From NYTimes: Net Addresses to Make Use of Non-Latin Scripts

Under amazing news that is mostly unnoticed,
Net Addresses to Make Use of Non-Latin Scripts

By CHOE SANG-HUN
Published: October 30, 2009

Correction Appended

“SEOUL — By the middle of next year, Internet surfers will be allowed to use Web addresses written completely in Chinese, Arabic, Korean and other languages using non-Latin alphabets, the organization overseeing Internet domain names announced Friday in a decision that could make the Web more accessible.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers — or Icann — voted Friday during its annual meeting, held in Seoul, to allow such scripts in Internet addresses.

The decision is a “historic move toward the internationalization of the Internet,” said Rod Beckstrom, Icann’s president and chief executive. “We just made the Internet much more accessible to millions of people in regions such as Asia, the Middle East and Russia.”

This change affects domain names — anything that comes after the dot, including .com, .cn or .jp. Domain names have been limited to 37 characters — 26 Latin letters, 10 digits and a hyphen. But starting next year, domain names can consist of characters in any language.”

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