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

8.45am That's it from us this morning! Tune in tomorrow for the TGIF edition of the Rush. Ta-ta.

8.42am So, I don't like new Facebook. It's ugly and I can't find anything and I don't like change. Rant over.

8.40am Legally Blonde is coming! MoonGlow Productions is set to stage the musical for the first time in Wollongong on July 4-5 @ the WIN Entertainment Centre. Tickets are on sale now - get in quick!

8.34am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Grumpy Cat (well he is a celeb) celebrated St Patricks Day in traditional grumpy style. Too funny.

8.30am BREAKING NATIONAL NEWS: A 64-year-old woman is in an induced coma after being hit by a car that rolled down a street in Sydney’s inner west. Police say the accident occurred on St Marys Street in Balmain East just before 6pm yesterday when a woman in her Suzuki sedan released the handbrake to allow the car to roll forward on Pearson Street. However, the car picked up speed and allegedly failed to stop, despite the driver trying to apply the brakes.The car mounted a pavement and hit the pedestrian. (AAP)

8.28am LOCAL NEWS: A police dog has assisted in the arrest of a man in bush at Port Kembla on Wednesday. Read more here.

8.26am This is peace cake - gimme a peace. How do you even make this?! I don't care, it just looks so tasty.

8.24am SPORT: Canterbury CEO Raelene Castle says the club can re-sign captain Michael Ennis and still remain under the salary cap without shedding any star players. The Bulldogs have announced a slew of signings and re-signings, most notably the addition of Cronulla prop Andrew Fifita on a four-year contract.

8.22am STRANGE BUT TRUE: A very rare and endangered female crocodile has died of suffocation in a Dutch zoo during attempted mating with a "dominant" male partner, the zoo says.

8.20am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Oprah is creating her own tea blend for Starbucks. Anyone for an OprahChai? Mmmm delish.

8.18am Let's face it, we all love food. And phones. So what about food apps on phones? There are some great games all about food for your phone - think Little Big Restaurant (hours of entertainment) and Burger Shop. NB I have lost hours of my life to Burger Shop & have a new-found respect for McDonalds staff.

8.16am Young Frankenstein opens at Arcadians tomorrow night. Chookas to all involved, especially director Lisa Thrift. It's a GREAT show - grab your tickets ASAP!

8.14am The Colour Run is coming to Wollongong on May 4. Entries are 10 per cent off today to celebrate the day of happy! Get in quick & book. It looks really fun!

8.12am WORLD NEWS: Central powers in Kiev threatened Crimean authorities with reprisals of a "technical" nature yesterday if "provocations" against Ukrainian troops on the peninsula continued, after Russian troops seized control of Ukraine's Crimean naval base and raised the Russian flag.

8.10am There is $10 million up for grabs on tonight's Powerball - get your tickets ASAP! NB Did you see that couple in the UK win 170 million pounds? Not fair, they should share. With me.

8.08am So I love to follow celebrities on Instagram, it's my secret shame. Well not so secret now! Here's a pic of Lily from Modern Family with a cookie - I love her, so cute!

8.06am LOCAL NEWS: Shellharbour councillor Kellie Marsh believes Mayor Marianne Saliba should stand down from the Joint Regional Planning Panel when the council’s City Hub project is due to be determined.

8.04am Haha awww - this dog & baby are in the naughty corner. Can any cranky parents relate!?

8.02am NATIONAL NEWS: David Jones has strengthened its defence against a nil-premium merger offer from Myer by delivering its strongest department store profit growth since the McInnes era and opening the door to the sale or development of its property portfolio.

8am Some clever sod has created a gallery of Disney Princes as Princesses. So damn smart. Check it out here.

7.56am Apparently today is the International Day of Happiness. Yay!

7.54am TV NEWS: Glee celebrated its 100th episode in the US last night. Congrats to the cast - they've had a rough trot over the past few months.

7.52am Rise & shine! Good morning if you're just tuning in - let's have a look at the latest weather & traffic.

WEATHER We're in for another partly cloudy day with a top of 24 degrees. There could be some isolated showers & the chance of a thunderstorm this morning. Right now, it's WARM - it's 19 in Albion Park & 22 in Bellambi. Where is autumn!?

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

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

7.50am LOCAL NEWS: Police investigating the death of Wollongong solicitor Katie Foreman secretly recorded three of her alleged killers discussing the story they would peddle if they were questioned, a court has heard.

7.48am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria is in town and she is gorgeous. Here she is with staff from Aus Marie Clare mag, who have made a good point - how do I get skin like her?! Stunning!

7.46am The Berkeley Community Forum will be held at the Berkeley Community Hall today from 3.45pm until 6pm. For more information, contact Berkeley Neighbourhood Centre on 4271 1661.

7.44am It's time for today's game of "anywhere but here" - today it's beachside in Santorini getting a massage. Arrrr....

7.42am BREAKING WORLD NEWS: Eyewitness reports of a possible sighting of missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 flying near the Maldives have been officially discounted in a statement issued by the Maldives National Defence Force.

