Flat Earth: Sound solutions

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The Independent Online
CAR alarms ringing all night? Heavy metal pumping through the party wall? Sorry, you'll just have to put up with it, won't you? Not necessarily, in Germany or Russia, where they have a more muscular attitude to noise abatement. On Thursday, one middle-aged couple in the Bavarian village of Oy-Mittelburg (good name for noise control, that), maddened by the racket from nearby military manoeuvres, took on the Nato alliance itself, firing a rifle from their house at a column of US Army vehicles and terrifying the innocent soldiery.

In one sense, it was perfectly logical: the couple are now in a nice quiet cell. On the same day in Moscow, someone shot an anti-tank grenade into the apartment of Russian pop singer Zhanna Bichevskaya. Luckily she wasn't hurt. In fact, she wasn't even home, so it can't have been noise she was making at the time that drove her attackers mad, just the memory of it. This column feels the same way about Billy Joel.

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