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XML Parsing

Pretty much a newbie here.  I'm pulling the XML onto a bulletin board
system, and translating it into the internal format for the BBS (basically
a text format)

I'm using Perl (because it is available on the system) and XML::Simple
seems to do pretty much what I want, but it's failing on a few of the
'special' characters, like pound signs and accented characters etc.

Am I just being stupid, or do I have to filter the files first to get them
to work ok?


       Tonight this fool's half way to heaven and just a mile outta hell
       And I feel like I'm coming home.  These are better days