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

8.55am That's it from me this morning! Hopefully your Monday is off to a great start. Catch you tomorrow with another edition of the Rush

8.53am On the front page of the SMH today, Georgina Ritchie touches rain for the first time in Bourke. Wow.

8.50am In case I didn't feel guilty enough about not exercising, even this duck is one-upping me! Here he is going for a morning jog . So cute!

8.48am Season two of the critically acclaimed show Orange is the New Black starts very soon! Hooray! Check out this sneak peek of the upcoming season 

8.45am 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.

8.40am TRAFFIC ALERT A truck has broken down on Mount Ousley near New Mount Pleasant Road. One of the three northbound lanes is closed. Motorists are advised there is heavy traffic and to expect delays.

8.37am In the mood for a longer read? Take a look at this Weekender piece on the future of agricultural shows in the region

8.33am CELEB NEWS The ever-controversial Kanye West will tour Australia in May. No word yet whether daughter North West (I still shake my head every time I hear that) and Kimmy K will be coming along too.

8.29am Stephen Hawking has written an opinion piece for The Age on the current unrest in Syria. It's definitely worth a read - check it out here

8.25am Cate Blanchett has won the Leading Actress Award at the BAFTAs for her role in Blue Jasmine

8.20am Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says a few asylum seekers have been arrested following the riot at the detention centre at Manus Island The detention centre is now ‘‘calm’’, staff are safe, some asylum seekers have received medical treatment, and damage to the centre ‘‘minor."

News of the incident emerged after refugee advocacy groups reported a riot squad was mobilised when asylum seekers set fire to the compound and breached the centre’s fence on Sunday afternoon. SMH

8.12am  Chiwetel Ejiofor has as taken out the Leading Actor Award at the BAFTAs for 12 Years a Slave. Congrats

8.08am NATIONAL NEWS Rain is hampering the search for three cavers missing in the Bungonia National Park in southern NSW. Police say the three men, aged 21, 47 and 51, entered a cave in the Bungonia Gorge near Goulburn about 1pm on Sunday and were expected out by 6pm. Police and NSW Ambulance rescue teams are searching for the men, who are all experienced cavers. AAP

8.05am Let’s take a look at national headlines, courtesy of the SMH

*Asylum seekers at Manus Island's detention centre have reportedly set fire to a compound, torn down fences and destroyed tents after being told they would not be resettled in Papua New Guinea.

A spokeswoman from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection confirmed on Sunday night that she was aware of ''a disturbance'' on the island.

*The Abbott government has regained the lead in the latest Fairfax-Nielsen opinion poll for the first time in two months, helped by a sharp drop in support for Bill Shorten's performance.

*The NRL will consider having a two-week build-up to future grand finals in a bid to turn the NRL All Stars match into an event similar to the NFL's Pro Bowl, a move supported by Indigenous All Stars playmaker Johnathan Thurston.

8.02am Here’s what’s making news in your Mercury today

*Former Gujarat NRE Coking Coal executive chairman Arun Jagatramka has resigned from the company’s board of directors, ending his managerial relationship with the company he founded in 2004.

The resignation follows a tumultuous year for Gujarat NRE in which workers at the company’s Russell Vale and Wongawilli mines went without pay for almost two months.

* Karin Tilden, the Shellharbour branch president of the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association, has initiated a statewide campaign to protect ageing workers, as the retirement age is set to increase to 67.

*Thirteen months out from the next State election, the Labor Party has enlisted Gerroa barrister Glenn Kolomeitz to wrestle back the once safe Labor seat in Kiama from Liberal MP Gareth Ward.

8am Let’s take a look at what’s happening on the roads and in the skies today

WEATHER We can expect another grey and gloomy morning and a chance of showers early on - but it's looking a bit brighter now. It will reach a maximum of 21 degrees. Right now at Bellambi, it’s just over 18 degrees.

TRAFFIC All good on the roads so far. Don't forget those roadworks on Mt Ousley (near Picton Rd) & at Gerringong. 

