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

8.46am That's it from us this morning. Enjoy this beautiful weather - what a treat! Join us tomorrow for the TGIF edition of the Rush, yippee!

8.43am Arrr, the 90s. What a wonderful era for fashion, film and teen heart-throbs. Sigh. Take a walk down memory lane with this gallery.

8.40am LOCAL SPORT: Wollongong forward Tim Coenraad has pinpointed the Hawks' bullseye shooting from downtown as the key factor behind his team's ability to stay in matches.

8.37am BREAKING: A headless body has reportedly been found under a bridge in Sydney's west. A man, out for his morning walk, found the body under the Duck River Bridge in Auburn about 6am on Thursday. He told emergency services that the body had no head. A post-mortem examination will be carried out today. (SMH)

8.35am Need a break from the kids? Why not try out the Kidzcare vacation care program at the Lake Illawarra PCYC? It’s on until January 24. Call 4296 4448 for more information. Daily rate is $35 plus excursion costs.

8.32am The Mercury’s sport journos will be launching some new columns this year. Watch out for some great new content!

8.30am WORLD NEWS: The wrong-airport landing by Southwest Airlines, the second incident in two months by US carriers, is heightening regulators' concerns that pilots are missing obvious visual and instrument cues while failing to check one another's work.

8.28am Looking for something to do with the kids today? Head over to Towradgi Beach Hotel for the Little Leonardo Art Classes. They will run weekdays until January 24. Spaces are limited so please call to ensure your child’s place. Payment is required at the time of booking. Classes are perfect for five to 12 year olds, and are only $12 per child.

8.25am MOVIE NEWS: It's Razzie Time! The Adam Sandler comedy Grown Ups 2 dominated the Razzie Awards yesterdya with eight nominations, including worst picture and actor in the annual mock awards handed out for cinematic ignobility. Will Smith's After Earth, a futuristic post-apocalyptic tale of a father and his son, was not far behind with six nods. The Razzie winners will be announced on March 1, the eve of the Academy Awards, Hollywood's biggest awards fest. (SMH)

8.23am We've wrapped up our Weekender magazine into one neat, little online package. We'll be posting it weekly for your to enjoy. Check out last week's mag here.

8.21am Don't forget we're doing regular crosses to Pulse 94.1FM with all the latest news headlines. Listen in!

8.19am Happy birthday to Kate Moss who is celebrating her 40th today. And a happy birthday to all the other birthday babies out there.

8.17am LOCAL SPORT: Jay Marmont jokes he won't mind racing when he's got grey hair, but knows his time will be up when he's not that guy always challenging at the pointy end. So after a disappointing season attempting to defend his supercross crown, the rejuvenated Wollongong ace confirmed he will return to Yamaha this year with every intention of wresting back a national title.

8.15am NATIONAL NEWS: Queensland’s premier has ruled out a massive cruise ship terminal and resort planned near one of the Gold Coast’s iconic surf breaks. Concerned locals have been campaigning against the $2 billion project ever since it was proposed near Kirra Beach. A huge paddle-out protest was planned at the beach on Sunday, but Premier Campbell Newman has now ruled out the project. (AAP)

8.13am If you're heading to the beach today, don't forget to swim between the flags. The beaches will probably be packed today so make the job of our lifeguards easier by doing the right thing!

8.11am Head over to the Botanic Gardens today for a trip with Captain Compost and the Chocolate Explorers. Join the sea-faring pirates on a quest to unveil the discovery of chocolate before Captain Compost shows kids how they can turn uneaten holiday food into valuable compost for the garden. It’s on until Friday from 10am to 1.30pm. Suitable for ages 3-12. Cost: $9 per child; family package (2 or more children) $17. Sausage sizzle and cool drinks will be available.

8.09am STRANGE BUT TRUE: To most people, putting a bird cage on your head and jumping into the ocean with a live tiger shark is an obviously stupid thing to do. But it took a close call for Gold Coast daredevil Shaun Harrington to learn that lesson the hard way. Mr Harrington, 27, jumped into the water off Coolangatta last weekend, armed with only a flimsy bird cage, to be filmed with a tiger shark. A 33-second YouTube clip shows Mr Harrington in the water next to the shark, before the 2.5-metre predator narrowly misses him as it lunges for him and slams into the boat. Mr Harrington said he would not be repeating the stunt. (AAP)

8.07am LOCAL NEWS: A Wollongong defence lawyer has described as ‘‘complete and utter fantasy’’ police claims that one of her clients lodged a claw hammer in another man’s arm during a violent stoush over an unpaid debt.

