MORNING RUSH - news, weather, traffic & online buzz

8.49am That's it from us this morning! Have a lovely Tuesday, enjoy the sunshine. See you all tomorrow for the hump day edition of the Rush.

8.46am The Dragons RedV club is heading for 16,000 members by the end of March. And apparently one lucky member will get to shave off Josh Dugan's beard.

8.43am NATIONAL NEWS: A Brisbane court is about to hear the final words to be spoken in defence of the man accused of killing Queensland schoolboy Daniel Morcombe. Brett Peter Cowan’s lawyer began summing up the defence case yesterday, urging jurors not to be overwhelmed by his client’s confessions about killing the 13-year-old. The trial resumes at 10am. (AAP)

8.40am My thoughts to all those stuck in this heinous traffic on the Sydney Harbour Bridge this morning. Urgh, commuting sucks!!!

8.35am A girl could really start to hate Miranda Kerr. Here she is looking all gorgeous and glam, having her make-up done for a shoot,

8.33am WORLD NEWS: Ukraine began military drills as Russian forces tightened their hold on the Crimean peninsula and the Foreign Ministry in Moscow warned of "lawlessness" in the former Soviet republic's eastern provinces.

8.31am CELEB GOSS ALERT: This Colin Farrell impersonator is so good, he managed to get himself into a VIP club. Oh the life of a celebrity impersonator!

8.29am LOCAL NEWS: The saliva of an Illawarra school teacher accused of child sex offences matches swabs taken from one of his alleged victims, a court has heard. The fresh evidence came to light as he was due to face trial in Wollongong District Court on Monday.

8.27am STRANGE BUT TRUE: A Philadelphia woman has had her finger bitten off in a car park scuffle. Sheesh, scary!

8.25am The Commonwealth Bank's "can tap" ad is doing the rounds on social media. Props to them for a very clever ad.

8.19am Don't forget we're crossing to Pulse 94.1FM with the latest news from the Rush.

8.17am WORLD NEWS: The Corby family's inept handling of Schapelle's first weeks of freedom has angered one of the Bali Nine members, who believes it may turn Indonesian authorities against other Australians in the prison system. Martin Stephens, who is serving a life term for his role in the 2005 heroin smuggling operation, says he is particularly furious at the behaviour of Corby’s sister, Mercedes.

8.15am Kiama Pavilion is playing host to the Stand Up, Stand Out conference today. It's a gorgeous today to show off the beautiful South Coast.

8.13am BREAKING SPORT: Melbourne Storm has confirmed that Cameron Smith will stay at the club until the end of the 2018 season.

8.11am Canberra is hosting its annual hot air balloon fair. The skyline has been littered with balloons - gorgeous.

8.09am NATIONAL NEWS: The national curriculum is overcrowded, too advanced and risks undermining the teaching of basic literacy and numeracy skills, primary school principals say. (SMH)

8.07am TIARA ALERT: Kate & Wills have a new nanny for baby George! She's being trained up by Kate's mum Carole while the royals holiday o/s.

8.05am The Illawarra Mercury is bringing back Bubble Soccer to the Hawks' home game on March 21. We are giving two people the chance to win tickets for themselves & three friends to battle it out at half-time. Enter here for your chance to win!

8.03am LOCAL NEWS: A man who subjected an Illawarra woman to a humiliating, prolonged sexual assault has lost his bid to have his jail term reduced. Read more here.

8.01am It's National Napping Day! (Well in the US, but we can steal it!) Enjoy a guilt-free siesta.

7.59am Love this tweet from US comedian/actor Steve Martin this morning. Seems like art has got the better of him...

7.57am Good morning! If you've just tuned in, here's the latest weather & traffic deets.

WEATHER It is ridiculously warm out there for 7am! We're in for a sunny day with a top of 25 degrees. Right now, it's 16 in Albion Park & 21 in Bellambi. It's 21 at Sydney Airport.

