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

8.41am That's it from us this morning. Join us tomorrow for the TGIF edition of the Rush.

8.38am TECH TALK: So, this week we witnessed the demise of Flappy Bird. But don't fret - Sesame St is doing its bit to starve of Flappy Bird withdrawl symptoms with Flappy Bert. Too funny.

8.35am WORLD NEWS: The art hoard of an elderly German recluse suspected to contain Nazi-looted paintings and drawings is bigger than first thought, his spokesman says. More than 60 additional works have been discovered in the Austrian home of Cornelius Gurlitt, among them works by masters Picasso, Renoir and Monet. (SMH)

8.33am If you haven't organised anything for Valentine's Day yet (shame on you blokes!), why not take your sweetie to see About Time at the Sunset Cinema? Or the Brewery - the pub is hosting a three-course dinner.

8.30am I love this story on the SMH this morning about the secret world of showbags - who can explain the appeal of handing over cash for silly items? I can't - but I love 'em.

8.27am The stack is coming down next Thursday! We'll be doing a TON of coverage so make sure you check out the paper & online.

8.22am LOCAL SPORT: Warilla's world No 1 Leif Selby along with Karen Murphy and Jeremy Henry will lead the local charge at $140,000 Australian Open which begins in Melbourne on Sunday.

8.20am NATIONAL NEWS: It wasn't the fish they were looking for when they headed out off Bar Beach in inner-city Newcastle but a group of fisherman quickly accepted the challenge of landing a two-metre, 100-kilogram marlin when it presented itself.

8.14am TIARA ALERT: The Duchess has proven she can do no wrong - again. She looks stunning in a Jenny Packham dress at a gala in London.

8.10am STRANGE BUT TRUE: Justin Bieber's wax figure has been removed from New York's Madam Tussauds - and it's all our fault. The figure had been "disfigured beyond recognition" - yep, too much groping by greasy teenage hands. 

8.08am NATIONAL NEWS: Customs officers have issued a warning about importing Xanax and Valium after more than 86,000 tablets were found in the luggage of an Australian man returning from Fiji. The tablets were seized at Sydney Airport on Monday after Australian Customs and Border Protection Service officers selected the 29-year-old for a luggage examination.They detected and seized 43 bottles filled with 86,000 Xanax tablets and 342 Valium tablets. (AAP)

8.06am In other TV news, One Direction could be getting a reality series. Oh god no.

8.04am LOCAL NEWS: A 55-year-old man who went missing for more than 24 hours in bushland near Austinmer was found by SES volunteers on Wednesday. The volunteers came across Arno Badziong on the Gibson’s Track, which runs between Sublime Point and Austinmer, about 1.30pm. He had suffered mild hypothermia and minor injuries.

8.02am TV NEWS: Game of Thrones fans, lend me your ears - newly cast actors in the series are searching for their characters storylines on the web to see how and when they die on HBO's bloodbath series. The show returns to Foxtel on April 7.

8am BREAKING: A north Queensland federal MP says Toyota, Ford and Holden ‘‘don’t give a stuff about Australia’’ and owe taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. Member for Dawson George Christensen says the major car manufacturers sucked cash out of Australians even though they were preparing to leave the country. ‘‘They have been almost a parasitic industry on the taxpayer and when the going has got tough they have cut and run,’’ he told ABC radio. (AAP)

7.56am STRANGE BUT TRUE: Almost nine out of 10 Australians (88 per cent) surveyed believe that paranormal phenomenon may well exist, according to a Syfy Supernatural study. Check out what Aussies believe in here - 50 per cent of us apparently believe in ghosts. Boo!

7.54am Hehehehe spider cats. Hehehe. *Ensue giggling*

7.52am Here's what's making news in your Mercury today:

*A chocolate shop, sushi retailer, burger store and Cuban cafe and bar will join discount department store Target in GPT's new Wollongong development when it opens this year.

*A man who used his boat to herd a great white shark into shallow waters on the South Coast before it was bludgeoned to death with a metal pole has been fined almost $20,000. Read more here.

*If you are a single woman on Valentine's Day, fear not - you are not the only one. We are officially in the grip of a "man drought" - women outnumbering men in the Illawarra by more than 3600, according to data from McCrindle Research. NB Hehehehe.

*Bellambi man Lancelot Hampton Edwards has been found guilty of tying a woman up and raping her in a home north of Wollongong.

7.50am Good morning! Let's have a look at how things are shaping up in the sky, on the road & on the railway line.

