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Strange characters produced by M-x in emacs -nw

From: Harry Putnam
Subject: Strange characters produced by M-x in emacs -nw
Date: Tue, 17 Sep 2013 12:51:08 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.130008 (Ma Gnus v0.8) Emacs/24.0.92 (gnu/linux)

Running recent emacs-24
on Debian Linux

I don't often use emacs -nw any more and just noticed today that I
have some kind of charset or LANG setting problem that is causing
unusual characters to be printed to my files when using the ALT key
for combos like M-x.

(I hope these characters are reproduced in this post)

`M-x' produces   'ø'
`M-Shift + !' produces '¡'
`M-shift + :  produces 'º'

What kind of setting is likely to be causing this?

-------        ---------       ---=---       ---------      --------

The above problem was uncovered today because I wanted to use
emacs -nw.   But also I wanted to make emacs start in message mode by
passing what ever is necessary to do that from the command line.

emacs -nw -f message-mode file  does not set message-mode although if
I insert text-mode rather than message-mode it will start in text-mode.

How can I cause emacs -nw to start in message-mode from the command

One further question is how to pass elisp on the command line to be
processed by emacs as it starts.

emacs -nw <Syntax for passing elisp> file

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