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ICANN Approves International Domain Names

In what ICANN president and chief executive officer Rod Beckstrom hailed "an historic move toward the internationalization of the Internet," the body Friday approved international domain names containing characters other than the letters A-Z and 0-9.

InformationWeek reports that the first to reap the benefits of the decision will be country-code top level domains controlled by national governments. According to IW, ICANN plans to launch on Nov. 16 a Fast Track Process that will allow nations and territories to apply for Internet extensions reflecting their names and made up of characters from their national languages. If these applications are approved by ICANN, the applicant can start accepting registrations of Web addresses.

Currently, approximately half of Internet users are native speakers of languages that do not use the Latin alphabet.

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