WEATHER We're headed for a bit of a gloomy day - there will be some drizzle this morning and then rain later in the day. We're expecting a top of 23 degrees but I tell you, it is STEAMY out there. Very humid, phew! Currently, it's 20 degrees at Bellambi and Albion Park. Warm!

TRAFFIC All looks okay on the roads. Don't forget those roadworks on Mt Ousley (near Picton Rd) & at Gerringong. There is a three-car accident at Homebush (Homebush Bay Dr on-ramp to M4) so just be careful if you're heading that way.

TRAINS Trains are running on/close to time on the South Coast line.

7.48am BREAKING: Police and community leaders in Blacktown will tonight walk through the CBD, hoping to ease sensitive race relations (ABC)

7.46am 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!

7.44am So, I'm planning a wedding. And I can understand why some brides get really stressed out. But, this is a bit extreme - this woman is suing the company who made her wedding video for making it look like a "Seinfeld episode". Lol. What do you think? You be the judge....

7.42am LOCAL SPORT: Warilla claimed the first championship of the Zone 16 season with World Cup champion Jeremy Henry and partners at their best in Sunday’s Fours final.

7.40am Have you been watching the Biggest Loser? If you haven't, then you may not know that Big Kev is back. He's having his third go at losing weight. Read all about it here.

7.38am NATIONAL NEWS: Bali prison boss Farid Junaedi says it would be "stupid" for Schapelle Corby to talk to journalists, a day after the parole board warned any interview may land her in jail. The backlash in Indonesia against Schapelle Corby's luxury accommodation and rumoured $2 million interview fee she may earn is growing, prompting the head of the Bali parole board, Ketut Artha, to pay an unscheduled visit on Wednesday to the villa compound where she's staying. NB What are your thoughts? Should Schapelle profit from her jail stint?

7.36am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Taylor Swift has chopped off her hair! Goodbye long blonde locks, hello shorty short!

7.34am LOCAL NEWS: A magistrate has suspended a 12-month prison sentence given to an unaccompanied learner driver responsible for an accident that killed a worker at a National Broadband Network start-up site in Kiama last May.

7.32am The Hollies are performing at the WIN Entertainment Centre on Sunday night. Tickets are still available - visit www.ticketek.com.au to book your seats!

7.30am Looking for a truly unique Valentine's Day present? Check out this list on the Vine - some of these are hilarious. NB This is NOT a serious guide, none of these are acceptable gifts!

7.28am TIARA ALERT: Prince William has gone on a hunting trip with his ex-girlfriend and pals.

7.24am SPORT: Plans to build a retractable roof over ANZ Stadium and reconfigure its seating to create a perfect rectangle for watching rugby league, rugby union and football are set to move closer to fruition, with consortiums asked to submit tenders for the proposed upgrade.

7.22am OMG how cute is this photo of David Beckham with his little girl Harper. Awww she's so adorable, she's even got the little Victoria pout - and her dad's not bad either!

7.20am NATIONAL NEWS: Racial tensions are close to boiling point in Sydney's west following the shocking gang rape of a 14 year-old girl, community leaders have warned. The sister of the teenage victim desperately called for calm on Wednesday after friends encouraged her family to "go out there and fight". Read more on this story here.

7.16am MOVIE NEWS: It's so great to see Aussies rocking it in the film industrythe new Lego Movie was built by an Australian firm and it's going gang-busters in the US.

7.14am If you're not already "show-ed" out, the Kangaroo Valley Show is on tomorrow and Saturday.

7.12am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Heidi Klum allegedly has a new beau. And he's only 27.

7.11am WORLD NEWS: Ten people have been charged with negligent manslaughter and assault over a 2010 stampede at a music festival in Germany that killed 21 people and injured hundreds, prosecutors said on Wednesday.State prosecutor Horst Bien said the accused had failed in the planning authorisation and supervision of security requirements at the Love Parade electronic music festival in the western city of Duisburg.

7.08am LOCAL NEWS: The Transport Workers Union has described charges laid against Unanderra-based McCabe Transport as a "wake-up call" to other operators.

7.06am STRANGE BUT TRUE: A sinkhole opened up inside the National Corvette Museum in Kentucky, swallowing eight cars. Seriously, these sinkholes TERRIFY me.

7.04am Check out this great blog from Care South project manager Clare Wilson on how to help a disadvantaged child. Really interesting read for anyone who has ever thought of fostering a child.

