The old server handling it ok (using php 5.3). The new server using php 7.3 and newer version of mysql displays diamonds. I change cx to db to old server from new hosting and I still get the diamonds no matter if I specify meta utf-8 or iso-8859-1. The old page (#1 see below) doesn't even match as the html page is set to meta iso-8559 but the db is utf8_general_ci (including the fields).
the code on the page is:
<?php echo ((substr((html_entity_decode($WADAnews->getColumnVal("news_content", false))), 0, 200))) . "......"; ?> READ FULL STORY <img src="images/arrow.png" width="10px" height="auto" alt=""/>
Thanks for your help.