@Reprieve Kate Higham discusses the arrest of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr


Ali Mohammed al-Nimr was arrested in 2012 for taking part in pro-democracy protests in Saudi Arabia when he was just 17 years old and was sentenced to death by beheading and crucifixion on 27 May 2014.

Experts, including the UN’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial or arbitrary executions Christof Heyns said imposing the death penalty on someone who was a child at the time of offending and after allegations of torture was “incompatible with Saudi Arabia’s international obligations”.

Jason McCrossan spoke to @Reprieve spokesperson Kate Higham who explains exactly what happened to Ali and what action needs to be taken now to save his life.

How to Talk To Your Pet: Dr Gary Weitzman

Dr. Gary Weitzman, president and CEO of the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA and author of the new National Geographic book “How to Speak Cat, observes the actions of Pepper, a black and white  resident of Humane Society shelter Wednesday, April 8, 2015, in San Diego.    (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)
Dr. Gary Weitzman, president and CEO of the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA and author of the new National Geographic book “How to Speak Cat, observes the actions of Pepper, a black and white resident of Humane Society shelter Wednesday, April 8, 2015, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

Animal behaviour expert and Vet Dr Gary Weitzman is the author of a new book from National Geographic, How To Speak Cat, and tells Jason McCrossan that cats are far more loving and dependent on human affection than many of us realise. He chatted to Jason McCrossan on 106.9 SFM www.sfmradio.com Monday Matters.

Writing’s on the Wall – for the next bond theme


The latest James Bond theme song has been released today (25 Sept) sung by Sam Smith and called “Writing’s on the Wall”.

The song has been written for the 24th instalment of the franchised film genre which tells the story of Bond’s first encounter with the global criminal agency known as SPECTRE.  It was once again directed by Sam Mendes.

I often think that writing a song for Bond must be a little bit like writing for Eurovision – everyone has an opinion and it is never as good as when ‘Bucks Fizz’ did it; which can be seen by the fact that Dame Shirley Bassey’s Goldfinger song started trending.


Smith’s Writing’s on the Wall feels rather timid and underplayed compared to previous Bond themes.  It starts off well with the crashing string harmonies and atmospheric ‘the lady like’s Milk-Tray’ horn section.  However, it then goes into what feels like any other pop song – that only hints at being for the famous franchise.  In fact, it starts very much like Adele’s Skyfall – but where Adele’s song develops into a fully formed- “this is a Bond song, get over it” – I’m not sure Sam’s does. It doesn’t feel memorable.  When my mind replays Adele, I can clearly hear her vocals pitching up and down – like a boat in a gale force 8 storm – her voice crescendoing up and over as she reaches the crest of “skyfaaaAAALLLLL” with the stings & horns crashing around her – giving it that memorable sound. “Writing’s on the Wall” is ok for a song – but maybe not for a great Bond song and is only memorable in that it has Sam’s voice stamped all over it.

On location: filming on the Thames in London for the 24th 007.

Then again – maybe it’s a generational thing.  I loved Casino Royale and thought it heralded a new era in bond; and then found no solace in 2008’s Quantum; and was left suitably unimpressed by large chunks of Skyfall.  So maybe, the whole modern Bond thing just isn’t for me.  I loved my Bond when he made a witty off-the-cuff remark after jumping 500 feet from a cable car or when the villain cartwheeled over rivers and escaped in a flying car.

The famous cork-screw car jump from The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
The famous cork-screw car jump from The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)

Spectre is scheduled to be released on 26 October 2015 in the United Kingdom on the same night as the world premiere in London, followed by the worldwide release on 6 November.

Monday Matters with Bruce Springsteen & Dr. Gary Weitzman

Monday Matters Bruce Springsteen

On Monday Matters tonight our featured artist is the US singer and songwriter Bruce Springsteen, ‘The Boss’, who celebrates his birthday on Wednesday September 23.

Jason speaks to animal behaviourist Dr Gary Wietzman who as well as writing books on how to talk to your animals runs the San Diego Humane Society.

In our Night-Time Report Lord Ashcroft’s unauthorised biography of David Cameron is discussed with Skynews Adam Boulton and the books co-author Isabel Oakeshott as doubt is cast over the credibility of some of the stories.


In tonight’s music news Kyra tells us about Rhianna latest album and news on the Beatles first contract which has been sold in auction.

