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Switzerland

How WWF-Style Pro Wrestling Looks In The Heart Of Europe

Rock music, tight spandex bodysuits and staged maneuvers aren't just for audiences in working-class America. Wrestling is thriving in Switzerland and elsewhere across Europe, where it's seen as a different kind of performance art that even

The British Stallion (up), a key figure of Swiss wrestling
The British Stallion (up), a key figure of Swiss wrestling
Julien Burri

LAUSANNE — On a war-like soundtrack, the kind you can hear in superhero movies, an imposing figure wearing a royal-blue cape walks towards the ring. The cape falls to the ground, uncovering the muscular British Stallion, 6-foot-one, 231 pounds, in a blue, black, zebra-striped bodysuit. The soundtrack changes to hard rock. Tonight, the champion will face Japanese opponent Yoshimiro Yamada, wearing white spandex trunks and comparatively diminutive at 5-foot-7 and 198 pounds.

It's not a fight like any other. To win, one of the wrestlers will have to lock his opponent in a coffin. All this before an astounded family audience in this Lausanne community center.

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In The News

War In Ukraine, Day 126: Russia Watching NATO, As Path Cleared For Finland And Sweden To Join

As NATO leaders meet in Madrid, Finland and Sweden look much closer to joining the alliance after Turkey dropped its objections to their membership. It's yet another momentous change underway since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

International leaders after having their photograph taken before the start of the NATO 2022

Anna Akage, Shaun Lavelle, and Emma Albright

A high-stakes NATO summit has kicked off in Madrid, as leaders of the world’s largest defense alliance discuss the war in Ukraine and key decisions that will shape the organization’s future direction. NATO Secretary-GeneralJens Stoltenberg said the Russian invasion of its neighbor had prompted a fundamental shift in its approach to defense.

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Finland and Sweden look much closer to joining the alliance after Turkey dropped its objections to their membership. The three countries released a joint memorandum that “extend[ed] their full support against threats to each other's security," FinnishPresident Sauli Niinistö said.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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