7.40am The Purple Sneaker DJs are playing at the Unibar tonight. It's free, pop along. On the other side of town, the Hotel Illawarra is hosting its Comic Book Heroes & Villains party tonight.

7.38am I want an otter. That is all.

7.36am So I'm going to several weddings in the coming months & apparently there are dos/don'ts to being a good guest. Don't vent about the wedding on social media (#duh!) and NEVER send out a picture of the bride before she walks down the aisle. Here's some other handy tips.

7.34am Seacliff Restaurant is holding its How to Host a Murder party this Friday night. Sounds like fun! Contact them for more info.

7.33am NATIONAL NEWS: A father who was given good behaviour bonds for repeatedly raping his young daughter will go to jail for at least three years after an appeals court found the original sentences "were erroneously lenient and manifestly inadequate".

7.32am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Good work California - you've successfully managed to get rid of Justin Bieber. Well, for now. He's moved to Atlanta for some "time out."

7.30am Have you entered the Merc’s footy tipping comp? It’s not too late to sign up - even if it’s purely for bragging rights.

7.28am Some people are scary talented - this guy has recorded Avicii's hit song Wake Me Up acapella, using just his mouth to play all the instruments. Wha!? Insane.

avici

7.26am STRANGE BUT TRUE: A Tibetan mastiff puppy has been sold in China for more than $2 million in what could be the most expensive dog sale ever. Really? $2 million for A DOG?! Wowee.

7.24am Taylor Henderson (X-factor runner up) is performing at Westfield Warrawong this Saturday from 12pm. Customers who purchase his CD from the JB HiFi stand will go in the draw to win a VIP meet and greet and prime viewing location of the performance. NB I really like this kidHis song is extremely catchy.

7.22am LOCAL NEWS: The university students who hosted an out-of-control St Patrick’s Day party in Keiraville have received a final warning against hosting any such events in future or their lease will be terminated.

7.20am MUSIC NEWS: Keith Urban is touring! He's coming down under in June - have you got your tickets yet?

7.18am The best beaches in the world have been revealed - and QLD's Whitehaven Beach has been named the best in Aus. NB Good call - it's a GORGEOUS beach. Check 'em all out here.

7.16am Miranda Kerr is at it again - she's the new face of H&M and she's in a very strange ad where she takes a lot of selfies in different outfits. Sounds like an average day in my life really.

7.14am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Kanye West has been ordered to complete 24 sessions of anger management.

7.13am Don't forget we're crossing to Pulse 94.1Fm every hour with the latest from the Rush.

7.10am LOCAL SPORT: Don't miss Merc guys Tim Barrow & Adam Pengilly chatting about the Dragons in the latest Kick-Off video. Watch it here.

7.08am POLITICS: There have been three apparent suicide attempts on Manus Island, as detainees continue to protest against poor conditions at the offshore detention centre and the lack of progress in processing their asylum claims. 

7.06am CELEB GOSS ALERT: George Clooney has a new GF. Her name is Amal Alamuddin - and she's very pretty. The pair just got back from a trip to Seychelles. Urgh, jealous!

7.04am We're launching a new page on April 15 called Kid’s Corner. Send in pics of your little cherubs & we’ll print them - email kidscorner@fairfaxmedia.com.au for more info.

7.02am How do people come up with these funny memes? This one is a CRACKER - Alice in Wonderland fans, take note!

7am STRANGE BUT TRUE: It could have been a scene from a movie: an ambitious thief tackled to the ground after a showdown with a rogue band of male strippersIn fact, it was a tense exchange between the members of the Australian male revue Thunder From Down Under, and an armed robber who had raided their dressing rooms in the Excalibur Hotel, in Las Vegas.

6.58am LOCAL NEWS: A doctor accused of sexually assaulting a patient during an appointment at Dapto Medical Centre could have had no professional reason for rubbing the woman’s clitoris, an expert witness has told Wollongong District Court.

6.56am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Lindsay Lohan's list just keeps getting bigger - hello Ashton Kutcher, Ryan Phillipe & Benicio Del Toro.

6.54am Rise & shine! Welcome if you're just tuning in - let's have a look at the latest weather & traffic.

WEATHER We're in for another partly cloudy day with a top of 24 degrees. There could be some isolated showers & the chance of a thunderstorm this morning. Right now, it's WARM - it's 19 in Albion Park & 22 in Bellambi. Where is autumn!?

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

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

6.52am Check out this amazing pic of a seal on a rescue vessel at Port Kembla. Wow.

6.50am TV NEWS: Paula Abdul is making a surprise cameo on Neighbours as a potential love interest for Dr Karl, who reveals he has a long-term crush on the diminutive dance queen. (SMH)

6.48am BREAKING NATIONAL NEWS: Channel Nine is reporting that the QLD Attorney-General will appeal Brett Cowan's sentence for killing Daniel Morcombe, stating the non-parole period was "not in line with community expectations."

