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

8.48am That's it from me this morning. Emma Spillett will join you for tomorrow's edition of the Rush. Have a great week!

8.44am Need something to look forward to as the week kicks off again? The Kiama Jazz and Blues Festival is on this weekend, with 60 free gigs in 30 venues.

8.36am While the world celebrates the best in film today, the less-than-awesome movies of last year were acknowledged at the Razzies over the weekend. Spoof comedy compilation Movie 43 "won" worst picture, Jaden Smith earned worst actor for his role in After Earth, his dad Will won worst supporting actor and The Lone Ranger, starring Johnny Depp was named Worst Re-Make/Rip Off or Sequel.

8.33am WORLD NEWS Ukraine has warned it’s on the brink of disaster and called up all military reservists after Russia threatened to invade. Russia’s parliament voted on the weekend to allow Russian President Vladimir Putin to send troops into the country following weeks of civil unrest. Ms Bishop called the developments deeply concerning, saying both military activity and tensions were clearly escalating. "The way to resolve it is for Russia to withdraw its forces," she said. Ms Bishop says Australia is using its temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council to urge a peaceful resolution to the crisis. Australians in the Ukraine and Crimea should leave if they can. AAP

8.30am "Sleevage", "normcore" and "wardrobed" - fashion words are so, so fun but can be so, so silly. Daily Life has a list of some of the more cringe-worthy words doing the rounds of stylish circles in 2014.

8.26am Feeling nostalgic this morning? Check out our Flashback Gallery of what was making news in 2004.

8.22am A 24-hour TV channel dedicated to the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius has gone on air in South Africa. The channel, called The Oscar Pistorius Trial will show live video from the court.

8.18am RED CARPET NEWS Not long now! Richard Wilkins snapped this pic of the beginnings of movement on the red carpet.

8.15am Legally Blonde is coming! Moonglow Productions is set to stage the musical for the first time in Wollongong on July 4-5 @ the WIN Entertainment Centre. Head over to the website to book a spot.

8.09am RED CARPET NEWS Ellen DeGeneres seems pumped to take on her hosting duties at today's Oscars 

8.06am The NRL season officially kicks off this week. You can get all your Dragons news and info at Dragons Den, the new part of the Mercury website dedicated to all things football. Check it out here

8.03am  Here’s what’s making news in your Mercury today

*Two Wollongong dancers are off to New York after being selected as finalists in an international competition known as the Olympics of Ballet.

Aysha Tornyi-Aydin, 9, and Lucy Angel, 12, will compete next month in the Youth America Grand Prix, the world’s largest student ballet scholarship competition.

*Data released on Monday by the Property Council of Australia shows Wollongong residents take pride in their natural environment and outdoor facilities but are unimpressed with the economic climate and the city's look and design.

Wollongong was ranked seventh out of 10 cities surveyed in the 2013 My Cities poll, beating Sydney, Perth and Darwin.

*More than two years after the roof of WIN Stadium's western grandstand collapsed, we now know why it happened.

According to the report, by the NSW Public Works department, the fault centred on one of the trusses at the southern end of the roof.

*A Warilla home has been gutted after a fire broke out in the front of the house early on Sunday morningA search of the home confirmed there was nobody home at the time.

8am  Let's see what's happening on the roads and in the skies

WEATHER It's a partly cloudy day with a chance of showers this morning, but nowhere near as dreary as the weekend. Top temps of about 22 degrees are expected in Wollongong.

TRAFFIC There are no accidents to report this morning. Remember the roadworks at Gerringong and on Mount Ousley at Picton Road. Students head back to UOW today, so expect traffic to build along the Princes Highway at Northfields Avenue throughout the morning.

TRAINS There is good service on the South Coast line.

7.56am LOCAL NEWS Wollongong's Best Western Hotel on Gladstone Avenue will be rebranded as a Mantra hotel in mid-March after new owners Moss Capital successfully negotiated a partnership agreement.

The agreement is the first time Mantra, a Queensland-based hotel group, has established itself on the NSW South Coast.

7.52am SPORTS NEWS Tiger Woods has withdrawn from the Honda Classic gold tournament, apparently citing an aching back as his reason for pulling out.

7.49am CELEB NEWS Mary-Kate Olsen, one half on the Olsen twins, is set to wed Olivier Sarkozy - former French president Nicolas Sarkozy's half-brother. Seems like an odd pairing, but, hey, hopefully they're happy.

7.46am In news that will make parents everywhere groan, baby wipes have been linked to increased rates of dermatitis. n a research letter published in the Medical Journal of Australia on Monday, dermatologist Rosemary Nixon from the Skin and Cancer Foundation reports that an ingredient used to prevent bacterial infection in moist wipes is now the most common cause of dermatitis in patients sampled. SMH

7.43am The Mercury is giving one person and their friend the chance to win an exclusive meet and greet with The Axis of Awesome at Flix in the Stix in Wollongong Botanic Garden on Friday, March 7. To enter, head to our Facebook page, like the Axis of Awesome post and tell us who you will take to Flix in the Stix. Entries close on March 5.

