MORNING RUSH: news, sport, weather & online buzz

8.51am That's it from us this morning. Hope you enjoyed it! Join us tomorrow for the TGIF edition of the Rush.

8.48am If you think parking problems are bad on Melbourne’s streets, wait until you get on to Port Phillip Bay. The luxury Cunard ship Queen Mary 2, on which passengers pay up to $33,000 for a 119-day world voyage, was bumped from Station Pier yesterday and had to tie up at heavily industrialised Webb Dock among cranes and cargo containers. (The Age)

8.46am If you missed this read on the weekend, make some time today for it. Reporter Ang Thompson interviewed an Illawarra woman who fronts a US AC/DC tribute band - and it's fascinating.

8.44am SPORT: Brad Hodge starred in the shortest Twenty20 match ever played by Australia, as the tourists posted a thrilling five-wicket victory over South Africa in Durban.

8.42am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Robyn Thicke spent his recent birthday with Leonardo Dicaprio - not bad company, I suppose.

8.40am BREAKING WORLD NEWS: Two US teenagers have been committed to stand trial for the murder of Australian baseballer Chris Lane. (Nine News)

8.38am Yesterday, I ate my first Hot Cross bun and chocolate egg of the Easter "season". Do you think March is too early to be consuming these yummies? I feel a bit guilty today....

8.36am Don't forget Garden Party is on at UOW tonight. Looks like a great line-up!

8.33am Um, so, H&M has launched a $99 wedding dress. A Daily Life article makes a good point - if you can get a $99 dress, surely someone can offer a $99 cake or $99 flowers. Because weddings are flipping expensive - trust me, I KNOW!

8.30am NATIONAL NEWS: Newlywed Katie Hirth was on an organised scooter tour of Hoi Ann, on Vietnam’s east coast, before her long-awaited honeymoon was cut tragically short. The 26-year-old nurse from Geelong and her new husband, James Weedon, were riding separate scooters when a truck crashed with her bike and killed her instantly last Thursday. (The Age)

8.26am Amazing shot of a frozen Apostle Island in Wisconsin, US. Unbelievable.

8.24am TRAFFIC ALERT: There is heavy traffic at Dapto (M1 Princes Motorway (F6) at Fowlers Road). Leave extra travel time.

8.22am It's No Smoking Day today.

8.20am TRAFFIC UPDATE: Sir Bertram Stevens Drive is closed in both directions in the Royal National Park at the Audley Weir due to flooding. Motorists at the site are being turned around by emergency services. Motorists are advised to use McKell Avenue via Waterfall as an alternative route. 

8.18am We've all had those dodgy family photos but this one takes the cake - ouch!

8.14am BREAKING LOCAL NEWS: A crane is on site preparing to take down the Bum Tree but protesters might disrupt that plan. (South Coast Register)

8.12am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Who doesn't love SJP? The stunner spoke to Vogue, revealing her and character Carrie Bradshaw share a distaste for parsley & a love of the film The Way We Were.

sjp

8.10am Speaking of the Dragons, have you checked out our Dragons Den online? It's your one-stop shop for Dragons coverage. Check it out.

8.09am LOCAL SPORT: For years they have been taunted by the Raiders' hoodoo and perplexed by finding a way to end it but the Dragons have carved out their own stranglehold on the Warriors.

8.07am BREAKING: Reports a Chinese satellite has spotted debris, which could be from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight.

8.06am STRANGE BUT TRUE: A Texas man has been arrested wearing a Cookie Monster onesie. Nice!

8.04am LOCAL NEWS: Thou shalt shop for no longer. That’s the commandment from religious and union leaders who say politicians must love, honour and obey existing retail trading hours. Read more here from reporter Gemma Khaicy.

8.02am POLITICS: Here's a really bad idea -a Coalition-commissioned inquiry has plumped for a big-brother style "eye in the sky" applying tax to kilometres travelled rather than on fuel. (SMH)

8am Okay, I know I talked about the "not invited" letter re weddings yesterday. Here's another crazy post I just spied - policing people's outfits. A dress code is one thing but pre-approving prior to the day? That's a bit extreme, ain't it!?

7.58am NATIONAL NEWS: Workers have met at Barangaroo this morning to discuss site safety after yesterday's fire.

7.56am We hear it's all happening down at the Bum Tree - protests, people chaining themselves to trees, wowser! Anyone got pics or more info? Phone 4221 2207.

7.54am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Chances of Miranda Kerr & Orlando Bloom reconciling are slipping away - rumour has it, the pair is preparing to get divorced. They announced their separation earlier this year.

7.52am Good morning & welcome if you're just tuning in! Let's check out the weather & traffic for this fine Thursday morning, shall we?

WEATHER We're in for another cloudy day with a top of 22 degrees. Wasn't yesterday weird - sunny, raining, thunder, four seasons in one day!? Anywho, we could get some isolated showers this afternoon and the chance of thunderstorms. Right now it's 18 in Bellambi and 19 in Albion Park.

TRAFFIC Everything looks okay for the drive around the region. Don't forget those roadworks on Lawrence Hargrave Drive. There is some water on the road near Audley (Royal National Park), which is affecting traffic in both directions. Otherwise, the run to Sydney looks good.

TRAINS There is a good service on the South Coast line.

7.50am People are picky about their coffee. I HATE full-cream milk and can't stand it when it's too hot. Debate is swelling about how hot a coffee should be - what is hot and what is not? Click here for more.

7.48am Love Game of Thrones? Why not brush up on your Thrones knowledge before Season Four starts.

7.46am NATIONAL NEWS: Jurors are set to continue deliberating a verdict in Brett Cowan’s trial over the murder of Queensland teenager Daniel Morcombe.

7.44am LOCAL NEWS: Hundreds of people are expected to turn out for a march along Wollongong's Blue Mile on Sunday, to protest recent action taken by the federal government.The Wollongong march begins at Stuart Park at 11am on Sunday.

7.42am MUSIC NEWS: British pop star Lily Allen has blamed her record label and radio stations for not pushing the best tracks off her new album, after a fan slammed her new tracks as "docile pop rubbish". She has urged angry fans to "keep the faith".

7.40am Love this photo of bats - apparently, if you flip a photo of bats hanging upside down, it looks like they're having an epic dance-off. Love it!

7.38am Did anyone else watch Inside Story on Channel Nine last night? My fiancee put me on to this one as I LOVE true crime. Lethal Lovers was the episode's theme - and boy, were some of these women cray cray! Check it out if you like true-crime shows.

7.36am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Actor Chris Pine is in hot water - he's been charged with drink driving in New Zealand. Oh dear. Hopefully his Star Trek mates can get him out of trouble!

7.34am The World's Greatest Shave is on this weekend & early next week. Hats off to all those shaving their heads for this great event, including Emma Barrow, the lovely wife of our sports editor, who is losing all her locks for the cause. You go girl!

7.32am Our friends over at the Kiama Independent have suggested the bum tree may be coming down today. Watch this space.

7.30am Did you watch MKR last night? *SPOILER ALERT* Helena & Vicki are off to sudden death after making "bland" polenta balls. Harry & Christo proved yet again that they can't cook, Chloe & Kelly took AGES to make pizza & the mum & daughter won the challenge with some yummy deep-fried sea-food. Also, eliminated contestants Annie & Jason have confirmed the fued between the twins & the "well travelled" friends is real & tense.

7.28am Is anyone off to see John Farnham & Lionel Ritchie in Sydney tonight? Apparently the concert is FANTASTIC - my parents went last weekend and loved it. Enjoy!

7.26am POLITICS: One of Australia's most respected economists has lashed Treasurer Joe Hockey for his criticism of Treasury secretary Martin Parkinson, warned that Australia cannot afford new social policies without tax reform and predicted the GST will have to rise to tackle structural holes in the budget. NB Wow, that's upbeat!

7.24am Okayso, I know it's two-cat pictures in-a-row but this one was TOO GOOD not to share.

7.22am Hehehe this cat is hilarious! He's not fat, just fluffy!

7.20am A passionate Italian family and a keen-eye for interesting vintage trinkets have given Hannah Ladic a natural talent for crafting gorgeous food photographs. Check out the Farmborough Height's woman's amazing shots here.

7.16am Okay, so I've just moved and I thought my apartment was small. How wrong am I - check out these teeny tiny houses. You'd have to be a teeny tiny human to live in these!

7.14am LOCAL SPORT: Wollongong backcourt bruiser Tyson Demos urged the Hawks to be the aggressor in Friday night's all-important road clash with Townsville. Don't forget to support the boys at their last home game on March 21.

7.12am How about this view for a morning bike ride? These guys cycled along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria - absolutely stunning!

7.10am WORLD NEWS: Crimea is effectively isolated from the rest of Ukraine, with heavily armed, masked Russian soldiers stationed at key points throughout the region, its highways busy with military activity and its navy fleet blockaded in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol.

7.08am STRANGE BUT TRUE: Charlie, a Maltese terrier, has been saved from certain death by veterinarians who fed him copious amounts of vodka. Wha?! Check out the yarn below for more information.

7.06am TV NEWS: Network Ten has redrafted its programming to save reality dance series So You Think You Can Dance from the same fate as the ill-fated Everybody Dance Now. Ten has switched So You Think You Can Dance, which was getting hammered in the ratings on Sunday nights, to the less competitive Thursday evening.

7.04am LOCAL NEWS: Austinmer's Headlands Hotel developers are continuing a controversial push to remove conditions preventing permanent residency at a $25 million hotel complex planned for the prime coastal land.

7.02am STRANGE BUT TRUE: What happens when 11 eggs get stuck inside a chicken? NB This is not a joke! A chicken named Myrtle recently had to have an emergency hysterectomy to remove 11 eggs that were stuck inside her.

7am POLITICS: The Abbott government will not be following the example of New Zealand's conservative Prime Minister John Key, who wants to remove the Union Jack from his country's flag. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told BBC radio she thought there was “no great demand” to change Australia's flag and her government would not consider doing so. (SMH)

6.58am WORLD NEWS: The saga of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight has continued. Yesterday, families of the missing passengers hurled water bottles at the airline's employees. Also, the final four words from the flight's crew have been revealed for the first time: "all right, good night."

6.56am Tickets for Legally Blonde are now on-sale & are selling like hot cakes! MoonGlow Productions is set to stage the musical for the first time in Wollongong on July 4-5 @ the WIN Entertainment Centre. Get in quick and book your tix via Ticketek.

6.54am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Things between besties Taylor Swift & Selena Gomez are not good. Taylor has distanced herself from Selena after she reconnected with Justin Bieber. Yeah, fair call.

6.52am Good morning & welcome if you're just tuning in! Let's check out the weather & traffic for this fine Thursday morning, shall we?

WEATHER We're in for another cloudy day with a top of 22 degrees. Wasn't yesterday weird - sunny, raining, thunder, four seasons in one day!? Anywho, we could get some isolated showers this afternoon and the chance of thunderstorms. Right now it's 17 in Bellambi and 18 in Albion Park.

TRAFFIC Everything looks okay for the drive around the region and for the journey to Sydney.

TRAINS There is a good service on the South Coast line.

6.50am Have you joined our tipping competition yet? Do it - bragging rights included if you win!

6.48am Do you dine on fast food four times a month? If your answer is yes, then you're an average Australian. A new report on the nation's eating habits shows that Australians make 51.5 million visits to fast food restaurants every month. 51.5 MILLION! Holy crap! Wow. NB I'm strictly a McDonalds eater when I have a hang-over/am desperate on a long car trip.

6.46am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Girls' creator Lena Dunham has appeared on the cover of Glamour magazine - and she looks gorgeous!

6.44am LOCAL NEWS: Illawarra schools are taking steps to reduce cyber bullying and make students aware of their rights and responsibilities online.

6.42am We're having a morning tea at work tomorrow - I wonder if I have the time/talent to make this - it's an Instagram cake. NB Anyone who knows my "baking" "skills" would know this is NOT possible.

6.40am POLITICS: Corrupt former Labor minister Ian Macdonald is suing the ABC for defamation over claims he cashed in on mining deals linked to Eddie Obeid and other Labor figures. Read more about Macdonald's claim here.

6.38am If you haven't watched Barack Obama on Hangover actor's Zach Galifianakis' "Between Two Ferns", do it now. It is absolutely hilarious - Obama proves he has great comedic timing!

6.36am MOVIE NEWS: Check out this poster for the Godzilla movie. It's coming to cinemas May 15. NB I'm surprised this hasn't been made earlier - we've had every other giant animal film. King Kong anyone?

6.34am SPORT: Cronulla Sharks chief executive Steve Noyce has made an impassioned plea for the NRL and ASADA to put the club - and its players - out of their misery and reveal whatever findings their investigations had uncovered. (SMH)

6.32am LOCAL NEWS: Jurors in the Katie Foreman murder trial have visited the Corrimal house in which the young solicitor died.

6.30am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Kim Kardashian has blown through $1 million in a month. Wow. OMG.

6.28am NATIONAL NEWS: One of the women who was allegedly abused by Hey Dad! star Robert Hughes has admitted that she lied while giving evidence during his trial on child sex charges, and that she previously ran a ''media campaign'' against him. Read more here.

6.26am TRAFFIC UPDATE: Roads have reopened after yesterday's Barangaroo crane fire.

6.24am WORLD NEWS: The Oscar Pistorius trial has continued. The court was yesterday told Pistorius was not wearing his prosthetic legs when he smashed a locked door with a cricket bat to reach his shot girlfriend, according to a key forensic witness at his murder trial.

6.22am CELEB GOSS ALERT: So Lindsay Lohan apparently made a list of all the people she's slept with - including a heap of celebrities. Check it out! NB Is nothing sacred any more?!

6.20am Don't forget we're crossing to Pulse 94.1FM every hour with news from the Rush.

6.18am Happy 68th birthday to Liza Minelli! And a big happy birthday to everybody else celebrating.

6.16am TV NEWS: Charlie Pickering has stepped down as a host on The Project. He finishes at the end of the month. No replacement has been announced.

6.14am LOCAL NEWS: NSW Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Victor Dominello has called for Roy "Dootch" Kennedy to stand down as chairman of the Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council after he was charged with child sex offences.

6.13am If you missed this one yesterday, the world has been outraged by an EPIC photo-shop fail from US Target. The store created a ridic thigh gap on one of its model. Honestly! Check out the pics below.

6.12am TV NEWS: The Big Bang Theory has been renewed for another three seasons - great news for fans!

6.10am WORLD NEWS: At least two people have been killed after two buildings collapsed in East Harlem, New York, yesterday, according to authorities. A senior city official suggested that there would most likely be more fatalities.

6.08am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Demi Moore narrowly avoided running into ex Ashton Kutcher & his new fiancee Mila Kunis at an Oscars after party. Awwwwwkward!

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

*One of the largest construction projects in Sydney could be set back months after a massive underground fire broke out at Barangaroo, closing major roads and forcing thousands to evacuate from nearby buildings.

*Documents reveal that the government has paid nearly a million dollars to cover its sudden axing of ADCA.

*A parliamentary inquiry led by coalition MPs says national parks should host more tourism ventures such as accommodation, camping and mountain bike trails.

*Consumer confidence has collapsed, sliding to its lowest point since the Gillard prime ministership as Labor supporters despair about jobs, the economy and business profitability.

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

*Wollongong City Council has installed parking meters in what was the last remaining free car park in the city centre.

*A Unanderra man fears a gumtree in his backyard may smash through his home in high winds after routine pruning by Endeavour Energy left the tree looking dangerously unbalanced.

*An Illawarra teenager who sparked outrage after racially abusing NRL star Ben Barba via social media has gone to ground.

*Broad smiles, laughter, and the joy of human contact are constant themes in the images of people with dementia taken through the eyes of Cathy Greenblat. Read more here.

6.02am Let's check out the weather & traffic for this fine Thursday morning, shall we?

WEATHER We're in for another cloudy day with a top of 22 degrees. Wasn't yesterday weird - sunny, raining, thunder, four seasons in one day!? Anywho, we could get some isolated showers this afternoon and the chance of thunderstorms. Right now it's 17 in Bellambi and 18 in Albion Park.

TRAFFIC Everything looks okay for the drive around the region. There is a two-car accident @ Mascot if you're heading to Sydney - just be careful.

TRAINS There is a good service on the South Coast line.

6am Good morning! Happy Thursday! Hope you're having a good week - nearly at the end! Stay with us this morning for all the latest news & online happenings.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop