use this and other Clinton scandals as political fodder against the former first lady.

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