TRAINS There is good service on the South Coast Line

7.57am TRAFFIC ALERT FOR SYDNEY COMMUTERS One of four northbound lanes is closed on General Holmes Drive at Foreshore Road due to a three-vehicle accident. There's heavy traffic, so allow for extra travel time.

7.52am Apparently the latest duo of MKR aren't very good cooks at all! One of this year's snarky couples, Jess and Felix, were given the not so desirable award of "worst dish in the competition" according to Pete Evans. Oooh, burn. Read the rest of the recap here

7.48am And now for a cute animal pic! This dog has amazing self control

7.44am Come and support the best up-and-coming comedians in the region on Thursday night as they take part in Australia’s biggest, most prestigious open mic comedy competition. This heat will determine who from the local area travels to Sydney for the semi-finals. Time: 8pm. Venue: Illawarra Performing Arts Centre. Tickets: $22 + booking fee at www.merringong.com.au.

7.40am The soft drink industry wants us to think we are drinking less sugar, when we're probably not. It's promoting a soon-to-be-published study that concludes that has been a per-person drop in sugar consumption over the past 14 years to 2011. But it excludes fruit drinks, cordial and milk-based drinks, which are full of the sweet stuff. SMH

7.36am  High Tea for mums & bubs at the Lagoon today. A perfect way to catch up with the girls!

7.33am CELEB NEWS Is Katy Perry engaged to hubby number two? Rumour has it John Mayer put a ring on it. Or, you know, she just likes to wear rings on that finger

7.30am The Mercury’s sport journos will be launching some new columns this year. Watch out for some great new content!

7.25am Usually all I can taste at a wine tasting is wine. Clearly my palate is not very refined! Here are some handy hints for getting the most out of a wine tasting, which will help you impress your guests at your next dinner party.

7.22am LOCAL NEWS Stanwell Park resident Simon Noakes is looking forward to the ride of his life when he joins a team of 17 cyclists for the Tour de Chance later this month.

The 52-year-old air traffic controller will ride from Brisbane to Sydney to help raise $250,000 for non-profit organisation Fighting Chance, which provides employment opportunities for profoundly disabled youth.

The event will kick off in Brisbane on February 27 and continue for 10 days, with riders tackling 80 to 150 kilometres a day. 

7.18am As a book nerd, I love this list - What Your Literary Crush Says About You. I have a friend with a long-standing book crush on Gilbert Blythe from Anne of Green Gables, so she'll be glad to know she's not alone. Check it out here to see what your Mr Darcy love reveals about your personality.

The 52-year-old air traffic controller will ride from Brisbane to Sydney to help raise $250,000 for non-profit organisation Fighting Chance, which provides employment opportunities for profoundly disabled youth.

The event will kick off in Brisbane on February 27 and continue for 10 days, with riders tackling 80 to 150 kilometres a day. 

The 52-year-old air traffic controller will ride from Brisbane to Sydney to help raise $250,000 for non-profit organisation Fighting Chance, which provides employment opportunities for profoundly disabled youth.

The event will kick off in Brisbane on February 27 and continue for 10 days, with riders tackling 80 to 150 kilometres a day. 

7.14am This week is Healthy Weight Week, an initiative of the Dietitians Association of Australia. If your NY resolutions to get fit and eat better have fallen to the wayside, this might be a good week to get back on track.

7.10am Desperately needing some coffee and toast on this dreary morning? Three Chimneys opens its doors for its first full day of trade in 20 minutes. It's on Crown Street, so check it out. Look at that bread!

7.06am LOCAL SPORT NEWS The Hawks climbed into sixth spot with weekend thrashings of Townsville and Sydney, pulling to within a single win of the fourth-placed Kings. That's three victories in a row, boosting their record to 9-13 with six games remaining.

7.04am Let’s take a look at national headlines, courtesy of the SMH

*Asylum seekers at Manus Island's detention centre have reportedly set fire to a compound, torn down fences and destroyed tents after being told they would not be resettled in Papua New Guinea.