8.05am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Is J-Lo heading back down the aisle?

7.59am Here's the top stories from the Mercury today:

*tragic story from court reporter Shannon Tonkin: An unwanted bond, forged in the most tragic of circumstances. Stephen Borjeson and Shane Gardner were yesterday united in their heartache as they recalled a shared experience that forever changed their lives 18 months ago. Read here for more.

*Cracks are starting to show in the brand new Crown Street Mall refurbishment as the much-touted granite pavers lining the CBD strip began to rupture this week.

*Six employees of Wollongong’s Rocksalt Bar & Grill are chasing unpaid holiday entitlements and superannuation, following the restaurant’s sudden closure earlier this month.

*Member for Wollongong Noreen Hay has called on Roads and Maritime Services to investigate "as a matter of urgency" ways to improve traffic flows at a notorious Spring Hill intersection.

7.57am Good morning! Here is your weather, traffic and trains for the morning.

WEATHER Another gorgeous day on the way, woohoo! We're headed for a sunny day with a top of 28 degrees - positively balmy compared to those suffering through 46 degree days in Adelaide & Melbourne. Fire danger is very high & the UV is extreme so be sun safe! Right now it's 18 degrees in Albion Park and 20 in Bellambi.

TRAFFIC Everything looks a-okay on the road this morning. Don't forget those road works at Gerringong. The Illawarra Folk Festival starts today so traffic could be a little congested around Bulli Showground throughout the day. There is a burst water main at Gymea (Kingsway @ Premier St)  - one westbound lane is closed. Allow extra travel time. There is also a truck breakdown @ Moore Park (Eastern Distributor) - one northbound lane is closed and traffic is backed up for nearly 5km. It's going to be a loooong wait there.

TRAINS There is a good service on the South Coast line but some delays on the Eastern Suburbs/Illawarra line.

7.54am Enjoy the beautiful views from Scarborough Hotel, with a side of art, at an exhibition opening at the Matthew Gillett Gallery tonight. It's on from 6pm to 8pm. Complimentary canapes on arrival.

7.52am BREAKING: Governor-General Quentin Bryce will attend the funeral of victim Daniel Christie ''as an expression of the community's revulsion'' of violence on Sydney's streets. Sources close to the Governor-General have told Fairfax Media Ms Bryce made the extraordinary decision after she spoke with Daniel's parents Maureen and Michael this week, following his death on Saturday after a punch to the head. (SMH)

7.50am Adelaide is set to be the hottest city in the world today. Well, that is just silly.

7.48am Protein balls are taking over! Well, not literally but they are becoming a very popular snack. We've got a recipe for some tasty balls that are, quite simply, amazeballs.

7.46am TRAIN ALERT: Passengers travelling on the Eastern Suburbs/Illawarra line should allow additional travel time following a police operation at Sydenham.

7.45am SPORT - cricket: Brett Lee lost the war of words but had the last laugh after the Sydney Sixers came back from the brink of defeat to beat the Hobart Hurricanes in a Big Bash League thriller on Wednesday night.

7.43am Want to check out our Hawks take on the Taipans on Australia Day? We’re giving away family passes here.

7.42am If you missed this story yesterday, here is what a 320kg shark looks likeYep - it wasn’t quite as big as Jaws, but a group of Lake Macquarie  fishermen were left wondering if they were going to need a bigger boat after landing a 320-kilogram monster about 30 nautical miles off Swansea. 

7.40am NATIONAL NEWS: Taxi passengers in NSW will be ''ripped off'' compared with their Victorian counterparts when that state's taxi reforms begin next month, according to former competition regulator Graeme Samuel.

7.38am LOCAL NEWS: A group of Wollongong University students will this year call the pub home, following a $500,000 refurbishment at Fairy Meadow's Charles Hotel. The upstairs floor of the 60-year-old watering hole - formerly home to 11 rooms, a handful of tenants and some grimy, aged carpet - has been gutted and transformed into a gleaming student dorm. Read more here.