A recording of Sir Elton John’s phone call with two pranksters – one claiming to be Vladimir Putin – was released last week. We will play an excerpt of the tape – which by ‘prank call’ standards – is a bit lame.


And in the final hour – Music Matters – we hear music and interviews from the Life of Tina Turner.

Press Play to hear Monday Matters

Beverley Craven chats to Jason about her album: Change Of Heart

Beverley Craven

BRIT-Award winning singer Beverley Craven became a household name in the early 90’s with the release of her eponymous debut album which became a worldwide hit, selling more than two million copies. Her 1991 single, ‘Promise Me’, went on to become a huge hit across Europe and she followed this up with a string of chart successes including ‘Memories’, Holding On’, ‘Woman To Woman’ and ‘Love Scenes’.

On the 28th of July 2014, Beverley celebrated her birthday and was kind enough to speak to Jason on his Monday Matters radio show about her forthcoming album “Change Of Heart” which was released on 1st September.

106.9 SFM Saturday Breakfast radio show 12 Sept 2015

Hand on a mixer, operating the leader
Hand on a mixer, operating the leader

This morning we are after tales of miscalculations.

Our poem in tranquil time this morning is by Robert Louis Stevenson – Where Go The Boats – read this morning by Gill Fraser Lee.

Also after 8am – Blankety Blank returns with Feather Barkweasle – for the final time. All you need to do is guess the word from the question and match with either Jason or Feather. Next week will see the start of a new game.

After 9pm it’s Pick of The Number One pops – today we start in 1960.

Kyra is talking your calls, texts and emails.

Jan has the latest news headlines.

Text: 078600 2 03 03
email: studio@sfmradio.com
or leave a message on our facebook https://www.facebook.com/106.9SFM

URGENT ACTION: Ali Mohammed Baqir al-Nimr

Beheading picture saudi arabia

A Saudi Arabian activist has had his death sentence by beheading and crucifixion for alleged participation in anti-government protests. The offenses he “confessed” to had taken place when he was 17 years old. He has exhausted his appeals and may be executed as soon as the King ratifies the sentence.

Ali Mohammed Baqir al-NimrAli  al-Nimr was sentenced to death on 27 May 2014. The sentence has now been upheld by appeal judges at the Specialised Criminal Court (SCC) and by the Supreme Court, according to his family, who have only just learned of the courts’ decisions. The case was sent
to the Ministry of Interior in August 2015 for the sentence to be implemented. He is liable to be executed as soon as the
King has ratified the sentence.

Saudi Arabia is one of the most prolific executioners in the world, putting more than 2,200 people to death between 1985 and 2015. Between January and the end of August 2015, it executed at least 130 people, almost half of them for offences that do not meet the threshold of “most serious crimes” for which the death penalty can be imposed under international

Saudi Arabia execution 5 Yemeni
Once beheaded the bodies can be exhibited by crucifixion for 3 days as a sick deterrent to others

Saudi Arabia also sentences people to death, and executes them, for crimes committed when they were below 18 years
of age, in violation of the country’s obligations under customary international law and the Convention on the Rights of the

His Majesty Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud
King and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia His Majesty Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud

Ali al-Nimr had been arrested on 14 February 2012, when he was 17 years old, and taken to the General Directorate of
Investigations (GDI) prison in Dammam, in the Eastern Province. He was not allowed to see his lawyer and has said that
GDI officers tortured him to make him sign a “confession”. He was then taken to a centre for juvenile rehabilitation, Dar alMulahaza, and was returned to the GDI prison in Dammam when he turned 18.

Ali Mohammed Baqir al-Nimr

Ali al-Nimr is the nephew of a prominent Shi’a cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, from al-Awamiyya in Qatif, eastern Saudi
Arabia, who was sentenced to death by the Specialized Criminal Court on 15 October 2014.

For more information visit Amnesty International website 

Or sign the Reprieve petition to try and save Ali al-Nimr from crucifixion.

What #Londoners secretly think about their workplace – 2015 survey findings revealed

Unhappy worker in office

The London Office Workers’ Survey 2015 has uncovered what London workers really think about their colleagues, offices and what they can’t live without…

When faced with the question “what is the one thing you can’t live without in the office?” our shameless London office workers have no qualms in dropping their colleagues! According to the results from the survey, what we really want to get us through the 9 – 5 is simply ‘coffee’ (27%). The caffeine buzz is even more important than our friends (4%) and mobile phones. (We’re sorry tea drinkers, you came second).


