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

8.46am That's it from us this morning. Tune in tomorrow for the hump day edition of the Rush. Have a great Tuesday!

8.43am CELEB NEWS: Hollywood actor Chris Pinehas been disqualified from holding a licence after pleading guilty yesterday to drink-driving in New Zealand.

8.40am Young Frankenstein kicks off at the Arcadian's Miners Lamp theatre this weekend. It's a great show, don't miss out! Book tix through the Arcos website.

8.36am WORLD NEWS: United States Navy commandos seized a diverted oil tanker in the Mediterranean waters southeast of Cyprus yesterday morning, thwarting an attempt by a breakaway Libyan militia to sell its contents on the black market, the Pentagon said. (SMH)

8.34am A little bit of history for you - today in 1910, Harry Houdini, made Australia's first officially recorded controlled, powered flight of an aircraft.

8.32am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Want to smell like Sofia Vergara? Well, now you can, hurrah! She's released a new perfume.

8.30am LOCAL SPORT: The season is yet to officially begin, but that hasn't stopped the Illawarra Stingrays from sending out an ominous warning to their rivals. The 2013 league runners-up were extremely dangerous in attack as they claimed the preseason cup on Sunday with a 3-1 win over Sydney University.

8.28am The hilarious animal posts are flying this morning! This time, cats. You know I can't resist! I'm weak, I tell you, weak!

8.26am A shout-out to Merc Sports Editor Tim Barrow and his wife Emma who shaved their heads yesterday for charity. Well done guys! A wonderful act for a great cause.

8.24am POLITICS: Two public servants were given just two days to assess and cost a two-year home insulation program for more than two million Australian households, an inquiry has heard. Read more about the BATTS inquiry here.

8.22am LOCAL NEWS: A bodyboarder was airlifted to St George Hospital yesterday after being injured in a collision with a dolphin near Ulladulla. Yes, a collision with a dolphin.

8.20am A little Tuesday funny for you. Enjoy.

8.18am BREAKING LOCAL NEWS: A memorial is being held at the site of the iconic Bum Tree this morning.

8.16am TRAIN ALERT: Services on the South Coast Line are now running normally after a train with mechanical issues at Berry earlier.

8.15am TRAFFIC ALERT - Bulli & UOW: I'm hearing reports of two accidents on Bulli Pass & another one on University Ave southbound, near the campus. Be careful out there y'all & leave PLENTY of extra travel time.

8.14am MOVIE NEWS: Angelina Jolie has admitted she went a bit "nutso" while filming Maleficent - apparently, she took the costume home & wore it around the house while screaming at bushes. Hmmm....

8.12am SPORT: Former Australian fast bowler Mike Whitney has described Michael Clarke's effort to defy the pain of a fractured shoulder, battered forearm and throbbing jawline to score his unconquered 161 against South Africa earlier this month as not only "heroic" but a "poignant" moment in the Test skipper's career.

8.10am The Great Illawarra Walk is on this weekend. Good luck to all involved - it's a great cause.

8.08am TRAFFIC ALERT - BULLI: breakdown impacting northbound traffic on Bulli Pass. Significant delays expected.

8.07am A shout-out to our reporter Gemma Khaicy who is at cadet camp this week! Hope you're enjoying it Gem :)

8.06am I love a little bit of luxury - but $2500 a night to stay in Gianni Versace's mansion might be stretching the friendship a tad. Although it does look very nice...

8.04am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Kate Moss has a sister. And, not surprisingly, she is equally gorgeous. Lottie Moss is making waves in the fashion world - check her out below.

8.02am MOVIE NEWS: Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o has become the latest big name to be linked to the upcoming Star Wars movie after meeting director J J Abrams.The 12 Years A Slave star met with Abrams to discuss a possible role in the film just before the Academy Awards, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

8am This video of Sophie, the English bulldog puppy, rolling down a hill has made my life. I'm literally sniggering at my desk. Too funny.

7.58am LOCAL NEWS: A new $39 million railway station that will replace the existing Dunmore station is on track to open at the end of the year, but a decision on its name seems as distant as ever.

7.56am We've had snakes on a plane, why not goats on a trampoline? Enjoy.

