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Boston Calling


How the world looks through American eyes and the myriad and unexpected ways the world influences the US

How the world looks through American eyes and the myriad and unexpected ways the world influences the US
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How the world looks through American eyes and the myriad and unexpected ways the world influences the US




Untold Afghanistan

In the early 2000’s the US helped fund Afghanistan's first private university. It was part of an effort to help rebuild Afghanistan's education system. Over time, the American University of Afghanistan has become a symbol of hope for many young Afghan men and women who dream about higher education. But that very hope has also made those students, and their campus in Kabul, targets for extremists. Also: First Lieutenant, Erica MacSwan, prepares for her deployment to Afghanistan; Lt. MacSwan...


The Blockbuster Edition

Crazy Rich Asians is one of the top box office hits of the summer. The film’s plot may just sound like your typical romantic comedy, except it's set in Singapore and it's the first Hollywood film to feature a majority East Asian cast in 25 years. Cast member, Pierre Png, tells us what the film means to him. Also: Germany’s long history of dubbing movies; a linguist who specializes in creating fake movie languages; an American army strategist studies Star Wars to better understand modern...


Northern Neighbours

As a result of President Trump's immigration crackdown, many migrants are seeking a warmer welcome in Canada. Since 2017, 33 thousand people have crossed -- outside of formal border crossings -- to make asylum claims in Canada. Now, the cost of feeding and housing those asylum seekers is pitting the city of Toronto against Canada's federal government. Also: Kenneth Jackson from the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network in Ottawa looks into the plight of first Nation children in the Canadian...


Tech’d Off

This week, Microsoft announced that it detected and stopped attacks on US institutions by Russian hackers linked to the Kremlin. The attacks involved setting up fake websites that mimicked the sites of conservative think tanks that have been critical of President Trump. Zeynep Tufekci studies the intersection of technology and society and she says that foreign hacking and meddling exposes real weaknesses in America's digital security and politics. Also: New York Times technology reporter,...


No Place Like Home

Karolina Chorvath grew up caught between different countries and languages. She’s a third culture kid, which can mean lots of things; some are the children of mixed marriages, some are refugees or the children of immigrants. One thing they have in common, is that they tend to feel like they don’t fully belong anywhere.


The Survivor Edition

Dorelia Rivera and her daughter were onboard the Aeromexico jet when it crashed at the end of the runway and burst into flames. Dozens of people were injured but miraculously all 103 passengers survived. Also: A survivor from Hiroshima devotes his life to telling the stories of the American victims of the atom bomb dropped on the city; teams from Australia and New Zealand are coming to the US to help fight wildfires; a researcher uses a leaf-blower to learn how some lizards survived...


Recycle This

One of America's biggest exports to china is its recycling. But in recent months, China has been refusing shipments because so much US recycling is contaminated with food and other waste. That's forcing communities across the US to clean up their acts. Also: Burberry sends its unsold fashion up in smoke; H&M attempts to market itself as a greener company; a climate scientist in California changes his lifestyle to reduce his carbon footprint; a travel writer grapples with the ethics of...


Food for Thought

President Trump has promised to help America’s soya bean farmers, who have found themselves caught in the middle of the US-China trade war. But will his help be enough? Also: an ice-cream maker in Philadelphia exports his product to China, for people with expensive tastes; a newcomer to Mexico City learns that quesadillas don’t always come with cheese; two entrepreneurs take Korean-Mexican fusion cuisine to Seoul; plus we remember restaurant critic Jonathan Gold and the effect he had on food...


The Red Line

Did Donald Trump commit treason in Helsinki? Legal experts weigh in on the “T” word. Also: we learn all about Russia’s GRU, the country’s largest military intelligence agency; we remember Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 four years after it was shot down over eastern Ukraine; we meet Crimean families who have been displaced after Russia’s annexation of the peninsula; and finally Alina Simone, a Russian immigrant living in New York, explains why she has given up on teaching her daughter Russian....


Baby Guaranteed

One in six Americans is affected by infertility, according to a recent study by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. The US has legal commercial surrogacy programmes, but they can cost more than $100,000, so some couples are looking abroad. This week, we explore the global surrogacy industry by travelling to Ukraine, which has become the go-to spot for foreign couples seeking surrogates, and then to India, where commercial surrogacy may soon be banned. (Image: Kateryna (not her...