TRAFFIC All is clear on the region's roads - don't forget Lawrence Hargrave Drive @ Baines Place is shut for roadworks until 3pm Friday. The drive to Sydney is a bit of a nightmare this morning - that earlier accident @ Kogarah (Princes Hwy at Rocky Point Rd) is still causing headaches. A broken down car @ Mascot (General Holmes Drive) is also causing delays. Leave extra time.

TRAINS There are delays on the South Coast line this morning. Passengers should allow extra travel time.

7.54am The summer success of Sydney's Wet'n'Wild theme park, which made a profit of almost $6 million in its first few weeks of operation, has been blamed for a decline in visitor numbers at other theme parks. Dax Eddy, executive director of Jamberoo Action Park, said Jamberoo had recorded a 12 per cent year-on-year decrease in visitor numbers so far this season.

7.52am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Miley Cyrus has some crazy fans. Apparently one of them snuck into her dressing room in Omaha and left her a note, pleading for a meeting. Creepy. (AP)

7.50am This is classic. A US Fox News program misspelt spelling bee - spelling "be". Ooops.

7.48am So you've lost the motivation to lose weight & exercise. I hear ya. It's hard. So why not take an eight-week body challenge? Here's some great tips to get you started.

7.46am UPDATE: Police have confirmed that Scarlett Mitchell, the young girl missing from her home at Mosman, has been located safe and well.

7.44am TIARA ALERT: Can anyone else smell a royal engagement? Apparently Prince Harry and Cressida Bonas have been spending A LOT of time together.

7.42am STRANGE BUT TRUE: A two-year-old has been suspended from a Canadian daycare centre for eating a home-made cheese sandwich. Apparently the sarnie violated the daycare's strict "no outside food" policy. Wow, extreme much? NB How do you get suspended from daycare? I once bit a kid and they let me back!

7.40am Anyone else got very itchy feet? Figuratively, not literally, I mean. I am DESPERATE to travel ASAP. Luckily, I'm off on holidays in four weeks but until then, I'm going to dream of spring time in New York. Sigh.

7.38am BREAKING: SPC Ardmona has announced a $70 million deal with supermarket giant Woolworths to supply 24,000 extra tonnes of produce, just months after the federal government refused the struggling food processor assistance.The company today said the agreement to supply local fruit, tomatoes and beans was recognition that ‘‘consumers really do care where their food comes from’’. (AAP)

7.36am Award-winning choreographer Eva Crainean and the Dansatori troupe return to the IPAC with a new work that delves into themes of power, Dirty Damn Roses will run on March 28 & 29.

7.34am LOCAL NEWS: Labor has vowed to fight for every single seat in next year's state election campaign, Opposition Leader John Robertson told the ALP faithful in Kiama on Monday.

7.32am So apparently only half of people worldwide can roll their tongue. I can't, my fiancee can. But I'm not sure about his dog - we've never tested it out!

7.30am SPORT: Cronulla Sharks player Paul Gallen suffered an ankle injury in last night's game against the Titans. The Sharks went down 12 - 18.

7.28am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Remember Batkid? Well, he's been personally invited to the premiere of Spiderman 2 by its star Andrew Garfield. Bless! It might make up for his Oscars segment getting cut...

7.26am POLITICS: WA Treasurer Troy Buswell has resigned from Cabinet. The reason behind Mr Buswell's decision was in regard to mental health issues he was facing. WA Premier Colin Barnett said while he had known for two of weeks that Mr Buswell had suffered a "breakdown" and was seeking treatment, he only found out about Mr Buswell crashing his ministerial car the night before taking leave, on Sunday.

7.24am LOCAL NEWS: A focus on removing roadside hazards along Appin Road is one of several recommendations of a newly released safety study. Read more about it here.

7.22am Okay, so I know I've already posted a wedding-related pic this morning but this one was too good not to share. 80s wedding anyone? Perhaps I should consider a throwback wedding...