7.34am Step into the Loopy, Loony Minion’s Laboratory of Despicable Me 2 today! Bring your mini scientists down to Westfield Figtree's centre court, where their mission is to model their very own minion out of clay to take home! It’s on until Saturday from 10.30am - 1.30pm daily.

7.27am An interesting food story, spotted on the SMH's Good Food should you peel mushrooms? Really!? People do this?! For this, and other odd questions, see here.

7.25am TV NEWS: Monica and Chandler are back together! Well, sort of. Matthew Perry has been filiming a spot on Courtney Cox's show Cougar Town.

7.23am If you're shopping in the Crown St Mall today, enjoy some free live music from the Hot Potato Band.

7.22am NATIONAL NEWS: Two men repairing a fence in western Sydney have discovered a body. Police say they made the find about 1.30pm yesterday on a block on Flynn Avenue in West Hoxton. Police could not confirm whether the body is that of a male or a female. A crime scene has been established. (SMH)

7.18am Do you think your office would benefit from a napping pod? How about a slippery dip? I certainly do, a slippery dip would be great! Check out this list of everything a modern office should have.

7.16am LOCAL NEWS: Commercial fishers on Lake Illawarra have a vested interest in acting responsibly to ensure fishing is sustainable, a long-time professional said yesterday. Juan Jewell, 47, holds one of the 34 professional licences to fish Lake Illawarra and surrounds, and has made a living from fishing there for 12 years. He said he had not seen fish numbers decline.

7.14am Are you heading out for a run this morning? Well, you might want to think about your choice of music. According to a recent study, listening to the right music can maximise your work-out. The study, by Brunel University in London, found certain genres of music work better for specific types of exercise, and that listening to the wrong type of music could harm your workout performance. Read more here.

7.12am Looking for something to do with the kids today? Why not take them to Kids Day Out @ Thirroul Community Centre. It's on from 10am to 4pm. Enjoy a day of reading, writing, drawing and storytelling. Children must be accompanied by an adult and must register.

7.10am BREAKING: A woman is being treated in hospital after she was sexually assaulted on a walkway leading to the Anzac Bridge in Sydney's inner west. A 26-year-old man was arrested in Pyrmont and is being questioned over the attack on the Rozelle side of the bridge about 2.45am on Thursday. The woman, aged in her mid 20s, was believed to have been attacked on a pathway leading up to the bridge that runs beside the old White Bay Power Station. (SMH)

7.08am Tickets are now on sale for the Phoenix production of Godspell. Visit the company’s website for more information.

7.05am MOVIE NEWS: Clueless fans, rejoice! There is a Twitter account that reveals how the characters of the hit movie would sound today - and it's pretty hilarious.

7.03am LOCAL SPORT: Hawks guard Rhys Martin believes it would be a "huge" setback to their mid-season surge if teammate Tyson Demos can't recover in time for Sunday's home stoush with Cairns.

7.01am The Gerringong Twilight markets are tonight at the Gerringong Anglican Church from 4pm to 7.30pm.

6.59am NATIONAL NEWS: Nestle and an anti-allergy charity have been accused of encouraging a new range of ''lunchbox friendly'' muesli bars to be allowed in playgrounds, even though they could be dangerous for people with nut allergies.

6.57am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Miley Cyrus continues to shock - good news, she's wearing clothes! Bad news, she has a bowl cut.

6.55am Here's the top stories from the Mercury today:

*tragic story from court reporter Shannon Tonkin: An unwanted bond, forged in the most tragic of circumstances. Stephen Borjeson and Shane Gardner were yesterday united in their heartache as they recalled a shared experience that forever changed their lives 18 months ago. Read here for more.

*Cracks are starting to show in the brand new Crown Street Mall refurbishment as the much-touted granite pavers lining the CBD strip began to rupture this week.

*Six employees of Wollongong’s Rocksalt Bar & Grill are chasing unpaid holiday entitlements and superannuation, following the restaurant’s sudden closure earlier this month.

*Member for Wollongong Noreen Hay has called on Roads and Maritime Services to investigate "as a matter of urgency" ways to improve traffic flows at a notorious Spring Hill intersection.

6.54am Good morning! If you're just waking up, rise & shine! And also, here is your weather, traffic and trains for the morning.

WEATHER Another gorgeous day on the way, woohoo! We're headed for a sunny day with a top of 28 degrees - positively balmy compared to those suffering through 46 degree days in Adelaide & Melbourne. Fire danger is very high & the UV is extreme so be sun safe! Right now it's 15 degrees in Albion Park and 18 in Bellambi.

TRAFFIC Everything looks a-okay on the road this morning. Don't forget those road works at Gerringong. The Illawarra Folk Festival starts today so traffic could be a little congested around Bulli Showground throughout the day. All also looks well for the drive to Sydney.

TRAINS There is a good service on the South Coast line.

6.51am Okay, so I'm a little sad but ... I love the Rhonda and Katut ads. Have you seen the new one where Katut comes to the reunion and puts the anklet back on Rhonda's leg? Hilarious!Oh man so tragic, but I really love them.

6.49am SPORT - Australian Open: Bernard Tomic insists he risked being out of the game for up to four months if he played on through a groin injury against Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open. Read more here.

6.47am LOCAL NEWS: Don't forget the Illawarra Folk Festival kicks off today. We've got today's program right here. Remember, traffic could be a little congested on the Princes Hwy at Bulli, near the showground, so leave plenty of time. People have been urged to catch public transport where possible. There are also two Green Music trains leaving Bondi Junction at 8.13am and 9.13am daily.

6.45am The Hawks first basketball clinic is on today at the Snakepit. Great chance for the kids to spend time having fun and learning new skills with their Wollongong NRE Hawks heroes. Call HawksHQ to register.

6.43am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Could Jessica Mauboy be engaged?

6.41am WORLD NEWS: Veteran British presenter Dave Lee Travis sexually assaulted young women while live on television and in his radio studio, prosecutors have told his trial. The 68-year-old former BBC star, one of the biggest names in British broadcasting during the 1970s and 1980s, denies assaulting 11 women, one of whom was underage at the time of the alleged crime.

6.39am NATIONAL NEWS: Passengers on a train that derailed in the eastern suburbs yesterday after a bar broke through the floor of a carriage, say it was making loud noises and emitting burning smells from the time it left Bondi Junction. Kiriana Buffett was standing near the entrance to the carriage when the bar burst in, narrowly missing her head after she ducked underneath it. Read more here.

6.37am Tonight is going to be a PERFECT night for an outdoor movie. So, grab your popcorn and your chair & head to the Sunset Cinema tonight to see The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

6.35am TRAFFIC ALERT: Bulli - Princes Highway near Bulli Tops - there is debris on the road.

6.34am Ever wondered what an elderly animal looks like? Well wonder no more! These pictures are a little odd - but beautiful.

6.32am Dying to see a flick at the Sunset Cinema? Well, why not try and win some tickets! We’re giving away double passes to the movie of your choice. Enter here.

6.30am WORLD NEWS: A Danish tourist has been gang-raped at knife-point near a crowded railway station and popular tourist area in New Delhi. The 51-year-old woman, who had been in India a week, became lost walking to her hotel in Paharganj, near New Delhi Railway Station on Tuesday night, and approached a group of men asking for directions.

6.28am LOCAL SPORT: The Dragons' Illawarra fans are likely to get a sooner-than-expected chance to see how their rejuvenated squad shapes up as WIN Stadium firms as the venue for the Charity Shield. Great news for Rugby League fans (NB and my fiancee who is a mad Souths fan!)

6.26am Kids starting to get bored? Well, why not head over to the Wollongong Art Gallery today for the ‘‘Fun With Prints" workshop. Suitable for ages 5-8, it's on from 10am to 12pm. The gallery will also host the ‘‘Andy Warhol Inspired Prints’’ workshop from 1.30pm to 3.30pm. Suitable for ages 5-8.

6.24am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Girls creator/star Lena Dunham has made it to the cover of Vogue. And she looks beautiful!

6.22am NATIONAL NEWS: Shivika Gupta, from Sydney Girls High School, had both her HSC marks and her Australian Tertiary Admission Rank altered this month after the NSW Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES) conceded that her exam paper had been marked incorrectly. Oops.

6.21am Looking for a cheap lunch? Head to Alibi for $10 lunch specials! Why not try their range of burgers & pasta? It’s on between 12pm and 2pm from Wednesday to Friday.

6.17am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Ladies and gents, I present to you ... the women who have dated George Clooney. These are some lucky, lucky ladies. As Carrie Bradshaw once said: "George is like a Chanel suit ... he never goes out of style." Too right.

6.15am SPORT: Pat Rafter's comeback to tennis was shortlived, bowing out of the men's doubles draw alongside former world No.1 and close friend Lleyton Hewitt. Rafter, the one-time golden boy of Australian tennis, attracted one of the largest crowds you are likely to see for a doubles match at the Australian Open. Read more here.

6.13am WORLD NEWS: A3700 year-old Egyptian pharaoh's tomb has been uncovered. (Nine News)

6.12am Okay, so not going to lie but the new Hangtime Trampoline Park looks awesome! Discussions abounded yesterday as to whether adults could use the tramps - and it's a big YES! Score!!! Check out our video & more on the park here. The park opens today.

6.10am TIARA ALERT: Kate Middleton celebrated her 32nd birthday in style with a bash at Kensington Palace. Nice! Baby George was there with his mama. Oh so cute!

6.08am MOVIE NEWS: Australian actor Sam Worthington has signed on for the next three Avatar movies. The first sequel will hit cinemas in December 2016, with the second to follow in December 2017 and the third a year later, according to Hollywood Reporter. Director James Cameron told Hollywood Reporter he was thrilled both Worthington and co-star Zoe Saldana had signed on. He says Worthington brings a combination of vulnerability and strength to his role, Jake Sully. (AAP)

6.06am Let's check out the national headlines, courtesy of the SMH:

*The ATO wants to allow big business to oversee its own tax returns, internal documents reveal, despite the potential for conflict of interest, greed and even corruption.

*Fierce heat from Australia’s second big heatwave of the summer will push further into NSW on Thursday, extending the band of 40-degree maximums closer to Sydney

*Andy Murray’s dire prediction that someone could have a heart attack in the heat did not fall on deaf ears at one of Melbourne Park’s newest spectator areas on Wednesday.

*Kings Cross is defying a statewide downward trend in alcohol-related assaults outside licensed venues, despite a government crackdown following the death of teenager Thomas Kelly.

6.04am Here's the top stories from the Mercury today:

*A tragic story from court reporter Shannon Tonkin: An unwanted bond, forged in the most tragic of circumstances. Stephen Borjeson and Shane Gardner were yesterday united in their heartache as they recalled a shared experience that forever changed their lives 18 months ago. Read here for more.

*Cracks are starting to show in the brand new Crown Street Mall refurbishment as the much-touted granite pavers lining the CBD strip began to rupture this week.

*Six employees of Wollongong’s Rocksalt Bar & Grill are chasing unpaid holiday entitlements and superannuation, following the restaurant’s sudden closure earlier this month.

*Member for Wollongong Noreen Hay has called on Roads and Maritime Services to investigate "as a matter of urgency" ways to improve traffic flows at a notorious Spring Hill intersection.

6.02am If you're just waking up, rise & shine! And also, here is your weather, traffic and trains for the morning.

WEATHER Another gorgeous day on the way, woohoo! We're headed for a sunny day with a top of 28 degrees - positively balmy compared to those suffering through 46 degree days in Adelaide & Melbourne. Fire danger is very high & the UV is extreme so be sun safe! Right now it's 15 degrees in Albion Park and 19 in Bellambi.

TRAFFIC Everything looks a-okay on the road this morning. Don't forget those road works at Gerringong. The Illawarra Folk Festival starts today so traffic could be a little congested around Bulli Showground throughout the day. All also looks well for the drive to Sydney.

TRAINS There is a good service on the South Coast line.

6am Good morning Illawarra! Hope you're having a lovely week and enjoying this gorgeous weather. I managed to fit in a swim at Corrimal Pool on Tuesday afternoon - sensational. Anywho, stay with us this morning for all the latest news, etc.

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