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ICANN Begins Posting Issue Papers for Cairo Meeting

The next ICANN meeting is scheduled for March 7-10, 2000, in Cairo, Egypt. In advance of that meeting, ICANN is seeking written comments from the Internet community on several issues that will be discussed at the Cairo meeting:

  • At Large Membership and elections
  • Considerations and policies relating to creation of new top-level domain-name registries and to famous-names issues
  • ccTLD delegation and administration policies
  • ICANN budget for 2000-2001 fiscal year
  • Final approval of Independent Review Policy
  • Bylaws revision to allow reassignment of Original ASO Director terms

Beginning this week, ICANN is posting background materials, analyses, and proposals concerning these issues. These materials may be accessed through <http://www.icann.org/cairo2000/cairo-details.htm#agenda>. The newly introduced, web-based ICANN public comment forum has been configured to allow community comments and discussions on each of these issues.

As the meeting nears, additional proposals and analyses will be posted on these topics, so members of the community are encouraged periodically to check the materials, as well as the online discussions.


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Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as""icann.org"" is not an IDN."