7.54am Our friends over at i98FM are chatting with David Hasselhoff's daughter after 8am.

7.53am Good morning! Hello! Welcome if you're just joining us. Let's have a look at the latest weather & transport deets for this Tuesday morning.

WEATHER Looks like it's going to be a glorious day! Mostly sunny with a top of 27 degrees, perfection. Right now, it's 12 at Albion Park & 20 in Bellambi.

TRAFFIC Everything looks fine on the region's roads. There is a two-car accident at San Souci (Rocky Point Rd @ Alice St) - exercise caution. Otherwise, all okay.

TRAINS The South Coast Line is partially closed between Bomaderry and Kiama due to a train requiring mechanical repairs at Berry. Buses are replacing trains between Bomaderry and Kiama. Passengers are advised to allow additional travel time.

7.50am MOVIE NEWS: Veronica Mars fans are cranky - fans dug deep to help fund a film of the hit TV show, in exchange for a promise they would be given a copy of the movie. Well, they've been provided a copy - but it's more complicated than a visit to the Bermuda Triangle to watch. Read more here.

7.48am Popular Wollongong eatery Sandygoodwich is celebrating its second anniversary - congrats guys! Pop in for a coffee & a delicious sanga and say hi.

7.46am This is awesome - a school choir in Detroit in the US has covered Pharrell William's Happy - and it's so good. Watch this if you need an instant lift!

happy

7.44am BREAKING WORLD NEWS: The United States, working in coordination with Europe, has imposed a new round of sanctions on prominent Russian officials as the showdown over Ukraine reaches a new stage of confrontation between East and West. Read more here.

7.42am SPORT: Major league baseball hits the SCG this Thursday & Friday. That's really cool - I'd love to watch baseball!

7.40am LOCAL NEWS: Investigators from the Australian Sports Rotorcraft Association believe weather may have been a factor in Sunday’s fatal gyrocopter crash at Nowra.

7.38am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Can you believe Rob Lowe turns 50 today? Wow, he looks great! Happy Birthday to everyone else celebrating March 18 birthdays.

7.36am Want to play "anywhere but here?" Here's some inspiration. Sigh...

7.34am BREAKING: Police will continue digging up a rural Queensland property, hunting for the bodies of babies believed buried there. Police believe a number of children were born in secret at the property near Gin Gin, in the state’s southeast, more than a decade ago. Forensic and other officers spent Monday digging up part of the property looking for human remains.That work is expected to continue in coming days. (AAP)

7.32am Are you planning on watching The Face? It's kind of like Australia's Next Top Model meets the Apprentice with Naomi Campbell involved. Intrigued? Check it out on Foxtel.

7.30am NATIONAL NEWS: More than 50 residential, commercial and industrial properties will be swallowed up to make way for the new motorway tunnel linking the M2 and M1 in northern Sydney.

7.28am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Ruby Rose is engaged! The Australian DJ / model / celebrity took to Twitter to announce her engagement to fashion designer Phoebe Dahl aka Roald Dahl‘s granddaughter. (Mamamia)

7.26am So apparently, there are mum-to-be-zillas out there. Mamamia is reporting that a woman sent poems to guests at her baby shower, demanding they get her better gifts. Ouch.

7.24am LOCAL SPORT: Injured Dragons fullback Josh Dugan has hinted at an early return for the round four clash against Brisbane in Wollongong.

7.22am Are you a child of the 90s? Then you'll love these TV shows/the trip down memory lane - who could forget Agro or the Ferals? Too good.

7.18am This cracked me up this morning - I hate that "seen" function on Facebook. Sometimes I read things & then write back later but I look like I'm a bad person if I don't write back straight away. #firstworldproblems.

7.16am MUSIC NEWS: If you missed it yesterday, the Rolling Stones are in town - the guys touched down in Perth yesterday to kick off their "14 On Fire" tour across Australia. NB But the future of the tour is now in limbo, given the tragic death of frontman Mick Jagger's girlfriend this morning. Watch this space.

7.14am Have you been snapped out & about? Check out our gallery of social pics here - you never know who you might spot!?

