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HTML Encoding problem

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Here's my code:
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd">
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en">
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8" />
function in($string)
      return  htmlentities($string, ENT_NOQUOTES);

function out($string)
        return html_entity_decode($string, ENT_NOQUOTES);

//these are the rights reserved and copyright symbols, respectively
//this board is encoding it but in my code, it's the actual symbol
$string = '®©';
echo 'String: ' . $string;
echo '<hr /><pre>';
echo 'In: ' . in($string);
echo '<hr />';
echo 'Out: ' . out($string);
echo '</pre>';

this is my output:
String: ®©
In: ®©
Out: ®©

as you can see, i'm using UTF-8. i don't understand why i see the characters preceeding the "copyright" and "rights reserved" symbol.
i've tried this in Firefox on Linux and Elinks but i get a similar result.
i typed the code in vim editor so i doubt any special characters were entered.

any idea, anyone?

thanks for your time.

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