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

8.46am That's it from us this morning - have a fab weekend! Enjoy the hot weather. We'll see you Monday :)

8.44am This made me laugh this morning - the five-second food rule has been scientifically proven. I thought it was the seven-second rule!? Uh-oh.

8.40am NATIONAL NEWS: The royal commission on union corruption will be formally launched today and will begin calling witnesses and holding hearings in the next month.

8.38am Oh good lord, this is a picture of mini-pigs. I don't even need to say anything else, do I!?

8.36am Young Frankenstein kicks off at the Miners Lamp Theatre on March 21. It's a very funny show with a great cast - grab your tickets via the Arcadians website.

8.34am LOCAL SPORT: He's gone from one of Laurie Daley's right-hand men to a self-confessed teacher of the "catch and pass" yet Trent Barrett admitted he has never been more challenged in his fledgling coaching career.

8.32am Come someone make this for me please? Yum.....

8.30am STRANGE BUT TRUE: I never thought I would have to write these words but - police in the UK have reportedly shut down a road in Middlesbrough to search for a man's missing penis.

8.26am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Only Victoria Beckham. She's been spotted trying out a desk with an in-built treadmill while wearing stilettos. Of course.

8.24am NATIONAL NEWS: Senators will grill Qantas over its decision to shed 5000 jobs at a hearing today. Labor and the Greens successfully established the inquiry after Qantas announced the job cuts and the government introduced a bill to remove foreign ownership limits on the airline. The legislation has cleared the House of Representatives but looks set to fail in the upper house. Greens senator Lee Rhiannon said she hoped Qantas boss Alan Joyce would be forthcoming with the inquiry about the true state of the airline’s financial woes. (AAP)

8.22am Have you been watching Janet King on the ABC? It is FANTASTIC - so good to see a really strong Aussie drama on our screens.

8.20am MOVIE NEWS: Arr George Clooney - he's like a Chanel suit, he never goes out of style (according to Carrie Bradshaw). His latest film The Monuments Men opened in Aus yesterday - looks like a good one! Head along to the flicks this weekend.

8.18am TRAIN ALERT: Buses are replacing trains on the Southern Highlands line - expect MAJOR delays.

8.16am Gerringong's Children's Medical Research Institute is having a fund-raiser movie night tonight, screening The Monuments Men, at Shellharbour Greater Union from 6.30pm. Cost: $20. For tickets, call Belinda on 4234 0224.

8.14am Tee hee hee, look at this cranky kitty - looks like me on my weekend sleep-ins!

8.12am BREAKING: Nine News is reporting that a new search may be opened for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet.

8.10am Have you been reading our Radar Illawarra column? Reporter Josh Butler has everything happening in the region's live music scene all wrapped up in a neat little package right here.

8.08am WORLD NEWS: It sounds like the cruise from hell - three passengers suing Carnival cruise lines for damages after an engine fire left their ship adrift for days are asking the company to pay $US5000 ($A5,558) per year for life while the rest are seeking $US2500 ($A2779) to US$5000 for four to five year

8.06am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Jersey Shore star Snooki is getting married - we've got some dirt on her upcoming nuptials.

8.04am The AFL 2014 season kicks off tonight - c'mon Swannies, let's take home the premiership!

8.02am Everyone loves the Sydney Opera House - but would you like to own a piece of it? The tiles on the famous building are up for sale!

8am MUSIC NEWS: Millionairesinger Susan Boyle has revealed she applied for a job at a bookies because she fears ending up poor. Oh bless - she has amassed $11 million. I think she'll be fine.

7.58am NATIONAL NEWS: The Australian Federal Police have dropped a proceeds of crime investigation into Schapelle Corby. Federal officers raided Seven Network offices in Sydney last month amid intense speculation the network was working on a deal with the convicted drug runner for a lucrative first interview following her release from an Indonesian jail.

7.56am LOCAL NEWS: The mechanic responsible for servicing Wollongong solicitor Katie Foreman's Holden Astra car discovered large amounts of water in the vehicle's petrol tank twice in the year before she died, a court has heard.

7.54am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Seth Rogan has given Justin Bieber an absolute serve - calling him "obnoxious, ungrateful and insincere." Ouch.

7.52am Good morning Illawarra and welcome if you're just tuning in! Rise & shine to the latest weather & traffic...

WEATHER Man it feels warm! That's because it is - it's already 21 degrees in Bellambi and 19 in Albion Park, phew! We're in for a partly cloudy day with a top of 26 degrees. Tomorrow is going to be HOT - temps are set to hit 29 degrees before showers develop for Sunday. Still, the mercury is set to hit 27 on Sunday - it is autumn, right?!

TRAFFIC All looks good on the region's roads & for the drive to Sydney. Don't forget those roadworks on Lawrence Hargrave Drive. There is some cows on the road at Menangle - MOOOve carefully around there.

TRAINS There is a good service on the South Coast line but major delays on the Southern Highlands line. Avoid the train if you can or expect significant delays.

7.50am TV NEWS: The first images of the final season of Mad Men have been released - and they are STUNNING. Check them out here.