A spokeswoman from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection confirmed on Sunday night that she was aware of ''a disturbance'' on the island.

*The Abbott government has regained the lead in the latest Fairfax-Nielsen opinion poll for the first time in two months, helped by a sharp drop in support for Bill Shorten's performance.

*The NRL will consider having a two-week build-up to future grand finals in a bid to turn the NRL All Stars match into an event similar to the NFL's Pro Bowl, a move supported by Indigenous All Stars playmaker Johnathan Thurston.

7.02am Here’s what’s making news in your Mercury today

*Former Gujarat NRE Coking Coal executive chairman Arun Jagatramka has resigned from the company’s board of directors, ending his managerial relationship with the company he founded in 2004.

The resignation follows a tumultuous year for Gujarat NRE in which workers at the company’s Russell Vale and Wongawilli mines went without pay for almost two months.

* Karin Tilden, the Shellharbour branch president of the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association, has initiated a statewide campaign to protect ageing workers, as the retirement age is set to increase to 67.

*Thirteen months out from the next State election, the Labor Party has enlisted Gerroa barrister Glenn Kolomeitz to wrestle back the once safe Labor seat in Kiama from Liberal MP Gareth Ward.

7am Let’s take a look at what’s happening on the roads and in the skies today

WEATHER Things won’t be clearing up any time soon. We can expect another grey and gloomy morning and a chance of showers early on. It will reach a maximum of 21 degrees. Right now at Bellambi, it’s 18 degrees.

TRAFFIC All good on the roads so far. Don't forget those roadworks on Mt Ousley (near Picton Rd) & at Gerringong. 

TRAINS There is good service on the South Coast Line.

6.57am WORLD NEWS: A bomb has torn through a bus in the Red Sea resort town of Taba, killing at least four and injuring 27. The explosion, which occurred near the Taba border crossing between Egypt and Israel, ripped through the bus, believed to carrying mostly South Korean tourists who had been visiting the ancient monastery of St Catherine’s in central Sinai, Egyptian officials said. SMH

6.53am CELEB NEWS: Actress Emily Blunt and The Office's John Krasinski have welcomed their first daughter, Hazel, over the weekend. The pair tied the knot in 2010. Congrats! 

6.50am MOVIE NEWS: According to Wolf Creek 2's director, there's a little of serial killer Mick Taylor in all of us. I think I'm going to disagree with that. Check out the interview here

6.46am LOCAL NEWS: Aresidents' group opposing service cuts has accused Wollongong City Council of brushing aside community concerns after their convener was banned from addressing tonight’s council meeting.

Save Our Services Wollongong convener Stephen Spencer will not be allowed to voice residents’ concerns about the council’s controversial financial sustainability review tonight because he  had already addressed the council on the matter late last year.

Mr Spencer said group members will still attend tonight’s meeting and make their opinions heard.

6.42am Flix in the Stix is on at Glennifer Brae on Friday, March 7. This is the first year the short film festival has come to Wollongong, and also includes performances by Eskimo Joe, Illawarra bands and comedy band The Axis of Awesome. Get your tickets at http://www.flixinthestix.com.au/

6.38am Police are appealing for information after two men - one armed with and axe and the other with a knife - entered a convenience store on the corner of Boundary Road and Ives Avenue in Liverpool about 11.30pm on Sunday. One man jumped the counter and stole money from the register while the other stood guard at the door. The pair fled in a small white vehicle. Two women working in the store were uninjured and called police. AAP

6.34am Even acting goddess Meryl Streep has made a fool of herself in a movie. Not quite singing in the shower and having someone upload it to YouTubeembarrassing, but a good effort none the less. Check out this gallery of Oscar nominees some of their less-than-flattering past roles. I particularly enjoy the pic of a baby-faced Leo DiCaprio!

6.30am STACK NEWS: Dulcie Dal Molin, president of the Red Point Artists’ Association, will be 72 next week and has lived in Port Kembla all her life. She said she would not miss the stack, rather, she believed the demolition may spark a shift in public perceptions and allow the area to carve out a new identity.

