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'u' Character With Some String Methods

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I have been tryiong to parse an xml file using some string methods(python). If I use the split or splitlines method, I am getting a 'u' character in my list that is created. Is this u character some sort of formatting character(like a newlne) below is the example

>>> tdoc.split()
[u'<?xml', u'version="1.0"', u'?>', u'<team>', u'<player', u'age="27"', u'height="1.96m"', u'name="Mick', u'Fowler">', u'<points>17.1</points>', u'<rebounds>6.4</rebounds>', u'</player>', u'<player', u'age="29"', u'height="2.04m"', u'name="Ivan', u'Ivanovic">', u'<points>15.5</points>', u'<rebounds>7.8</rebounds>', u'</player>', u'</team>']
>>> tdoc.splitlines()
[u'<?xml version="1.0" ?>', u'<team>', u'  <player age="27" height="1.96m" name="Mick Fowler">', u'    <points>17.1</points>', u'    <rebounds>6.4</rebounds>', u'  </player>', u'  <player age="29" height="2.04m" name="Ivan Ivanovic">', u'   <points>15.5</points>', u'    <rebounds>7.8</rebounds>', u'  </player>', u'</team>']

here is the original xml file

 <player name='Mick Fowler' age='27' height='1.96m'>
 <player name='Ivan Ivanovic' age='29' height='2.04m'>

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I noticed I also get these specail characters \r . My book does not mention these anywhere

[ '</description>\r', '<pubDate>Sun, 07 Aug 2005 23:59:59 -0400</pubDate>\r', '<enclosure url="" length="1000000" type="audio/mpeg"/>\r', '</item>\r', '', '', '</channel>\r', '</rss>']

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