7.12am (SCARY) WORLD NEWS: Forget crystal meth. The pseudo-religious Knights Templar drug cartel in western Mexico has diversified to the point that drug trafficking doesn't even rank among its top sources of incomeThe cartel counts illegal mining, logging and extortion as its biggest moneymakers.

7.10am This is a picture of a bunny rabbit wearing a pancake as a hat. I don't know why. I don't care. It's adorable!

7.08am MUSIC NEWS: Pop star Lady Gaga stunned her father when she told him she was broke after pouring her millions into the stage set for her 2009 Monster Ball world tour. The singer says she put her $US3 million ($A3.36 million) savings into the design. NB don't stress - she made it back - and then some.

7.06am BREAKING: Nine News is reporting that Australia is now in command of the hunt for the missing Malaysian Airlines plane.

7.04am LOCAL NEWS: Illawarra seniors showed off their dancing moves for a good cause yesterday. The seniors were taking part in the UnitingCare's Big Move event at Unanderra. Check out some great pics from snapper Andy Zakeli here.

7.02am Have you bought your tickets for Legally Blonde yet? The musical is coming to the WEC in July - nearly 300 seats have already been sold! Don't miss out - head to Ticketek to book today.

7am Struggling to get out of bed? Need an excuse to chuck a sickie? Try this one...

6.58am WORLD NEWS: British celebrity chef Clarissa Dickson Wright, best known as one half of the eccentric television culinary duo Two Fat Ladies, has died at the age of 66, her agents said on Monday.

6.56am STRANGE BUT TRUE: A New York performance artists has iced a cake on a train & served it to her fellow passengers. As you do.

6.54am Looking for something to do tonight? Why not head to a free public talk on creating sustainable and healthy cities by Henriette Vamberg, Head of Cities, with Gehl Architects, Copenhagen. It's on at the Wollongong Town Hall from 7.30pm. Entry is free.

6.52am Good morning! Hello! Welcome if you're just joining us. Let's have a look at the latest weather & transport deets for this Tuesday morning.

WEATHER Looks like it's going to be a glorious day! Mostly sunny with a top of 27 degrees, perfection. Right now, it's 11 at Albion park & 19 in Bellambi.

TRAFFIC Everything looks fine on the region's roads & for the run to Sydney.

TRAINS The South Coast Line is partially closed between Bomaderry and Kiama due to a train requiring mechanical repairs at Berry. Buses are replacing trains between Bomaderry and Kiama. Passengers are advised to allow additional travel time.

6.50am WORLD NEWS: The Oscar Pistorius trial has continued. The court heard yesterday that Pistorius was in the process of buying six guns at the time he shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, with a revolver marketed as “the world’s most powerful handgun” on top of his list.

6.48am Wicked is back in Oz (oops, I mean Aus). That's right, the hit musical is set to re-open in Melbourne before heading to Sydney. Lucy Durack is back as Glinda. Can't wait!

6.46am Have you ever eaten from one of Sydney's popular food trucks? I'm actually yet to try anything but I'm a big fan of a good food truck - yum. Anywho, the city is getting more trucks - they're set to expand from nine to 50. Wow!

6.44am MUSIC NEWS: Word on the street is that Lorde was asked to be Katy Perry's support act during her upcoming tour. Awkward. She quickly ditched that for a solo tour!

6.42am Jamberoo Action Park is hosting a giant Easter egg hunt on April 20. Yes, who doesn't love a good Easter egg hunt - and such a great location for it!

6.40am CELEB GOSS ALERT: So Miley got another tattoo - and it's on her inner lip. Ouch!

6.38am LOCAL SPORT: It's do or die for our Hawks on Friday night. Please get along and support the boys - it would be great to see them win! Go Hawks go!

6.36am Science is cool. That's it. Actually no, wait, I have more to tell you - scientists have found a 1600-year-old moss plant buried under ice. WHAT!?

6.34am Apparently there was quite the house party in Keiraville last night - 300+ people & guests on the roof. Do you know more? Email us at cos@illawarramercury.com.au

6.32am LOCAL NEWS: A last minute, spur-of-the-moment snap has landed Illawarra photographer William Patino a place in one of the world's most prestigious museums. NB His work is stunning - check it out here.

6.30am Can you believe it's been nearly a month since the Stack came down!? If you're feeling nostalgic for a good demolition, this hilarious video should fill the void. Thanks to the Merc snappers for the post!