7.48am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Oh Mariah Carey & Nick Cannon - these two have some NUTSO plans for their vow renewal this year.

7.44am LOCAL NEWS: Training in the use of social media will be offered to Shellharbour City Councillors in the wake of a recent Twitter mix-up.

7.42am Happy Pi Day! Not pie day, but PI day. 3.14 - get it?!

7.40am NATIONAL NEWS: Hot steel or welding embers falling into lower levels of the Barangaroo construction site are being examined as the possible causes of a fire that broke out in a confined underground area where up to 60 workers were lucky to escape.

7.38am Head along to the UOW pool this Sunday to watch a pro water polo game in action.

7.36am So many Illawarra people are lopping off their locks for the World's Greatest Shave. Good on you guys - what a wonderful cause.

7.34am Don't forget the sculptured book workshop is on at Wollongong Art Gallery this weekend. Cost: $135.

7.32am SPORT: Sydney FC midfielder Ali Abbas has told officials Western Sydney Wanderers striker Brendon Santalab called him an “[expletive] Arab, Muslim, [expletive]" during the fiery derby at Allianz Stadium last Saturday night.

7.30am TIARA ALERT: It's bling time! Apparently Kate Middleton gets to raid the Queen's jewellery box for her upcoming trip down under. Lucky girl!

7.28am Earlier this week, we told you about the "first kiss" ad where strangers were filmed sharing a pash. Well, some clever soul has made a parody - with dogs. "First Sniff" - check it out.

sniff

7.26am BREAKING WORLD NEWS: Nine News is reporting that the death toll has risen to seven from the New York gas explosion yesterday.

7.24am LOCAL NEWS: A campaign to save Port Kembla Hospital’s food production unit – and 30 jobs – is heating up, with thousands of community members signing a petition.

7.22am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Lady Gaga is in trouble. Her foundation reportedly spent only $5000 out of $2 million on charity.

7.20am STRANGE BUT TRUE: A new website will allow Australians to hire platonic friends for “endless possibilities” with one caveat: no physical contact allowed.

7.18am WORLD NEWS: Ukraine moved yesterday to mobilise a volunteer force to ward off Russia's expansionist threat as Berlin warned Moscow of long-term damage to its economy and EU relations over the Crimea crisis.

7.16am TRAIN UPDATE: Basically, avoid the Southern Highlands line this morning if you can or expect MAJOR delays.

7.14am GOOD NEWS! Today is World Sleep Day. Sadly, this does not mean you can tell your boss you're not coming in as you're marking the traditional day & sleeping - it's about reminding people, particularly kids, how important sleep is. Boo.

7.12am The Righteous Brothers’ Bill Medley will perform at WIN Entertainment Centre tonight. For details and tickets visit, ticketek.com.au or phone 132 849.

7.10am NATIONAL NEWS: NSW has emerged as Australia's economic pacesetter with figures showing it officially has the lowest unemployment rate of any state. Read more here.

7.08am LOCAL NEWS: A barista who helped her former boyfriend violently rob her employer, the owner of Wollongong’s San Churro chocolate cafe, has avoided time behind bars.

7.06am The video of this toddler negotiating with his mother over cupcakes is just hilarious. Enjoy.

toddler

7.04am CELEB GOSS ALERT: So apparently Rhianna and singer Drake are having a bit of a flirt. Couple news?

7.02am NATIONAL NEWS: Two men have been arrested over an attempted ATM break-in in Sydney's CBD, after a suspicious item was found on a footpath near the Queen Victoria Building, forcing the evacuation of shoppers and nearby buildings.

7am Sorry Mean Girls fans - creator Tina Fey has shut down rumours about a sequel :(

6.58am LOCAL SPORT: Two days before their return to WIN Stadium, the South Coast Wolves are determined to put years of on-field and financial hardship behind them.

6.56am Don't forget it's St Patrick's Day on Monday - grab your best green outfit & find yourself a leprechaun.

6.54am MOVIE NEWS: Girl with the Dragon Tattoo star Rooney Mara is set to play Native American Tiger Lily in the blockbuster adaptation of Peter Pan.

6.52am Good morning Illawarra and welcome if you're just tuning in! Rise & shine to the latest weather & traffic...

WEATHER Man it feels warm! That's because it is - it's already 21 degrees in Bellambi, phew! We're in for a partly cloudy day with a top of 26 degrees. Tomorrow is going to be HOT - temps are set to hit 29 degrees before showers develop for Sunday. Still, the mercury is set to hit 27 on Sunday - it is autumn, right?!

TRAFFIC All looks good on the region's roads & for the drive to Sydney. Don't forget those roadworks on Lawrence Hargrave Drive.

TRAINS There is a good service on the South Coast line but major delays on the Southern Highlands line. Allow plenty of extra travel time.

6.50am WORLD NEWS: A man and a woman have been killed and 23 people have been injured after a suspected drunk driver, fleeing police, crashed through barricades at the South By Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin and slammed into a crowd of festival goers. (SMH)

6.48am Don't forget the March in March is on this Sunday at Stuart Park from 11am.

6.46am LOCAL NEWS: Golden staph infections have increased at major Illawarra and Shoalhaven hospitals in recent years, although the number of cases remain below the government guidelines.

6.44am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Is anyone else hating Kim Kardashian's new look? What's with all the midriff tops & pencil skirts? This time, she's been spotted in an outfit that reveals her underwear. Nice.

6.42am MOVIE NEWS: Filming on Fast & Furious 7 will resume next month in Abu Dhabi. The seventh instalment of the blockbuster film franchise was put on hold late last year after star Paul Walker was killed in a fiery car crash .

6.40am SPORT: Alessandro Del Piero has breached the competition regulations of the A-League by wearing a custom captain's armband bearing the logo of his clothing line, prompting the Football Federation of Australia to ban Sydney's marquee player from wearing the item.

6.38am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Proving twins do everything together, Ashley Olsen has followed her sister's move and is engaged!

6.36am STRANGE BUT TRUE: A pizza laced with marijuana has left an LA boy in hospital and made his grandma loopy. She bought the pizza from an LA restaurant & has now pressed charges against the eatery.

6.34am LOCAL SPORT: The Dragons are set to take on the Warriors in Round Two of the NRL. Join the Merc Sports boys for Kick-Off, our NRL preview show. Watch it here.

6.32am WORLD NEWS: The mystery over the missing Malaysia Airlines flight continues - authorities in Kuala Lumpur have admitted they are not pursuing any leads in the disappearance of the flight, despite a massive search involving ships and planes from 12 countries.

6.30am NATIONAL NEWS: Everyone is talking about the guilty verdict in the Daniel Morcombe case. I cannot believe the unwavering strength of his family, particularly his parents Denise & Bruce. My heart goes out to them & their family. RIP now Daniel.

6.28am TV NEWS: Good news for Game of Thrones fans this morning - the show’s creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss say they plan three more seasons of the epic adventure.

6.26am Anyone who has visited the US/Europe knows the wonder that is H&M. Well, yesterday the international mega-brand announced it's opening its first Aussie store on ... drum roll please ... April 5. The store will open in Melbourne's GPO building.

6.24am A bit of a trip down memory lane this morning - apparently, the first cell phone went on sale 30 years ago today.

6.22am TRAIN ALERT: Services are returning to normal on the Southern Highlands line.

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

6.18am LOCAL NEWS: There's been a lot of talk about the "bum tree" but what about the "boob tree"? Albion Park's residents were thankful their boob tree was still holding up.

6.17am Yesterday we told you about the controversial "thigh gap" photoshopped by US Target. Well, could Spongebob Squarepants be responsible for creating unrealistic thigh gap aspirations? NB he's a very weird body shape, very boxy.

6.16am TIARA ALERT: The former royal editor of Rupert Murdoch's now defunct British tabloid the News of the World told a court on Thursday the late Princess Diana had given him a directory of royal phone numbers to get back at her then husband Prince Charles.

6.14am Nine News is reporting that Brett Cowan, Daniel Morcombe's killer, could be sentenced as early as today.

6.12am WORLD NEWS: The latest from the Oscar Pistorius trial - graphic images of a bloody and deceased Reeva Steenkamp have accidentally flashed up in a South African court, prompting her accused killer Pistorius to violently throw up in the dock.

6.10am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Miley Cyrus' tongue is being sued. Yep, you read it right. A giant tongue-slide created for her tour has caused some problems - one man has slipped down it & is suing the star.

6.08am Here's the national headlines, courtesy of the SMH:

*The man who killed Daniel Morcombe was a convicted child molester who once lured a neighbour’s six-year-old boy into the bush to brutalise him.

*A record number of NSW children sat for the selective schools placement test on Thursday.

*Independent schools have urged governments to abandon the centrepiece of the Gonski school reforms and reinstate different models for the state, Catholic and independent sectors.

*Manus Island police say they are poised to charge several men with the murder of an asylum seeker killed in a violent confrontation at the island’s detention centre.

6.06am Let's check out the top stories in today's Mercury, shall we?

*It was a day of high emotion as work on removing the iconic ‘‘bum tree’’ on Gerroa Road finally began on Thursday.

*Keiraville, Gwynneville and North Wollongong residents are becoming increasingly frustrated by the number of University of Wollongong students leaving cars parked all day on the suburbs' streets.

*Support workers at Illawarra and Shoalhaven hospitals have been "assaulted, abused and spat on" as they carry out a role usually undertaken by trained security staff. Read more here.

*Activist Roy "Dootch" Kennedy has responded to calls for him to stand down as chairman of the Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council after child sex charges were brought against him.

6.03am If you're just waking up, good morning! Rise & shine to the latest weather & traffic...

WEATHER Man it feels warm! That's because it is - it's already 21 degrees in Bellambi, phew! We're in for a partly cloudy day with a top of 26 degrees.

TRAFFIC All looks good on the region's roads & for the drive to Sydney.

TRAINS There is a good service on the South Coast line but delays on the Southern Highlands line.

6am TGIF Illawarra! We made it to the end of the week! Stay with us this morning for all the latest news & online goss.

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