MORNING RUSH: news, sport, weather, traffic and online buzz

9.04am That's it for us this morning. Thanks for joining us for another day. We'll be back tomorrow from 6am. 

9.01am Good morning to any Rush newcomers. Some essentials: 

WEATHER We’re in for a hot and fairly humid day with a top of 26 degrees in Wollongong. Right now it’s 20 degrees and rising. Winds northerly 15 to 20 km/h turning northeasterly 15 to 25 km/h in the middle of the day.

ROADS All is well on the region’s roads. 

TRAINS There is good service on the South Coast line, following some earlier delays caused by mechanical repairs at Wollongong. 

8.53am The talented Penny Hartgerink is performing in Crown Street Mall today. She's part of the Creative Garden outside David Jones, where the Big Fat Smile team are running free activities daily throughout December, 11am-2pm. 

8.49am There's some truly amazing footage in the big wave surf flick Storm Surfers. Get to Kiama's Hindmarsh Park Friday night for an al fresco screening and don't forget your picnic blanket!

8.42am This upcoming performance has been funded by the crowd-funding group Culture Bank Wollongong. Great stuff. 

8.21am Surfers ploughed 1000 broken boards into the sand at Garie Beach on Saturday then lit a candle under each to spectacular effect. 1000 Surfboard Graveyard is an installation by Chris Anderson to highlight the issue of waste and landfill associated with broken surfboards.

8.16am John Lennon's school detention files, showing he was punished for "shoving", "fighting" and "sabotage" have sold for $15,000 apiece at an online auction overnight. "On two occasions, the Beatle accumulated three detentions in the space of a single day," reports the ABC. 

8.12am Killer claims no memory of shooting murder bit.ly/1bdLFSw

8.07am The SMH's Good Food team have road tested a bunch of Christmas staples including fruit mince pies, Christmas cake and shortbread to find the best hamper-fillers. bit.ly/1ba4eeF

8am Good morning if you're just joining us. An update: 

WEATHER We’re in for a hot and fairly humid day with a top of 26 degrees in Wollongong. Right now it’s 16 degrees at Albion Park, 19 at Bellambi and 17 at Kiama. Winds northerly 15 to 20 km/h turning northeasterly 15 to 25 km/h in the middle of the day.

ROADS All is well on the region’s roads. 

TRAINS There are some delays on the South Coast line due to a train requiring mechanical repairs at Wollongong. As well, buses are replacing the 7.56am Port Kembla to Waterfall train between Port Kembla and Thirroul - a train will operate between Thirroul and Waterfall. Passengers should allow extra travel time, listen to station announcements and check indicator boards.

7.55am Sydney's second airport would operate 24 hours a day, Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss has said, as he moved closer to announcing the airport would be built at Badgerys Creek. The SMH has the story.

7.49am Nest Emporium is a new addition to the Shellharbour Village and produces some damn fine window stylin's.

7.38am Sun's out, guns out ... Wollongong Hawks players hit the sand at North Beach yesterday ahead of Saturday's showdown with the Sydney Kings. It's a home game - see you at the WEC? Here's Tim Keeble's preview from the Merc's sports pages - bit.ly/1g0d2Y3

7.27am We live in a beautiful place indeed.

7.20am Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's The Other Superman! Former Paralympian and Australia’s Got Talent star Paul Nunnari will be the main attraction at the Disability Information Services Mini Expo in the mall today to mark the International Day of People With a Disability. From 10am-2pm. bit.ly/19dzrtg

7.14am Our photographers have also released this sensational video, containing some of the most striking pictures taken from their combined 197 years on the job. The vid is a side project of photographer Andy Zakeli's Lenswork business.Well worth a watch.bit.ly/1arfqiC

7.10am The Mercury photographers have joined Facebook, hurrah! And they say Facey's losing its cool among the young folk. Hah! 

7am Good morning, happy Tuesday! If you're just joining us, here's what's happening in the sky, on the roads and on the rail lines

 WEATHER We’re in for a hot and fairly humid day with a top of 26 degrees in Wollongong. Right now it’s 12 degrees at Albion Park, 17 at Bellambi and 16 at Kiama. Winds northerly 15 to 20 km/h turning northeasterly 15 to 25 km/h in the middle of the day.

ROADS All is well on the region’s roads. 

TRAINS There are some delays on the South Coast line due to a train requiring mechanical repairs at Wollongong. As well, buses are replacing the 6.11am Port Kembla to Thirroul train, the 6.59am Thirroul to Port Kembla train and the 7.56am Port Kembla to Waterfall train. Passengers should allow extra travel time, listen to station announcements and check indicator boards.

6.58am Wild Rumpus are having their lovely little Suitcase Market in Thirroul on Sunday. See here for details of this and other inventive activities: 

6.55am In the mall today: 

6.45am Schoolies teen Jasmine Baker is headed home to Australia after she was allegedly poisoned by a methanol drink in Bali. 

6.36am  A packet of smokes is going to cost more than $20 by the end of 2014. A doctors' lobby group has warned the latest tobacco tax, which takes effect from Sunday, will hit low-income people and those with mental illnesses particularly hard. Read more here: http://bit.ly/18bHj1l

6.32am Do you have kids? Remember the teachers are having a stop-work meeting this morning. Schools will have minimal supervision between 9am and 11am while teachers meet to discuss the new agreement reached between the Department of Education and the NSW Teachers’ Federation.

6.24am Rio tops this SMH list of the top six cities to visit in 2014. WARNING: Reading may bring about feelings of itchy footed-ness and induce sad, longing sighs. bit.ly/1g02oAF

6.18am Australia's Next Top Model host and social media devotee Charlotte Dawson has succeeded in having a Twitter account featuring images of child rape suspended. 

6.11am Regarding that Albion Park bypass funding; local Laborite Gino Mandarino (of Shellharbour MP Anna Watson's office) is unimpressed:

6.06am And in national news: 

PM finds a massive $1.2b of ''new money'' from education portfolio to restore Labor's original schools funding plan - SMH

* Senior ministers are resisting pressure to inject taxpayer funds into Qantas to prop up the national carrier, as its rivalry with Virgin erupts into open warfare - The Australian

* two-year-old boy has died after being pulled unconscious from a Cronulla backyard pool and suffering a cardiac arrest.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/toddler-dies-after-being-pulled-from-pool-20131201-2yjxt.html#ixzz2mLWkNBVM

6.03am Here’s what’s making news in the Illawarra today: 

* Seventeen years after the NSW government set aside a road corridor for a bypass around congestion-plagued Albion Park, a review has found the corridor remains a suitable location to complete "the missing link" in the M1 Princes Motorway/A1 Princes Highway network. Read more here: bit.ly/IoYX8d

* Gujarat NRE shareholders have been warned any further investment in the troubled mining company is "highly speculative" and "not risk free". bit.ly/18bBZer

* Illawarra health union representatives are concerned that the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District's medical imaging services could be privatised as the result of an executive review. bit.ly/19dtGfb

* Reports that nearby residents have set up picnic tables at Albion Park Rail cemetery and are using the land as an off-leash dog area have prompted a crackdown by Shellharbour City Council. bit.ly/1c7jJ3J

6am Good morning, Illawarra. If you're just waking up, here's what's happening in the sky, on the roads and on the rail lines. 

 WEATHER We’re in for a hot and fairly humid day with a top of 26 degrees in Wollongong. Right now it’s 11 degrees at Albion Park, 17 at Bellambi and 15 at Kiama. Winds northerly 15 to 20 km/h turning northeasterly 15 to 25 km/h in the middle of the day.

ROADS All is well on the region’s roads. 

TRAINS There are some delays on the South Coast line due to a train requiring mechanical repairs at Wollongong. As well, buses are replacing the 5.29am Thirroul to Port Kembla train and the 6.11am Port Kembla to Thirroul train. Passengers should allow extra travel time, listen to station announcements and check indicator boards.

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