My keyboard is also international, you know. On the Swedish keyboard you generate it with the same key that generate the ^ and ~ characters, but all these three (yes, three characters from one button, that's where you use that ALT GR key that isn't on U.S. keyboards) are dead keys, too. When I don't need Swedish characters, I use the U.S. layout since it's much better. You can see what layout those that designed UNIX and C used... I suggest you check it out, too.
Anyhow... can you check how the processor time is spent? See if it's spent in user or system mode. If it's spent in system (kernel) mode, that's the reason why you can't attach to it with strace. Also, check the state of the xinetd process. Is it R, S or D? It _should_ be R, but check anyway.