7.40am TRAFFIC ALERT Traffic lights are blacked out at at Unanderra at the off/on ramp at Marley Place. Traffic is affected in both directions. Motorists should exercise caution.

7.37am The Eaton Gorge Theatre Company is performing Shakespeare’s The Tempest in Wollongong Botanic Gardens between Friday, February 28 and Sunday, March 30. 

7.33am This is pretty cool - drawings of the dress of every Best Actress winner at the Oscars since 1929. My fave is Jennifer Lawrence's Disney-princess-eqsue ballgown from last year

7.30am CELEB NEWS Pop star Gwen Stefani and hubby Gavin Rossdale have welcomed their third child into the world - Apollo Bowie Flynn Rossdale. 

7.26am The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras was on over the weekend. Check out this gallery of the festivities.

7.23am 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/

7.20am RED CARPET NEWS It doesn't look like Leo will win his much sought-after Oscar today. Matthew McConaughey is the favourite to take out the Best Actor award for his role in Dallas Buyers Club. Read the rest of the predictions here.

7.15am WORLD NEWS Witnesses to chilling violence at a Chinese train station recalled moments of fear and chaos after at least 29 people were killed in what authorities called a terrorist attack by Xinjiang militants.

Officials said a group of knife-wielding "terrorists" from the restive Xinjiang region launched a premeditated attack at the Kunming Railway Station in China's south-west on Saturday night. More than 130 people were wounded. SMH

7.12am Even the UN is in on today's Oscar action. They tweeted this video wishing all the nominees luck 

7.08am LOCAL SPORT NEWS Wollongong Olympic continued their dominant start to the Fraternity Cup with a 4-1 win over Premier League newcomers Bellambi yesterday.

7.06am Let's take a look at national headlines, courtesy of the SMH

*Ukraine is ready to fight for its sovereignty, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk declared in Kiev, after pro-Russian forces seized control of the Black Sea region of Crimea. Ukraine told Russia that a military invasion would be an act of war following a vote by lawmakers in Moscow to give President Vladimir Putin the right to send troops into the neighbouring country.

*The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has defended paying $3.5 million to Toll Holdings for a tent kitchen at its Manus Island detention centre.

*NSW voters are overwhelmingly opposed to a sale of the state-owned electricity network businesses, the latest Fairfax/Nielsen poll reveals.

7.03am Here’s what’s making news in your Mercury today

*Two Wollongong dancers are off to New York after being selected as finalists in an international competition known as the Olympics of Ballet.

Aysha Tornyi-Aydin, 9, and Lucy Angel, 12, will compete next month in the Youth America Grand Prix, the world’s largest student ballet scholarship competition.

*Data released on Monday by the Property Council of Australia shows Wollongong residents take pride in their natural environment and outdoor facilities but are unimpressed with the economic climate and the city's look and design.

Wollongong was ranked seventh out of 10 cities surveyed in the 2013 My Cities poll, beating Sydney, Perth and Darwin.

*More than two years after the roof of WIN Stadium's western grandstand collapsed, we now know why it happened.

According to the report, by the NSW Public Works department, the fault centred on one of the trusses at the southern end of the roof.

*A Warilla home has been gutted after a fire broke out in the front of the house early on Sunday morningA search of the home confirmed there was nobody home at the time.

7am Let's see what's happening on the roads and in the skies

WEATHER It's a partly cloudy day with a chance of showers this morning, but nowhere near as dreary as the weekend. Top temps of about 22 degrees are expected in Wollongong.

TRAFFIC There are no accidents to report this morning. Remember the roadworks at Gerringong and on Mount Ousley at Picton Road. Students head back to UOW today, so expect traffic to build along the Princes Highway at Northfields Avenue throughout the morning.

TRAINS There is good service on the South Coast line.

6.56am TECH NEWS The Cook app, which features recipes from some of Australia's best-known chefs, has been one of the country's most successful creative exports over the past year. It had 500,000 downloads in the first three weeks since its September launch, with 900,000 to date. SMH

6.53am LOCAL NEWS Gloomy skies and soggy fields did little to dampen the enthusiasm of hundreds of sporty  people as they rowed, ran and walked for the Shell Cove Shellharbour City Festival of Sport at the weekend. Check out the gallery of the two-day festival .

6.50am Cabinet will meet today to consider how the government can help Qantas.The airline is cutting 5000 jobs, freezing wages, retiring old planes, slashing capital spending and ceasing some routes over three years in a bid to save $2 billion. Chief executive Alan Joyce wants the federal government to change the Qantas Sale Act to allow more foreign investment and has asked Canberra for a debt guarantee. Prime Minister Tony Abbott says the legislative block on foreign investment is a ‘‘ball and chain’’ for the national carrier. The Greens and independent senator Nick Xenophon both intend to ask the Senate on Monday to inquire into the state of Qantas and what help its needs. AAP

6.47am The Mercury’s sport journos will be launching some new columns this year. Watch out for some great new content.

