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

8.15am That's it from us this morning - sorry for the shortened Rush but I'm off to move! Have a great hump day, see you tomorrow for Thursday's edition of the Rush.

8.12am So I'm never moving to Wodonga - rats are plaguing High Street in the area. Ewwwwww.

8.10am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Apparently there is quite the storm brewing between Lady Gaga & Demi Lovato.

8.08am If you missed our Saltwater Sanctuaries series, here they are, all wrapped up in a neat little package.

8.06am There are some great international acts heading down under - have you booked tix for Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake or Michael Buble? Or all three?

8.04am Mudcat Wollongong has Green Eggs & Ham on its menu. Delish!

8am LOCAL SPORT: Illawarra Cycle Club is confident of netting a good haul of medals when the National Masters Track Cycling Championship kicks off at the DISC velodrome in Melbourne on Wednesday.

7.57am WORLD NEWS: Libya's Congress handed a no-confidence vote to Prime Minister Ali Zeidan on Tuesday in a yet another jolt to the oil-rich nation's crumbling political stability. (SMH)

7.55am A little hump day funny for you - who doesn't love a good Lord of the Rings joke?!

7.53am LOCAL NEWS: Five people were forced to flee a burning townhouse in Bomaderry on Monday night.

7.51am Good morning & happy hump day! If you're just tuning in, here's the latest weather & traffic.

WEATHER Watch out for a big ol' thunderstorm this afternoon. Cloud will increase this morning and there is a chance of showers and thunderstorms from late morning. The temp is expected to hit 26 degrees. Right now, it's 16 in Albion Park & 18 in Bellambi.

TRAFFIC There is a three-car accident on Crown St (Rosemount St) in Wollongong - one northbound lane is closed. Don't forget that work @ Helensburgh (Lawrence Hargrave Drive). All is clear for the run to Sydney.

TRAINS Those earlier delays on the South Coast Line have cleared.

7.49am Our friends at i98FM posted this little quote this morning & I can totally relate!

7.47am POLITICS: The Abbott government defied the advice of John Howard and Peter Costello when it axed the nation's top economic official, Treasury Secretary Martin Parkinson. (SMH)

7.45am As many of you know, I'm planning a wedding. So, I just saw this post on FB, talking about "you're not invited" cards i.e. you send a card to a person, explaining why they're not invited to your wedding (money/travel restrictions/general dislike). Why would anyone do this!? Is this really a thing!?

7.43am Sticky Fingers and Elizabeth Rose headline the UOW Garden Party tomorrow night. Doors open at 7:30pm. Tickets: UOW Students $20, GA $27 (both incur booking fee).

7.41am TV NEWS: Neighbours actor Kym Valentine is to return to Ramsay Street for three weeks despite last year's legal battle over her sex discrimination claims against the show's producers. Read all about her return here.

7.39am Okay, so this is a rat holding a teddy bear. Do you think by adding a teddy to the mix, the rat is less gross? We're asking the hard hitting questions here this morning!

7.37am Have you entered the Merc's tipping comp yet? Do it - if only for the honour of beating your mates! NB I base my tips on overall team attractiveness.

7.35am LOCAL NEWS: The state of a new shared pathway at Koonawarra has been described as "embarrassing" and "depressing" by user groups.

7.32am BREAKING: Crimea has voted to split from Kiev. (SMH)

7.28am I know it's WAY too early for sweets but these cupcakes look really, really good. Does anyone want to bring me a cupcake? Pretty please?

7.26am It's Clubs Day at UOW today. Head over to the Mckinnon Lawn between 11am and 2pm and check out all the uni's clubs.

7.25am SPORT: Australia has never been better placed to win a maiden Twenty20 World Cup, according to star allrounder Shane Watson. Well that's good news!

7.24am NATIONAL NEWS: Passengers who combine bus and train travel will be denied discounts offered to bus and tram commuters under Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian's policies for the new Opal smartcard. NB We'd love to hear your thoughts on the new Opal system - email us!

7.22am MUSIC NEWS: So Keith Richards is now a children's book author.

7.20am Another famous star is on her way to the Illawarra - Peppa Pig! Tickets are selling fast for the concert at the IPAC in June.

7.18am LOCAL NEWS: A partygoer who repeatedly punched a man in the face during an unprovoked assault has been slammed by a magistrate for the "drunken, savage attack".

7.16am Tickets for Legally Blonde, coming to the WIN Entertainment Centre in July, are now on sale via Ticketek. There are some great acts coming to the WEC including Tina Arena & the Glenn Miller Orchestra.

7.14am Did you watch MKR last night? *SPOILER ALERT* I was really sad to see Annie & Jason go home, I quite liked them. Although their main course was just about walking off the plate it was so undercooked. Bleurgh!

7.12am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Oscar winners Jared Leto & Lupita Nyong'o have posted pics of themselves hanging out in Paris. How cute would they be as a couple?!

7.10am WORLD NEWS: Marijuana sales in Colarado are INSANE. $US14 ($15.49) million worth of pot was sold in January, from about 59 businesses.

7.08am It's St Patrick's Day on March 17. Grab your fave green outfit & a Guiness and celebrate.

7.06am STRANGE BUT TRUE: A UK restaurant has created a chilli burger that is so hot, it has put five people in hospital & requires customers to sign a waiver before they eat it.

7.04am LOCAL SPORT: The play-offs may be out of the picture for Townsville, but Hawks big man Dave Gruber expects the impending retirement of Russell Hinder to fire up the Crocodiles on Friday. NB Don't forget to support our Hawks at their last home game on March 21.

7.02am TRAFFIC ALERT -  heavy traffic in Mascot.

7.01am The Lifeline Big Book Fair is on this weekend. Get down the Berkeley Sports Stadium for some great titles.

7am MUSIC NEWS: Taylor Swift was the highest paid US singer last year, raking in $39 million. Phew. She made more than Beyonce & Justin Timberlake.

6.58am NATIONAL NEWS: A former minister for western Sydney has copped the brunt of the region’s anger over the proposal for a second airport at Badgerys Creek at a fiery public forum overnight.

6.56am Proving some parents have too much time on their hands, these kids have been "dressed up" and transformed into TV characters.

6.54am Good morning & happy hump day! If you're just tuning in, here's the latest weather & traffic.

WEATHER Watch out for a big ol' thunderstorm this afternoon. Cloud will increase this morning and there is a chance of showers and thunderstorms from late morning. The temp is expected to hit 26 degrees. Right now, it's 17 in Albion Park & 19 in Bellambi.

TRAFFIC Everything looks a-okay on the region's roads - don't forget that work @ Helensburgh (Lawrence Hargrave Drive). All is clear for the run to Sydney too.

TRAINS There are some delays on the South Coast line this morning. Passengers are advised to allow additional travel time due to a train requiring mechanical repairs at Wollongong earlier.

6.52am His Boy Elroy is serving up coffee from 9am today - and it looks flipping good.

6.50am SPORT: The Australian Rugby Union will develop a uniform set of team protocols spanning Super Rugby and the Wallabies as a result of the fall-out from last year's spring tour controversy.

6.48am Vivid Sydney, the annual festival of light, music and ideas, has released the first line-up of acts, events and artists for this winter - and it includes the Pet Shop Boys. Yep, the 80s disco dudes are on their way down under. NB As an interesting side note, my dad went to school with one of the Pet Shop Boys. Small world!

6.46am Have you been watching the Real Housewives of Melbourne? I got my first taste last night via a replay and all I can say is those women be CRAZY!

6.44am LOCAL NEWS: It's not easy being green - not in Wollongong's Crown Street Mall, with vandals, gum tree objectors, ugly fences and now bugs to contend with.

6.42am Disturbing news this morning about car restraints - apparently four in five kids are strapped incorrectly.

