Posting in the Magento forums has been disabled pending the implementation of a new and improved forum solution which should better serve the community.
For new questions please post at magento.stackexchange.com, the community-run support site for the Magento community. We will be providing updates on the new forum solution soon. For questions or concerns please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I upgraded to version 0.8.17240 a few days ago via PEAR.
I just went into the System Configuration area and most of the dropdowns relating to countries are displaying in Asian characters. The General - Countries options tab, for example. Also, the Currency Setup tab.
I cannot say for sure if this just happened or has been this way since the upgrade.