Talk to Me

Michael McFaul, a former US ambassador to Russia, gives his take on the upcoming Trump-Putin summit. Also: we meet indigenous language interpreters helping migrants detained on the US-Mexico border make their cases for asylum; we look at global projects to combat loneliness, from dance parties in the Netherlands, to a newspaper for people cut off from society in Japan, to new research being conducted in Utah. We close out with a love song composed by a whale. Yes, for real. (Image: Russia's...


Game On!

I was just really happy,” says The New York Times en Español editor Paulina Chavira, “I was crying because it was a victory for me.” She convinced Mexico's national football team to add accent marks to their jerseys. Also: migrant workers are already building football stadiums in Qatar for the World Cup in 2022; a Pakistani woman created a board game to take on arranged marriage; a Jeopardy! winner has mixed feelings about her victory; and we listen to World Cup themed music from Colombia....


It’s The Law

There is nothing special about the building at 606 South Olive Street in Los Angeles. But if you're an immigrant fighting deportation, what happens inside is all-important. Also: we hear about a child who was separated from his family and put in US immigration detention… in 1930; we meet a feisty Peruvian potato farmer facing down an American mining company; we learn about a proposal to legalise divorce in the Philippines; and we rock out to an Arabic remix of the Beatles song “Drive My...


The Father’s Day Edition

“What I remember about my dad is that he had this penetrating smile.” We recall the life of Tony Acevedo; from child of unauthorised immigrants from Mexico, to US soldier in WWII, to concentration camp survivor, to inspirational father. Also: the daughter of an American spy reveals secrets about her childhood; a father remembers telling his children that he was going to be deported; Vincenzo Bruno, an activist in Costa Rica, comes out as transgender to his son; and Tami Neilson closes out...


The Unforgettable Edition

): Young Navajo in the southwest grapple with a traumatic chapter in US history. ''Nobody shares these stories with me, and I don’t understand why I feel the way I feel. I want to know what happened.'' We learn how the story of the 1864 Long Walk slipped from US history; we dig into the legacy of the Chinese Exclusion Act; a House for Sale sign appears in France and brings back a flood of memories for a New Jersey real estate agent; a museum holds writing workshops for Holocaust survivors;...


The Automated Edition

Bananas and foreign travel: What it means to be a computer hacker in North Korea. In North Korea’s spy agency, operatives aren’t just trained to gather intel. They also hack banks. We hear from a couple of North defectors about what it’s actually like to be a government hacker. Also on the programme: we meet a robot assistant breaking down gender stereotypes; we get to the bottom of a robocall scam; we check our own voicemail box for messages from our listeners; and we visit a restaurant...


The Heist Edition

North Korea’s cyber-hackers have raked in millions of dollars. Also: US border agents on the search for illegal animals; the cheese smugglers of Canada; and we dip into our inbox to find out where you’re listening from. (Image: Students at Mangyongdae Revolutionary School, a prestigious academy in Pyongyang. Credit: KCNA)


The Deadline Edition

As NAFTA talks grind on, thousands of skilled workers wonder if they will keep their jobs. A Trade NAFTA or "T-N visa” allows citizens of Canada and Mexico to work in the US in a range of job categories. It could now be in jeopardy as the Trump administration seeks to renegotiate the trade agreement by the end of the year. Also: There is a shortage of summer workers in Cape Cod, partly due to changes to a temporary worker visa program; as the US and China talk trade and tariffs, some in...


Inside the Box

As traditional business models continue to break down, entrepreneurs have their sights on one more area to disrupt: traditional orthodontics. Also: biodegradable six-pack holders finally go on the market; a former ambassador tells us what's in a diplomatic pouch; the French consider adopting 'le doggy bag' for restaurant leftovers; we ride along with 23 greyhounds across the US/Mexico border; and composer Idan Raichel performs a song for us using an assortment of improvised musical...


On the Move

Alabama used to be known for its textile industry. Now, it’s becoming the automotive hub of the South. Also: we find out what it’s like to fly on Air Koryo, North Korea’s national airline; we meet Dean Huang, a Taiwanese-born immigrant who was living his dream life in the US when he got a letter from Taiwan’s military that changed everything; plus director Miao Wang tells us about her documentary Maineland, which follows the lives of two teens from China studying at a boarding school in...