7.02am We want your selfies ... with the stack! Send in a pic of you with the stack via our iPhone app and you'll go into the draw to win a $50 Coles Myer Gift Card. NB Most creative entries win! Entries open until Tuesday.

7am NATIONAL NEWS: A tandoori chicken skewer was used to stab a hungry restaurant patron after he complained that two hours was too long to wait for his order, a court has heard. Chef Mati Rahman, 43, is accused of piercing the hand of Jamil Hossain with a tandoori skewer at his wife's restaurant Red Chilli in Lakemba on March 31 last year. Read more here.

6.58am Fingers crossed the weather holds out - The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is on at the sunset cinema at Wollongong Botanic Gardens tonight.

6.56am CELEB NEWS: Philip Seymour Hoffman's diaries reveal he was reportedly in a love triangle with his estranged partner Mimi O'Donnell and another woman before his tragic death.

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

*A chocolate shop, sushi retailer, burger store and Cuban cafe and bar will join discount department store Target in GPT's new Wollongong development when it opens this year.

*A man who used his boat to herd a great white shark into shallow waters on the South Coast before it was bludgeoned to death with a metal pole has been fined almost $20,000. Read more here.

*If you are a single woman on Valentine's Day, fear not - you are not the only one. We are officially in the grip of a "man drought" - women outnumbering men in the Illawarra by more than 3600, according to data from McCrindle Research. NB Hehehehe.

*Bellambi man Lancelot Hampton Edwards has been found guilty of tying a woman up and raping her in a home north of Wollongong.

6.52am Good morning! Let's have a look at how things are shaping up in the sky, on the road & on the railway line.

WEATHER We're headed for a bit of a gloomy day - there will be some drizzle this morning and then rain later in the day. We're expecting a top of 23 degrees but I tell you, it is STEAMY out there. Very humid, phew! Currently, it's 19 at Bellambi and 20 at Albion Park. Warm!

TRAFFIC All looks okay on the roads this morning. Don't forget those roadworks on Mt Ousley (near Picton Rd) & at Gerringong. 

TRAINS Trains are running on/close to time on the South Coast line. Apparently there was a slight delay earlier between Kiama and Wollongong due to a passenger disturbance but all seems okay now.

6.50am CELEB NEWS: If you missed this yesterday, Hugh Jackman will be hosting the 2014 Tony Awards. He takes the reins from Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) who has hosted it for the past few years.

6.48am TRAIN ALERT: Services between Wollongong and Kiama on the South Coast line are returning to normal after an earlier passenger disturbance.

6.46am LOCAL SPORT: Wollongong captain Oscar Forman is warning his players not to look past tomorrow's NBL clash with an in-form Townsville as the Hawks prepare to tackle two must-win games in 24 hours. NB The boys are playing at home tomorrow night, go and cheer them on!

6.44am TV NEWS: Indie actor Greta Gerwig, who scored a Golden Globe nomination for her role in offbeat comedy Frances Ha, has been lined up as the lead for the hotly anticipated How I Met Your Mother spinoff. Um, what, there's a spin-off!? How did I not know this information!!!!

6.42am You have to watch the totally awks moment this reporter mistakes Samuel L Jackson for fellow actor Lawrence Fishburne in this cringe-worthy video. Oh, it hurts to watch.

6.40am NATIONAL NEWS: Qantas boss Alan Joyce has outlined more ''hard decisions'' ahead for the airline as he seeks to carve out $2 billion in costs before making another pitch to the Abbott government for a helping hand. Details here.

6.38am Have you bought your tickets yet to see my girl Peppa Pig? Tickets went on-sale on Tuesday - get in quick! She’s coming to the IPAC on June 25.

6.36am CELEB NEWS: Forbes has named the most trustworthy celeb of 2014 ... drum roll please... Tom Hanks. Thoughts? (E Online)

6.34am TRAIN ALERT: Services from the city on the Inner West, Museum and Airport lines are being affected by signal repairs at Museum. Allow extra travel time.

6.32am LOCAL NEWS: Wollongong City Council is set to merge management of the town hall and Illawarra Performing Arts Centre under a plan to cut costs and make both venues more efficient. Read more here.

6.30am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Former Home & Away star Melissa George has given birth to a baby boy!

6.28am WORLD NEWS: British PM David Cameron has said money’s ‘‘no object’’ in tackling the effects of flooding across southern England. Waterlogged towns on the River Thames west of London are braced for more flooding, with the Met Office weather service forecasting rain and gales on Wednesday. Deloitte signaled insurance costs may reach 1 billion pounds ($1.6 billion) by April.