The survey carried out by Swift Office Cleaning Services Ltd presents interesting findings on office workers’ perceptions of their working environment and details of their commute.

So, what about the offices we work in – how do we feel about the premises in which we spend our working week?

As the trend for companies to move towards open plan working instead of the traditional segregated office continues– results from the Survey suggest workers would actually invite the return of the individual office format. Open plan working is proving to be too noisy and cluttered for workers. 20% of people cited the space in the office to be one thing they would change if they have the opportunity, be it having their own office, or to “have smaller office areas rather than the large open plan layout”.

The minimalist design in offices is also a gripe for many London workers. 10% of survey respondents would change the look of their office saying “paint it a bright colour”, “less clinical white on the walls”, “more inviting décor”, make it “more colourful and spacious”. And the significance of office décor should not be underestimated, 66% of people questioned gave décor a mark of 4 or 5 out of 5 for importance compared with just 2% who gave it little or no value at all. And of course someone wanted a slide installed…

It’s not just office décor that holds great value to workers. Companies who get the environment and cleanliness right could see their work productivity soaring as 90% of London workers say they feel more productive in a clean environment and 86% of Londoners in the survey strongly agree that a clean office is important. 9% would like to see “people be more clean around the office”, have “better cleaners” and “have it cleaned on a regular basis”.

Perhaps surprisingly only 9% of London office workers taking the survey said they’d change the people they work with. Of course there were a couple of people saying they’d change “the boss”, and someone simply wants “more women”!

However, other people-related issues include wanting to have “better teamwork”, “the best people, clean and tidy people” and to “get rid of the lazy workers”.

It would appear that our office managers need to take a good look at office provisions too. Of course there are the requests for free biscuits in the kitchen and requirements for better coffee machines (we already know this is THE most important thing in the office…) but when it comes to eating and drinking in the office, the general consensus is “not to allow staff to eat at their desks”. This brings us back to the desire for “more space effective” layouts in the office and specifically areas to relax and to eat away from desks.

‘6 of the Best’ from the London Office Workers’ Survey 2015

1: 42% believe men and women are equally messy in the office, yet 40% think it’s just the men…
2: 20% of commuters read the free papers
3: 90% of workers feel more productive in a clean environment
4: 27% of people choose coffee over anything else in the office…
5: … including their friends! 4%
6: In fact 9% of you would change the people you work with – including your boss!

For more information visit Swift Cleaning.co.uk

Elton John hoaxed by Russian pranksters

Dmitry Medvedev, Elton John...Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, left, listens to English musician Elton John after his concert in Moscow on Sunday, Dec. 12, 2010. Medvedev's wife Svetlana smiles at center. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Dmitry Astakhov, Presidential Press Service)
Dmitry Medvedev, Elton John…Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, left, listens to English musician Elton John after his concert in Moscow on Sunday, Dec. 12, 2010. Medvedev’s wife Svetlana smiles at center. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Dmitry Astakhov, Presidential Press Service)

The Russian comedians Vovan and Lexus appeared on Russian TV to release the conversation, in which Sir Elton was asked to discuss gay rights.  I’d imagine Elton was genuinely hurt when he found out it was a hoax because he sounds like he thought he could of made a difference.

But the thing about Putin and his stance on gay people – and I’m sure Elton gets this – is that President Putin doesn’t care about people being gay – he cares about his own popularity.  By attacking minority groups & saying that they are the root of Russia’s problem – it distracts from the real issue – of his failing government and the corruption that surrounds it and props it up.  I hope that this audio was played in Russia – because as far as prank calls go – it wasn’t particularly funny – but it does show how much Sir Elton cares about Russian people – more, it could be said – than Vladimir Putin.

I wonder if Vovan and Lexus thought about carrying out the same type of prank or President Putin?  Or, if they decided they didn’t fancy a long spell in a Russian prison – worse still – getting a bullet in their head – a fate that has befallen many a Russian journalist – because that is how politics works over there.

POEM – Robert Louis Stevenson – Where Go The Boats


Robert Louis Stevenson was a Scottish novelist, poet, essayist, and travel writer. His most famous works are Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

Jill Fraser Lee reads his poem Where Go The Boats on 106.9 SFM Saturday Breakfast show.