6.27am 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.

6.24am CELEB NEWS: The BAFTA red carpet is in full swing over in London right now. Check out this pic of Brangelina - they're in what appear to be matching tuxes

6.20am When I see this photo, all that runs through my head is the tune 'Jamaica, we have a bobsled team'! Have you been enjoying the Winter Olympics?

6.17am I'm a little sleepy this morning because I stayed up past my bedtime watching the INXS mini series. What did everyone think? If, like me, your TV reception kept cutting in and out because of the weather, check out the SMH's review of the show's conclusion here.

6.16am Happy Birthday to all the Aquarians out there celebrating your b-day today! You share your day with Michael Jordan, Paris Hilton (is she still a thing?) and Green Day’s lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong.

6.13am LOCAL NEWS: Police are investigating a robbery on Denison Street, Wollongong, that occurred early on Sunday.

Police said a 23-year-old man, his girlfriend and another friend left a nightclub in Victoria Street, reportedly arguing with each other at the time, at about 1 am.

As they reached the intersection with Victoria Street, a silver coloured Mercedes travelling north on Denison stopped.

Three male offenders, described as ‘‘Australian’’, jumped out of the car and demanded the victim give them money.

The man was hit in the back of the head and had his wallet taken, while the victim’s friend suffered scratches to his arm and face.

The offenders drove off in an unknown direction.

6.11am WORLD NEWS: A woman charged with the murder of a man lured through website Craigslist had admitted to killing at least 22 other people across the United States during an interview in jail. SMH

6.08am LOCAL SPORT NEWS: Brett Morris and Josh Dugan were St George Illawarra’s star turns yet even they couldn’t prevent the Dragons’ Auckland Nines campaign from fizzling before it really got under way. The Dragons went down 23-4 to the Rabbitohs and 23-8 to the Panthers over the weekend.

6.06am Let’s take a look at national headlines, courtesy of the SMH

*Asylum seekers at Manus Island's detention centre have reportedly set fire to a compound, torn down fences and destroyed tents after being told they would not be resettled in Papua New Guinea.

A spokeswoman from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection confirmed on Sunday night that she was aware of ''a disturbance'' on the island.

*The Abbott government has regained the lead in the latest Fairfax-Nielsen opinion poll for the first time in two months, helped by a sharp drop in support for Bill Shorten's performance.

*The NRL will consider having a two-week build-up to future grand finals in a bid to turn the NRL All Stars match into an event similar to the NFL's Pro Bowl, a move supported by Indigenous All Stars playmaker Johnathan Thurston.

6.04 Here’s what’s making news in your Mercury today

*Former Gujarat NRE Coking Coal executive chairman Arun Jagatramka has resigned from the company’s board of directors, ending his managerial relationship with the company he founded in 2004.

The resignation follows a tumultuous year for Gujarat NRE in which workers at the company’s Russell Vale and Wongawilli mines went without pay for almost two months.

* Karin Tilden, the Shellharbour branch president of the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association, has initiated a statewide campaign to protect ageing workers, as the retirement age is set to increase to 67.

*Thirteen months out from the next State election, the Labor Party has enlisted Gerroa barrister Glenn Kolomeitz to wrestle back the once safe Labor seat in Kiama from Liberal MP Gareth Ward.

6.02am Let’s take a look at what’s happening on the roads and in the skies today

WEATHER Things won’t be clearing up any time soon. We can expect another grey and gloomy morning and a chance of showers early on. It will reach a maximum of 21 degrees. Right now at Bellambi, it’s just over 17 degree and at Kiama it’s 18 degrees.

TRAFFIC All good on the roads so far. Don't forget those roadworks on Mt Ousley (near Picton Rd) & at Gerringong. 

TRAINS There is good service on the South Coast Line

6am Good morning! Welcome to this drizzly Monday. Kate Walsh will be rushing with you all this week, so let's get started

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