6.27am Lads, this is your FINAL reminder - tomorrow is Valentine's Day. DO NOT FORGET.

6.25am NATIONAL NEWS: A 12-year-old boy has died and his father is in a critical condition after police shot the man at a sports oval on the Mornington Peninsula. Police arrived and were confronted with a man holding a knife. They would not say if the father inflicted the boy's injuries. A junior cricket team had just finished training at the time. (The Age)

6.23am Ladies, a little Thursday funny for you ... courtesy of Mr Ryan Gosling.

6.21am BREAKING SPORT: Torah Bright has won Australia's first medal at the Sochi Winter Olympics. She finished with silver in the women's half-pipe.

6.18am BREAKING: An 18-year-old man has died after being stabbed in the chest on the NSW Central Coast. Officers were called to a Pierce Street address at Niagara Park, north of Gosford, about 1.45am on Thursday, where they found the stabbed man. He was taken to Gosford Hospital, where he died a short time later.An 18-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman were arrested at the Pierce Street address and are being questioned at Gosford Police Station. (AAP)

6.17am Did you miss MKR last night? SPOILER ALERT (if you taped it): the SA mums rocked it. Here's the recap for you. NB I didn't watch, but the Captain and the Blonde probably hated everything because they HATE LIFE.

6.15am LOCAL NEWS: At least one Wollongong rail commuter has found quiet carriages on trains seldom live up to their name. Read all about his gripe with loud passengers here.

6.14am CELEB NEWS: Heartbreak has hit Julia Roberts after her half-sister Nancy Motes was found dead of an apparent drug overdose. More details: http://yhoo.it/1giF4fr

6.12am SPORT: So we nearly had an absolute disaster in the cricket ... then Shaun Marsh came along. His unbeaten century was pivotal in Australia reaching 4-297 on day one at Centurion Park after being sent in by South Africa captain Graeme Smith.

6.10am The Man Who Dreamt the Stars kicked off at the IPAC yesterday. It's a magical and moving story about the power of imagination and it's on until Feb 22. Tickets available at www.merringong.com.au.

6.08am CELEB GOSS ALERT: If you missed this one yesterday, Miranda Kerr's family are begging her to come home - they claim they haven't seen the former Victoria's Secret model & baby Flynn for over a year.

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

*Tony Abbott’s chief adviser on indigenous policy has challenged him to close the gap on school attendance by the end of this year, four years ahead of the PM’s proposed deadline.

*Doctors say health insurance premiums could be forced higher by the sale of Medibank and are calling on the Abbott government to examine the risks before privatising the insurer.

*A ground-breaking study of almost 90,000 women has found that regular mammogram screenings do not reduce breast cancer death rates.

*Pressure is building on Assistant Health Minister Fiona Nash’s chief of staff to resign after allegations he has not disclosed financial ties to the junk food industry.

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

*A chocolate shop, sushi retailer, burger store and Cuban cafe and bar will join discount department store Target in GPT's new Wollongong development when it opens this year.

*A man who used his boat to herd a great white shark into shallow waters on the South Coast before it was bludgeoned to death with a metal pole has been fined almost $20,000. Read more here.

*If you are a single woman on Valentine's Day, fear not - you are not the only one. We are officially in the grip of a "man drought" - women outnumbering men in the Illawarra by more than 3600, according to data from McCrindle Research. NB Hehehehe.

*Bellambi man Lancelot Hampton Edwards has been found guilty of tying a woman up and raping her in a home north of Wollongong.

6.02am Let's have a look at how things are shaping up in the sky, on the road & on the railway line.

WEATHER We're headed for a bit of a gloomy day - there will be some drizzle this morning and then rain later in the day. We're expecting a top of 23 degrees but I tell you, it is STEAMY out there. Very humid, phew! Currently, it's 19 at Bellambi and 21 at Albion Park. Warm!

TRAFFIC All looks okay on the roads this morning NB I nearly wrote toads, not roads! Don't forget those roadworks on Mt Ousley (near Picton Rd) & at Gerringong. 

TRAINS Trains are running on/close to time on the South Coast line.

6am Good morning .... I'm back! Yep, Emma Spillett is back at the helm after three days off with a truly heinous case of the flu. Blurgh. Anybody else suffering? It's this hot/cold weather, I tell you!

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop