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

8.43am That's it from us this morning. Tune in tomorrow for Thursday's edition of the Rush. Over and out!

8.40am Have you been snapped out and about in the Illawarra? Check out our gallery here to spot any familiar faces.

8.37am CELEB NEWS: Paul Walker has reportedly left his entire $25 million estate to his 15-year-old daughter Meadow.

8.33am LOCAL NEWS: If children can't hear, they can't learn, which is why a series of Koori Kids Health Days will target a common ear infection. The prevalence of otitis media - or middle ear infection - is high among Aboriginal children and often begins in the first weeks of life. Illawarra Shoalhaven Medicare Local's (ISML) Journey to Health team hopes the sessions will raise awareness of the condition, and other childhood health problems, among parents and carers of Aboriginal children.

8.29am SPORT: Good news for South Sydney fans - coach Michael Maguire re-signed yesterday for another three years with the club. Now, if only we knew what Sam Burgess was doing!?

8.26am A Russian mother has taken some STUNNING pictures of her two kids with animals on her farm. Check them out here - absolutely beautiful. (Thank reporter Gemma Khaicy for finding this one!)

8.23am Today in 1922, the first issue of the Reader’s Digest was published. Phew, it's been around for awhile. Thanks Kiama Library for the tip!

8.20am Valentine's Day is next Friday - Feb 14. But it's also international book giving day. Aww - give a book for V-day. I'd love a book!

8.17am BREAKING: Sydney businessman Simon Gittany will this morning face a sentencing hearing for murdering his fiancée Lisa Harnum by throwing her off a balcony. (ABC)

8.14am LOCAL NEWS: Fairy Meadow choreographer Eva Crainean has won the ‘‘Award for Audacious Work’’ at Sydney’s Short and Sweet Dance Festival for her piece Girl Getting Bitter. The 10-minute work was described as a comical, sexy and vengeful comment on serious social issues and the femme fatale stereotype.

8.11am Australians love a punt - new research shows we wager more, and lose more, than any other country in the world. A new report puts Australian gambling losses at about $1144 a resident. But Australians are only the world's biggest punters because they have the most opportunity to fritter cash away, anti-gambling campaigners say. Read more here.

8.09am STRANGE BUT TRUE: So, Barbie - what's up with her body? In a recent interview, the vice president of design for Barbie at Mattel, Kim Culmone, had a rather baffling explanation for Barbie’s unrealistic body proportions. “Barbie’s body was never designed to be realistic,” she said. “She was designed for girls to easily dress and undress.” Oh, okay. Yep, I can see how that works. Not.

8.06am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Miranda Kerr has been named as the new face of H&M. She is set to front the high-street store's new summer/spring 2014 collection. Nice! I wonder if she gets discounts...

8.03am The Little Masters Art Classes, an after-school program, starts at Art Arena Gallery today. Age Group: 5-12 years of age. Cost: $200. For bookings and more information, contact Patricia on 0422 933 993.

8am NATIONAL NEWS: If you missed this yesterday, the Reserve Bank left interest rates on hold at an all-time low of 2.5% at its first board meeting of the year. The decision was widely expected in the wake of last month's surprise jump in the consumer price index, which took the annual rate of inflation to a two-year high. (The Guardian)

7.58am Facebook is celebrating its 10th birthday today - wow!

7.56am Recognise this guy? Police believe he has information, which may help a fraud investigation. Contact Lake Illawarra police if you can help.

7.54am Here's what's making news in your Mercury today:

*A jury has been shown dramatic mobile phone footage of the Corrimal house fire that killed Wollongong solicitor Katie Foreman.

*St Mark's Anglican Church has been running three unauthorised boarding houses at its West Wollongong premises for at least two years without development consent. Read more here.

*A Wollongong man who died after being restrained by police complained to them he couldn't breathe in the moments before his death, an inquest has heard.

*Paramedics are not punching bags: that's the word from the region's top ambulance officer. Read more here.

7.52am Good morning and happy hump day! Let's have a look at what's happening in the weather, on the road and on the trains for this Wednesday morning.

WEATHER We're in for a mostly cloudy day with a top of just 20 degrees. Positively wintery! We could have some light winds & a possible shower this arvo too. Right now it's 18 in Albion Park and 17 in Bellambi.

TRAFFIC Everything looks a-okay on the region's roads. There is a car breakdown at Mascot (Ricketty St approaching Kent Rd) - one eastbound lane is closed. Exercise caution. 

TRAINS There is a good service on the South Coast line but still some delays on the Airport line.

7.50am STRANGE BUT TRUE (and it's local!): She has a biography and a Twitter account, features on websites of the National Library of Australia and Australian Traveller magazine and even has her own Kiama council policy. But after 22 years of loyal service to Kiama, the original Daisy the Decorated Dairy Cow is set to be replaced with a fibreglass re-creation of herself. Ha! Oh Daisy, such an icon.

7.48am MUSIC NEWS: Kylie Minogue has a new song and video - and it's pretty darn catchy.

7.46am WORLD NEWS: A US school administrator who quit her job after a former student made allegations against her on a YouTube video, watched nearly a million times, has been charged with 16 counts of sexually abusing two girls. Read more here.

7.44am Do you love Disney princesses? (Let's face it, who doesn't!?) Dying to see a Disney classic on the big screen?Watch our Facebook page this week for your chance to win tickets.

7.42am LOCAL NEWS: Wollongong residents have just a few more hours to have their say in the latest round of consultation over the council's controversial financial sustainability review. The deadline for submitting responses to help councillors to decide how high to raise rates and which services to cut is 5pm today.

7.40am BREAKING: Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says she will talk with ministers in Papua New Guinea about management of the troubled Manus Island processing centre during her first ministerial visit to the country. Ms Bishop will spend two days in PNG where she’ll be seeking an update on the detention facility, which has been criticised by international bodies such as Amnesty International and the United Nations. There have also been reports of asylum seeker protests at the centre, and that it had to be evacuated last year because of a violent clash between police and the PNG army. (AAP)

7.38am  There'll be live music and dance calling at Wongawilli Hall tonight. They’ll take you through the steps and old-style dances from Jewish eastern Europe including lively freylekhs, sinuous horas and upbeat bulgars.From 8pm. Club members $5, non-members $10, includes light supper.

7.36am CELEB GOSS ALERT: So apparently David Beckham and Tom Cruise have a bit of a bromance going on. They go to each others' house and watch movies. Aww, sweet.

7.34am LOCAL SPORT: With the kings of Illawarra men's squash, Lakeside Eagles, finally dethroned, Lakeside Superoos skipper Mirco Main says his club is up for the challenge of defending its title in the new competition starting tonight.

7.32am We all love to travel. But it ain't cheap. Here's some great tips on how to save a buttload on your next trip - go and plan your holiday NOW!

7.30am TRAIN ALERT: Trains on the Airport line from the City remain affected due to track repairs at Revesby. Stopping patterns may change, check notice boards.

7.28am NATIONAL NEWS: Another toddler has died after becoming entangled in a blind cord - the second incident in less than a week. The 15-month-old girl was found choking on the cord about 6.25pm at a home on Hillcrest Road, Quakers Hill. Paramedics and a CareFlight doctor worked to resuscitate the child before taking her to Westmead Children's Hospital in a critical condition, where she later died. Last Thursday, a 16-month-old girl in Hornsby died after becoming entangled in a cord while she slept in her cot. (SMH)

7.27am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Justin Bieber has bought iPhones for two of his fans. Desperate attempt at positive PR or genuine act of kindness? You decide...

7.25am Legally Blonde: the Musical is coming! Moonglow Productions is set to stage the musical for the first time in Wollongong on July 4-5 @ the WIN Entertainment Centre. Auditions are March 1 & 2. Head over to the website to book a spot.

7.23am Downtown CBD workers and pedestrians will have their lunchtime livened up from today, with a live music series to begin at midday. The "Lunch time at the Arts Precinct" program will give a platform to professional and emerging musicians from throughout the Illawarra to perform in the heart of the city, with a prime spot near the council building, Illawarra Performing Arts Centre and the dining precinct of Corrimal and Crown streets.

7.18am Try your hand at trivia tonight at the Brewery. Kicks off from 7pm.

7.16am SPORT: The Wests Tigers have terminated the contract of Yileen Gordon after he offended teachers during a school visit on Tuesday. The 26-year-old, who was on a three month train-and-trial contract with the Tigers, was sacked by the joint venture club on Tuesday night. Wests Tigers players had been visiting local schools as part of an anti-bullying program when Gordon's behaviour offended some at the school. Read more here.

7.14am We're giving away tickets to see the Hawks take on the Crocs on Valentines day, don’t miss out! Enter here.

7.12am TIARA ALERT: The Duchess of Cambridge’s unpredictable stance on privacy took another twist as paparazzi pictures of Prince George were published without any complaint from Kensington Palace. The Duchess's silence appeared to be at odds with past objections to "private" photographs of her taken in public places, and raised the question of whether she is exercising "image control" rather than protecting her privacy, legal experts said.

7.10am LOCAL NEWS: Ongoing tensions between workers at Helensburgh’s Metropolitan Colliery and mine owner Peabody Energy cost the company millions of dollars and contributed to a drop in quarterly revenue. Read more here.

7.08am Planning on heading to the Royal Easter Show this year? Well, good news - tickets are already on sale! And they're cheaper! From today until March 31, showgoers can save on all ShowLink tickets, which include same-day return public transport. Head to the show's website for more information.

7.06am BREAKING: A number of shots have been fired at a cafe in Sydney’s southwest. No-one was injured in the incident, but police have established a crime scene and are investigating. Police were called to Haldon Street, Lakemba, about 11.30pm yesterday after reports that a number of shots had been fired into the cafe. Upon arrival, police observed damage to the shopfront. (AAP)

7.04am CELEB GOSS ALERT: If you missed this one yesterday, our girl Margot Robbie has scored herself a Vanity Fair cover. Is there anything she can't do!?

7.02am SPORT: World heavyweight boxing contender Alex Leapai has likened himself to Mike Tyson and boldly declared Vladimir Klitschko's long reign at the top of the division is about to end. Leapai, the Samoan-born delivery truck driver and ex-con, is supremely confident heading into one of the biggest bouts in Australian boxing history, claiming he will shatter the Ukrainian's "glass jaw". (The Guardian)

7am Head to Wollongong City Gallery today for an artist talk with Malcolm Benham.The artist will talk about his Bauhaus influences and his reactions to place as he relates the stories behind individual objects made during a very interesting creative journey. 11am-12pm. Free.

6.58am NATIONAL NEWS: The World Health Organisation has revealed that cancer has overtaken heart disease as the biggest killer in Australia and globally. Despite having access to some of the best healthcare in the world, experts say, Australia still faces many thousands of deaths each year from the disease.

6.56am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Ultimate first world problem - Kim Kardashian is cranky because she hates her new hair. She went back to brunette after trying out lighter locks. OMG. Life must be hard for her.

6.54am Here's what's making news in your Mercury today:

*A jury has been shown dramatic mobile phone footage of the Corrimal house fire that killed Wollongong solicitor Katie Foreman.

*St Mark's Anglican Church has been running three unauthorised boarding houses at its West Wollongong premises for at least two years without development consent. Read more here.

*A Wollongong man who died after being restrained by police complained to them he couldn't breathe in the moments before his death, an inquest has heard.

*Paramedics are not punching bags: that's the word from the region's top ambulance officer. Read more here.

6.52am Good morning and happy hump day! Let's have a look at what's happening in the weather, on the road and on the trains for this Wednesday morning.

WEATHER We're in for a mostly cloudy day with a top of just 20 degrees. Positively wintery! We could have some light winds & a possible shower this arvo too. Right now it's 16 in Albion Park and 18 in Bellambi.

TRAFFIC Everything looks a-okay on the region's roads and for the drive to Sydney.

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

6.50am WORLD: An Australian passenger accused of going on a violent rampage on a flight from China to Canada has been charged with disturbance, mischief and assault. Abdul Zain Ali, 25, was arrested on Sunday after the China Southern Airlines flight landed in Vancouver. About halfway through the flight from Guangzhou, when the lights in the cabin were down and most passengers were sleeping, Mr Ali allegedly ran down the aisle screaming and headed for the emergency exit.

6.48am Are you over bringing the same ol' sad sandwich to work every day? Check out these awesome recipes for some lunch-box inspiration.

6.46am NATIONAL NEWS: Autopsies have found food poisoning likely caused the deaths of Noelene and Yvana Bischoff in Bali last month. Their family has been told forensic pathologists, who conducted autopsies on Noelene Bischoff, 54, and her 14-year-old daughter Yvana, had found they died from a combination of food poisoning and existing medical conditions after they ate fish at a Bali restaurant in early January

6.44am CELEB GOSS ALERT: So, some Taylor Swift fans are crazy. An overly-eager fan gave the singer quite the surprise this weekend when he invaded her stage at London's O2 Arena during her last song of the night. Oh dear.

6.42am The inaugural Kiama Farmers’ Market begins today at 3pm. Held at Black Beach, this will become a weekly occurrence to provide the only weekly farmers’ market between Sydney and Moruya.

6.40am WORLD NEWS: One of three teenagers accused of the drive-by killing of Australian baseballer Chris Lane has had his murder charge downgraded in a US court this morning. James Edwards initially faced one count of first-degree murder but that has been dropped by prosecutors and replaced with a charge of accessory after the fact, in an apparent deal to secure his testimony that Chancey Luna shot and killed Mr Lane on August 1. (Nine News)

6.38am Did you watch MKR last night? Still haven't managed to get into it. Anywho, here's a wrap-up on last night's episode if you missed it.

6.36am LOCAL NEWS: Nationwide transport company Toll Group, which owns haulage firms in the Illawarra, has supported the NSW government's crackdown on heavy vehicles. Read more here.

6.34am This great list is doing the rounds on social media - 37 signs you grew up in Australia in the '90s. It's so true, it's scary. As a child of the '90s, this took me back - to Mulligrubs, the Ferals and Tazos. OMG, so many packets of chips....

6.32am TV NEWS: So Today Tonight is being axed in Sydney. Can't say this saddens me. Check out some of the show's most shameful moments. And there have been some doozies.

6.30am BREAKING NEWS: The Abbott government is expected to give the go-ahead for Sydney’s long-awaited second airport at Badgerys Creek in the city’s west. Federal cabinet is set to sign off on the project and more than $200 million worth of transport links next week, The Daily Telegraph has reported. A cabinet minute prepared by Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss is believed to have not put a final price tag on the project, which could cost $2.3 billion. NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell has previously said the issue of a second airport is entirely up to the federal government. (AAP)

6.28am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Leonardo Dicaprio (swoon!) has opened up about his childhood in LA - and it ain't pretty.

6.26am LOCAL SPORT: Wollongong will play host to the world's largest ever Oztag tournament when 273 teams from across the state flock to Dalton Park for the NSW Junior State Cup on Friday.

6.24am TIARA ALERT: It's not always easy being a royal. Apparently the Queen has told Kate Middleton she needs to lower her hemlines - her dresses are too short!

6.22am Ready for some super cute pics? Check out these adorable rare white lion triplets, born in a zoo in Poland. All together now, awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

6.20am BREAKING WORLD NEWS: Schapelle Corby is on the verge of release from Bali's Kerobokan jail. (Nine News)

6.18am The Winter Olympics kick off in Sochi on Friday. Read here for some weird facts about the 2014 games.

6.16am LOCAL NEWS: It's orientation week for graduate nurses at Wollongong Hospital, but a couple of them already have a bit of insider knowledge. University of Wollongong nursing graduates Jenna Miech and Lauren Andrews have both followed their mums into the profession and can't wait to get started. Read more here.

6.14am BREAKING SPORT: Kevin Pietersen's England career has come to an abrupt end after the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced he'd been left out of the squads for both the upcoming one-day international tour of the West Indies and the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh. See ya KP!

6.12am The Australian Surf Movie Festival is on tonight from 8pm at Waves. Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for children. For details visit www.asmf.net.au

6.10am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Brad & Angelina still go on dates. Naww, bless. The pair were spotted looking very lovey on a date night in QLD last night. Nice.

6.08am WORLD NEWS: Microsoft has announced that Satya Nadella would be its next leader, betting on a longtime engineering executive to help the company keep better pace with changes in technology. The selection of Mr Nadella to replace Steven Ballmer, which was widely expected, was accompanied by news that Bill Gates, a company founder, would step down from his role as chairman and become a technology adviser to Mr Nadella. (SMH)

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

*According to a damning internal report, Sydneysiders could face more traffic chaos after the government severely underestimated the difficulty of building a tram line through the heart of the city.

*He may have been suspended from Labor after being placed under investigation by the ICAC, but former Labor factional boss Joe Tripodi has retained a keen interest in party affairs.

*The NSW government has rejected the $70 million Abbott government plan to encourage public schools to become independent, contradicting claims by Christopher Pyne that the state was on board.

*A midwife ordered by a court to pay $6.6 million to a boy who developed cerebral palsy as a result of a botched homebirth has been arrested at Sydney Airport trying to leave the country.

6.04am Here's what's making news in your Mercury today:

*A jury has been shown dramatic mobile phone footage of the Corrimal house fire that killed Wollongong solicitor Katie Foreman.

*St Mark's Anglican Church has been running three unauthorised boarding houses at its West Wollongong premises for at least two years without development consent. Read more here.

*A Wollongong man who died after being restrained by police complained to them he couldn't breathe in the moments before his death, an inquest has heard.

*Paramedics are not punching bags: that's the word from the region's top ambulance officer. Read more here.

6.02am Let's have a look at what's happening in the weather, on the road and on the trains for this Wednesday morning.

WEATHER We're in for a mostly cloudy day with a top of just 20 degrees. Positively wintery! We could have some light winds & a possible shower this arvo too. Right now it's 15 in Albion Park and 18 in Bellambi.

TRAFFIC Everything looks a-okay on the region's roads and for the drive to Sydney.

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

6am Good morning and happy hump day! We made it to the middle of the week, yippee! Stay with us this morning for all the latest news - don't miss it!

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