in reply to UTF-8 and URL encoding

I have a cgi generating an html page with the following meta tag: <META HTTP-EQUIV="Content-Type" CONTENT="text/html; charset=UTF-8">. This causes my browser (Mozilla 1.6) to set it's character coding to utf8
Does it? Have you checked in Mozilla to see that it really is using utf8 encoding? If your HTTP header is not sending utf8, then I don't believe the meta tag is doing what you expect. I'd set the encoding in the HTTP header by calling header(-charset=>'utf-8').