6.44am The sun may have just come up, but you can start planning where you'll be as it goes down. The SMH's travel writers have compiled a list of the best places around the world to watch the sunset and they all sound absolutely beautiful.

6.40am RED CARPET NEWS The stars will strut their stuff on the red carpet tonight as the 86th annual Oscars kick off in Hollywood. There's a couple of hours to kill until the winners are announced, so why not relive the funny and awkward moments of years passed. Here's a list of the top ten Oscar moments

6.36am If it's your birthday today, you share your celebrations with actresses Jessica Biel and Julie Bowen, popstart Ronan Keating and inventor of the telephone Alexander Graham Bell.

6.33am NATIONAL NEWS Business identity Jim Byrnes has vowed to give evidence at the royal commission into union corruption about construction union bribery, links to organised criminals and the allegedly underhand dealings of CFMEU boss Brian Parker. SMH

6.30am LOCAL NEWS Drizzly weather did not dampen the spirits of hundreds of volunteers yesterday who participated in CleanUp Australia Day activities throughout the region. At Puckeys Lagoon, volunteers picked up 3000 cigarette butts and 500 bottles in the first 90 minutes.

6.26am CELEB NEWS Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis are reportedly engaged. Rumours started over the weekend when the actress was spotted sporting a rather large diamond on her ring finger. The pair have been dating for two years, but first met on the set of That '70s Show, where they played teen dream couple Jackie and Kelso. I think a retro-themed wedding is in order.

6.22am TRAFFIC ALERT Congested traffic is expected around Gwynneville over the next few weeks with the start of semester one at the University of Wollongong. Autumn semester begins today and heavy traffic is expected at the Northfields Ave turn-off on the Princes Highway and throughout streets surrounding the campus.

The university has been working to reduce car traffic by encouraging students and staff to re-think their campus commute.

6.18am We want Jamie Oliver! Healthy Cities Illawarra has started a social media campaign to bring the chef's Ministry of Food pop-up kitchen to the city. So far, it has attracted 2300 "likes". No word from the man himself yet as to whether he's convinced.

6.15am TIARA NEWS The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, aka Kate and Will, are bringing baby George on the Australian tour next month. The royal family will visit Sydney's Royal Easter show, take a walk around Uluru, head to a yacht race on Auckland Harbour and see visit to the Blue Mountains. SMH

6.11am LOCAL SPORT NEWS Wollongong guard Rhys Martin played the game of his life to lead the Hawks to a spine-tingling 91-89 victory over the Adelaide 36ers on Friday at WIN Entertainment Centre. Check out the gallery from the game here.

6.08am Let's take a look at national headlines, courtesy of the SMH

*Ukraine is ready to fight for its sovereignty, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk declared in Kiev, after pro-Russian forces seized control of the Black Sea region of Crimea. Ukraine told Russia that a military invasion would be an act of war following a vote by lawmakers in Moscow to give President Vladimir Putin the right to send troops into the neighbouring country.

*The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has defended paying $3.5 million to Toll Holdings for a tent kitchen at its Manus Island detention centre.

*NSW voters are overwhelmingly opposed to a sale of the state-owned electricity network businesses, the latest Fairfax/Nielsen poll reveals.

6.05am Here’s what’s making news in your Mercury today

*Two Wollongong dancers are off to New York after being selected as finalists in an international competition known as the Olympics of Ballet.

Aysha Tornyi-Aydin, 9, and Lucy Angel, 12, will compete next month in the Youth America Grand Prix, the world’s largest student ballet scholarship competition.

*Data released on Monday by the Property Council of Australia shows Wollongong residents take pride in their natural environment and outdoor facilities but are unimpressed with the economic climate and the city's look and design.

Wollongong was ranked seventh out of 10 cities surveyed in the 2013 My Cities poll, beating Sydney, Perth and Darwin.

*More than two years after the roof of WIN Stadium's western grandstand collapsed, we now know why it happened.

According to the report, by the NSW Public Works department, the fault centred on one of the trusses at the southern end of the roof.

*A Warilla home has been gutted after a fire broke out in the front of the house early on Sunday morningA search of the home confirmed there was nobody home at the time.

6.02am Let's see what's happening on the roads and in the skies

WEATHER It's a partly cloudy day with a chance of showers this morning, but nowhere near as dreary as the weekend. Top temps of about 22 degrees are expected in Wollongong.

TRAFFIC There are no accidents to report this morning. Remember the roadworks at Gerringong and on Mount Ousley at Picton Road. Students head back to UOW today, so expect traffic to build along the Princes Highway at Northfields Avenue throughout the morning.

TRAINS There is good service on the South Coast line.

6am Welcome to Monday's edition of the Morning Rush. Kate Walsh is joining you today, wondering where the weekend went

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