6.40am The South Coast Labour Council is hosting a March in March this Saturday at Stuart Park. It's a peaceful protest against government decisions that are against the good of the nation.

6.38am Tee hee hee. That's me laughing at this very funny snap of a turtle & a snail. Tee hee hee.

6.36am NATIONAL NEWS: A Sydney woman allegedly set alight by her former boyfriend had previously voiced concerns about the relationship to her parents, the police and at least one friend. (SMH)

6.34am STRANGE BUT TRUE: An US family has called 911, claiming their 22-pound cat was holding them hostage. Read all about it here.

6.32am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Miranda Kerr is the new face of Wonderbra. Thoughts?

6.30am WORLD NEWS: The Oscar Pistorius trial has continued - this time, a one-time close friend has painted him as a reckless gun-lover.

6.28am Apologies for the short break, technical hitch!

6.23am Don't forget we're crossing every hour to Pulse 94.1FM with all the latest news.

6.22am Planning a summer holiday? Need some inspiration/sparkling blue seas? Here's some gorgeous Pacific paradises to consider. NB See you in Bora Bora!

6.18am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Justin Bieber is imploding - but is he taking ex Selena Gomez down with him? Apparently they were spotted dirty dancing recently - what!? NO! Run Selena run!

6.16am Did anyone watch Four Corners this week? A gut-wrenching episode on an international pedophile ring. Hats off to the cops who did amazing work busting the men.

6.14am LOCAL NEWS: David Akele has given up clothes for Lent - all but one pair of jeans and a shirt - to raise money for World Vision Australia. Read more on his pledge here.

6.12am Have you seen the video doing the rounds of 20 "random strangers" engaged in a first kiss? Well, turns out they're all actors & models - and it's an ad for a clothing line. Sneaky! Watch below.

6.10am WORLD NEWS: The tragedy of the missing Malaysian Airlines jet has continued. Malaysia's military now believes it has tracked a missing jetliner by radar over the Strait of Malacca, far from where it last made contact with civilian air traffic control off the country's east coast. Click here for all the latest info.

6.08am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Oh no! Kim Kardashian was in a car accident - it was only minor & reportedly not her fault. Phew!

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

*A deal to take over the Bennelong dining space at the Sydney Opera House has fallen through.

*Sydney DJs Kyle Sandilands and Jackie-O have proved they’ve got radio loyalty after new ratings showed they’re at the number one spot after moving to their new station.

*Customs figures show that claims of tobacco smuggling linked to plain packaging are unfounded.

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

*Oak Flats resident Jennifer Page is outraged that people are parking in spaces reserved for cancer patients and their carers at Wollongong Hospital.

*An Illawarra teenager has apologised to NRL star Ben Barba for a racial slur on social media.

*Better Penrose, Nicer Penrose and Greater Penrose are some of the cheeky new names Wollongong councillors have suggested for the Dapto suburb now known as Penrose.

*Bernard Spicer confessed to playing a role in the October 2011 killing of Wollongong solicitor Katie Foreman after learning his de facto partner and fellow murder accused, Michelle Proud, had divulged information to police, a court has heard.

6.02am If you're just wiping the sleep out of your eyes, open up those peepers & check out the latest weather & traffic.

WEATHER Watch out for a big ol' thunderstorm this afternoon. Cloud will increase this morning and there is a chance of showers and thunderstorms from late morning. The temp is expected to hit 26 degrees. Right now, it's 16 in Albion Park & 20 in Bellambi.

TRAFFIC Everything looks a-okay on the region's roads - don't forget that work @ Helensburgh (Lawrence Hargrave Drive). All is clear for the run to Sydney too.

TRAINS There are some delays on the South Coast line this morning. The 4:47am Wollongong to Waterfall service was cancelled, creating a few headaches. Allow extra travel time.

6am Good morning & happy hump day! It's Wednesday, March 12. Stay with me this morning for all the latest news & goss. NB The Rush will be slightly shortened this morning as I'm moving house today! I'll be wrapping up at 8.15am.

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