The first four IDN ccTLD requests has just been announced as having completed the String Evaulation portion of the Fast Track Process.
These are associated with: Egypt, the Russian Federation, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia.
See the full announcement here: http://icann.org/en/announcements/announcement-21jan10-en.htm
So what does that mean?
It means that these may now initiate the String Delegation process, which is the last step before the strings are actually in the DNS root zone and hence available for use.
The remaining 12 requests are still being processed and at ICANN we are very much looking forward to completing more requests as well as receiving additional new requests
Overall, the Fast Track Process has three main steps:
1) Preparation (by the requester in the country / territory). Community consensus is built for which IDN ccTLD to apply for, how it is run, and which organization will be running it, along with preparing and gathering all the required supporting documentation.
2) String Evaluation: incoming requests to ICANN in accordance with the criteria described above: the technical and linguistic requirements for the IDN ccTLD string(s). Applications are received through an online system available together with additional material supporting the process at http://www.icann.org/en/topics/idn/fast-track/
3) String Delegation: requests successfully meeting string evaluation criteria are eligible to apply for delegation following the same ICANN IANA process as is used for ASCII based ccTLDs. String delegation requests are submitted to IANA root zone management.