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The problem is that the character entities were made for HTML, not XML - the early Netscape RSS specification had a doctype which declared a bunch of character entities (and so they are valid in such a context), but other RSS versions have no doctype and so no entities.
You say also that you are using RSS 1.0? That's a pretty rare beast these days with RDF syntax. You might be better off using RSS 2.0 which is XML-based, or if you can't change the character entities and have only basic needs, try a Netscape 0.91 format:
<?php header('Content-type: text/xml; charset=ISO-8859-1');
echo '<?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1"?>';?>
[b]<!DOCTYPE rss PUBLIC "-//Netscape Communications//DTD RSS 0.91//EN" "http://my.netscape.com/publish/formats/rss-0.91.dtd">[/b]
<lastBuildDate><?php echo gmdate( "D, d M Y H:i:s", getlastmod());?> GMT</lastBuildDate>
Don't forget the Feed Validator [feedvalidator.org] to see how things come out.
I have found that the best approach is to encode the feed as UTF-8 without character entites and as an RSS 2.0 feed. As always, YMMV ;)
thanks for the help, i've had to tone it down to 0.91 to include the accents.
the news feed is the same one which is published in our site and it seems a shame to take the accents off. the 0.91 works fine though.
i couldn't quite get the hang of UTF - i started reading and realise i need to delve into it a bit more deeply. for the moment though it's fine.