6.28am A little inspiration to get you out of bed this morning & facing the day ahead.

6.26am NATIONAL: I know I'm a couple of days late but I have to comment about Sunday's 60 Minutes episode focusing on catching Daniel Morcombe's killer. The interviews with his first victim and former girlfriend were just harrowing. Heartbreaking stuff, especially watching his poor parents. My heart goes out to them.

6.24am TIARA ALERT: Yesterday was St Patricks Day -  and even the royals celebrated. Kate Middleton popped on a gorgeous all-green ensemble to mark the occasion. I wonder if she had a Guiness too...

6.22am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Connor Cruise (son of Tom Cruise & Nicole Kidman) has hit out at rumours he & mum are estranged. He's told reporters their relationship is just fine. Though it's been years since they've been photographed together, Connor says he loves Ms Kidman and that they're on great terms! So there haters!

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

6.18am Did you watch MKR last night? *SPOILER ALERT* the black aprons had to cook eggs or chicken. Harry & Christo made a laksa that was lacklustre (see what I did there !?) while the well-travelled friends made some dodgy looking eggs. Anywho, they had to cook off against each other & Harry & Christo ended up going to elimination. So it's the boys v the twins tonight.

6.16am Comic Gong is on! If you love comics & superheroes, you won't want to miss this great event on May 17. Keep up-to-date with all the latest news from the event here.

6.14am POLITICS: Voters have a clear message for the Coalition as it looks to curtail spending in its first budget: don't do it if it could harm jobs growth. Read more here.

6.12am BREAKING: An earthquake has rocked LA this morning - it was initially measured at a 4.7 magnitude, but was "downgraded" a few minutes later by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to only 4.4. NB It was enough to scare this news anchor - watch below.

6.10am WORLD NEWS: The co-pilot of the missing Malaysian jetliner, Fariq Abdul Hamid, spoke the last words heard from the cockpit, the airline's chief executive said on Monday, as investigators consider suicide by the captain or first officer as one possible explanation for the plane's disappearance.

6.08am CELEB NEWS: Mick Jagger's girlfriend L'Wren Scott has been found dead of an apparent suicide this morning.

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

*ICAC has heard Labor and Liberal figures including Assistant Treasurer Arthur Sinodinos stood to make tens of millions of dollars from a company linked to the family of Eddie Obeid.

*A submission to the national curriculum review says final years of school are too often a ‘‘game to secure the highest scores’’, narrowing the curriculum and discouraging students from studying the subjects they love.

*The government plans to introduce legislation aimed at neutering parts of Labor’s finance advice reforms tomorrow under the cover of the PM’s statement on red-tape reduction.

*ACBC president Duncan Calder says Chinese investors have helped to boost the supply of Australian houses without making it harder for first-home buyers.

6.04am Here's the top stories in today's Mercury:

*Putting hospital support staff in charge of volatile patients is not fair to either party, according to clinical and forensic psychologist Dr Mitchell Byrne.

*A Dapto doctor accused of sexually assaulting a patient called her for weeks after the alleged incident and later asked to keep it secret because it could get him "in trouble", a court has heard.

*Wollongong ratepayers are being slugged millions of dollars each year because of increasing demands from state and federal governments.

*Bradley Rawlinson sent Katie Foreman love-filled text messages saying he wanted to start a family together at the same time he was telling his secret lover Wendy Evans that he wanted Ms Foreman "gone" from his life, a court has heard.

6.02am Let's have a look at the latest weather & transport deets for this Tuesday morning.

WEATHER Looks like it's going to be a glorious day! Mostly sunny with a top of 27 degrees, perfection. Right now, it's 11 at Albion park & 19 in Bellambi.

TRAFFIC Everything looks fine on the region's roads & for the run to Sydney.

TRAINS The South Coast Line is partially closed between Bomaderry and Kiama due to a train requiring mechanical repairs at Berry. Buses are replacing trains between Bomaderry and Kiama. Passengers are advised to allow additional travel time.

6am Good morning & happy Tuesday! Hope you're week is off to a great start. Stay with your host Emma Spillett this morning for all the latest news & online buzz.

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