7.18am Chef Heston Blumenthal (he of the sensory eating & odd food combinations) has opened a new restaurant - in London's Heathrow Airport.

7.16am TRAFFIC ALERT - Kogarah: If you're heading to Sydney via Kogarah, allow extra time. Motorists on the Princes Highway are facing significant delays due to an accident at Rocky Point Road. One of three citybound lanes is closed and one of two southbound lanes is closed. Traffic is heavy in the area with queues approximately 1.5km.

7.14am WORLD NEWS: The father of Sandy Hook massacre perpetrator Adam Lanza has spoken out for the first time, stating: "Adam would have killed me in a heartbeat." Heartbreaking.

7.12am SPORT: Really interesting yarn on crowd numbers at NRL games. There were some very empty seats at games over the weekend - what is the problem? Does it spell the end of NRL? Check out Andrew Webster from the SMH's take here.

7.10am This is a picture of rehabilitating penguins wearing jumpers. 'Nuff said.

7.08am LOCAL NEWS: Have you been keeping up with the Katie Foreman murder trial? If you miss a day, don't stress - we've got a wrap-up on our website. Check it out.

7.06am As many of you know, I'm planning a wedding. So, obviously the below post made me very anxious - this woman had 80 bridesmaids. 80. 80. Sorry, had to write it a few times to deal! Is 80 bridesmaids too many? Yes, yes it is!

7.04am TV NEWS: The US remake of the Australian drama Rake is facing the fight of its life: to lift its audience in the next few weeks or almost certainly be cancelled. NB Why do they keep making US takes on Aussie shows?! Survivors say ... just don't!

7.02am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Beyonce has ordered women to stop using the word "bossy" as part of a campaign to encourage women to be leaders.

7am If you've just tuned in, let's have a look at the weather, traffic & trains.

WEATHER It is ridiculously warm out there for 7am! We're in for a sunny day with a top of 25 degrees. Right now, it's 15 in Albion Park & 21 in Bellambi. It's 21 at Sydney Airport.

TRAFFIC All is clear on the region's roads - don't forget Lawrence Hargrave Drive @ Baines Place is shut for roadworks until 3pm Friday. There is an accident @ Kogarah (Princes Hwy at Rocky Point Rd) - several northbound lanes are closed. Expect delays.

TRAINS There are delays on the South Coast line this morning. The 6.37am Kiama to Bondi Junction service is being replaced by buses between Kiama and Wollongong, where passengers are able to join a train towards Sydney.

6.57am Hi, sorry about that looong break - slight technical issue!

6.51am TV NEWS: The season finale of Keeping up with the Kardashians aired in the US last night - and it was a doozy. Khloe decided to divorce hubby Lamar Odom in a very emotional episode.

6.49am How to Host a Murder is coming to the Seacliff restaurant. If you've never been to a How to Host a Murder party, you must go along - it's a hoot!

6.44am STRANGE BUT TRUE: A US brewer has released a "Game of Thrones" beer to coincide with the fourth season of the show. "Fire and Blood Red Ale” costs $8.50 per bottle and is set for release on March 31.

6.42am A simple, at-home test could save your life. That's the message Illawarra Rotary clubs are hoping to spread, following the weekend launch of its annual bowel scan campaign. Check out how this test could help you here.

6.40am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Mad Men star Elisabeth Moss has described her short-live marriage as "extremely traumatic and awful and horrible." Ouch.

6.38am Have you seen this girl? There are serious concerns for the safety of 11-year-old Scarlett Mitchell, last seen at her Mosman home on Monday morning.

6.36am NATIONAL NEWS: A woman who worked with Robert Hughes on the hit sitcom Hey Dad! has told a Sydney court the actor deliberately exposed himself to her backstage and groped her in his dressing room. Here's the latest on the trial.

6.34am MOVIE NEWS: Zac Efron has hinted at another High School Musical film. Wow. Really?!

6.32am Proving that some people are so damn creative, check out this video of Star Wars characters singing along to Pharrell William's Happy. Too good.

star wars

6.30am LOCAL SPORT: The Wollongong Hawks' season hinges on Friday's road duel with Townsville. The boys need to win! Make sure you come out and support your Hawks at the last home game on March 21.

6.28am TV NEWS: So there are some crazy rumours going around about How I Met Your Mother - including that the mother has always been dead! The actress who plays the mum has shut down the spectulation, saying she's "okay" for now.

6.26am Did you watch MKR last night? I missed it but have taped it to watch when I get a chance! If you missed it, here's a re-cap - seems the rivalry between the twins & the annoying, "well-travelled" friends hit a new low.

6.24am NATIONAL NEWS: The man who witnessed the last moments of Steve Irwin's life has described how a massive stingray wildly stabbed the conservationist "hundreds of times". Cameraman Justin Lyons has come out with his story near eight years after Irwin's death.

6.22am It's early - you might need a giggle as you get out of bed. Check out this cat dressed in a Superman costume. Awwww. I have the greatest respect for people who dress up their pets.

6.20am LOCAL NEWS: Legally Blonde - the musical - is on its way to the Illawarra! Don't miss out on this great show - tickets available through Ticketek now!

6.18am This made me laugh this morning. Great ways to cover up a tattoo of your ex. One suggestion: just cross it out & right something different underneath. Classic!

6.14am WORLD NEWS: Oscar Pistorius vomited through the sixth day of his murder trial as graphic details of his girlfriend's autopsy were revealed.

6.12am MUSIC NEWS: Big news of the day yesterday - Lorde is heading down under! She'll be touring in April/May.

6.10am WORLD NEWS: The mystery of the missing Malaysian Airlines flight continues - Malaysian authorities have identified one of the two men who used stolen passports to board the missing jet, as international search teams continue to look - so far unsuccessfully - for wreckage. Keep up with all the latest on this unfolding tragedy here.

6.08am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Last week we told you about Mary Kate Olsen getting engaged. Well, we've got a shot of her $90,000 sparkler - yep, you read it right, $90,000. That's a lot of ring.

6.06am Let's have a look at the national headlines, courtesy of the SMH:

*Cardinal George Pell has acknowledged for the first time that the Catholic Church should be able to be sued over abuse by a priest.

*A report released today argues that Australia’s middle-class and wealthy parents need to send their children to public schools to improve the country’s increasingly polarised and inequitable education system.

*A string of large job losses since the Abbott government came to power could cost taxpayers more than $600 million in extra dole payments and income tax not paid.

*It took less than two hours for a Supreme Court jury to seal the fate of 46-year-old pharmaceutical salesman Paul Darren Mulvihill.

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

*Jean Docherty, the mother of missing girl Kay, has died without ever knowing what happened to her daughter.

*Wollongong MP Noreen Hay has accused NSW Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian of ‘‘pork barrelling’’ when it comes to installing lifts at train stations. Read more here.

*Wollongong solicitor Katie Foreman had sex with her estranged boyfriend, Bradley Max Rawlinson, less than three days before he paid to have her killed, a court has heard.

*Berkeley will no longer be home to the buzzing of model planes when the Illawarra Model Aero Club is forced from its Hooka Creek Road base at the end of the month.

6.02am Let's have a look at the latest weather, traffic & trains on this fine Tuesday, shall we?

WEATHER It is ridiculously warm out there for 6am! We're in for a sunny day with a top of 25 degrees. Right now, it's 15 in Albion Park & 21 in Bellambi. It's 21 at Sydney Airport.

TRAFFIC All is clear on the region's roads - don't forget Lawrence Hargrave Drive @ Baines Place is shut for roadworks until 3pm Friday. The run to Sydney looks good too.

TRAINS There are delays on the South Coast line this morning. Passengers should allow extra time due to an earlier mechanical issue at Kiama.

6am Good morning, welcome to Tuesday! It's March 11. Stay with me this morning for all the latest news, sport, weather & online buzz.

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