6.47am This is a picture of a dog dressed up as Carmen Miranda. I know. Thank me later.

6.46am SPORT: Wimbledon champion Andy Murray has split with coach Ivan Lendl after two years, the British world number six said yesterday. A statement on his Twitter account said the pair had mutually agreed to end a partnership that led Murray to win two grand slam titles, and a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics.

6.44am The Great Illawarra Walk has already raised more than $50,000 to buy new baby monitors for the neonatal ward at Wollongong Hospital. Wow, great work people of the region!

6.42am Caffeine lovers will enjoy this - who else can relate!? I've had a similar experience from a VERY strong black coffee.

6.40am LOCAL NEWS: A Roads and Maritime Services report has identified four danger spots for fatal crashes along Appin Road. Read more here.

6.38am Dolphin Watch Cruises at Jervis Bay spotted this baby dolphin yesterday - and they say he's quite unusual. He's close to three-months-old & still a unique shade of pale grey. Aww. SO CUTE! NB Given the "collision" between the dolphin & surfer last week, I am now suss of these creatures.

6.36am WORLD NEWS: We've got the latest on the Oscar Pistorius murder trial  - it's nearing a dramatic conclusion with prosecutors foreshadowing closing their case early next week, with the Paralympic champion expected to testify in his own defence immediately afterward.

6.34am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Megan Gale is sporting quite the baby bump now - but how good does she look, seriously!? So not fair.

6.32am STRANGE BUT TRUE: Channel Nine is reporting that an image of a cockatoo has been spotted in a 15th century Italian painting. Hmm, um, okay, I thought they were native - mainly in AUS!? How the heck did they get to Italy?!

6.30am LOCAL SPORT: Our Hawks are in a do or die battle against the Sydney Kings tomorrow night. Grab your tickets ASAP and support the boys! C'mon you Hawks!

6.28am Good lord this looks good. Wollongong small bar His Boy Elroy is launching a double cheeseburger next week - cheese, gherkin, onion & T-sauce. Get in my mouth.

6.26am It’s Sensational Sunday this Sunday, March 23 and the Kembla Grange Turf Club is giving away a car! That’s pretty cool. Grab your coupon in the Merc to win. We’ll also have a two-page race-day lift-out in Saturday’s paper & more info in Monday’s paper.

6.25am NATIONAL NEWS: A five-year-old boy died days after cutting his foot on rubbish in his family's filth-ridden Melbourne home after his parents failed to take him to a doctor, according to court documents. NB The pictures of the squalid home have to be seen to be believed. Check them out here.

6.24am Did you see some smoke overhead yesterday? Don't stress - the firies have been backburning near Robertson - that's probably where it's coming from.

6.20am WORLD NEWS: The saga of the missing Malaysian Airlines plane continues - investigators revealed they are trying to recover data deleted from a flight simulator custom-built by the senior pilot of the missing flight, as tempers flared outside a daily media briefing on the disappearance.

6.18am OMG. This is a baby camel. Awwww, I want, I want, I want.

6.17am LOCAL NEWS: The dire housing affordability crisis in the Illawarra will be discussed by key industry experts at a forum in Wollongong today.

6.14am TV NEWS: Could Keeping Up with the Kardashians be kanceled (hehe)? Um no. Despite many of the show's cast members moving on & doing different things, it's still going strong. Fans, breathe a sigh of relief.

6.12am It's national Puppy Day on Sunday, awww. It's never too late to give your dog a hug & tell it you care.

6.10am WORLD NEWS: Big news in the Madeleine McCann case - British detectives investigating her disappearance are looking for a lone intruder who sexually abused five girls during break-ins at holiday homes in Portugal.

6.08am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Gisele Bundchen and hubby Tom Brady are selling their LA pad - it only took five years & $40 million to build. Any takers?

6.06am Let's see what's around nationally, courtesy of the SMH

*Tony Abbott’s six-month-old government has been plunged into its first ministerial crisis, after Arthur Sinodinos fell on his sword, becoming the first victim of a widening corruption investigation by ICAC.

*According to Queensland researchers, rising caesarean rates are driven by doctors - not women - and almost one in 10 patients are not consulted about the risks and consequences of the surgery.

*The O’Farrell government will not rule out selling millions of dollars worth of public housing at prime sites in inner Sydney after a decision to force out tenants in 300 harbourside properties.

*The federal government says financial planners will be able to break the financial advice law with impunity unless a client takes private action.

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

*South Coast rail commuters will be able to tap on and off with the Opal card from April 4.

*NSW government policies including the bedroom tax are designed to get more money out of public housing tenants who can ill afford it, an Illawarra tenants advocacy group claims.

*The union representing retail workers says the state government plans to introduce Boxing Day trading in regional cities including Wollongong and use it as a ‘‘wedge’’ to eventually allow businesses to open on days including Easter.

*Roy ‘‘Dootch’’ Kennedy has stepped down as chairman of the Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council, after child sex charges were brought against him

6.02am If you're just waking up, good morning sleepy head! Let's have a look at the latest weather & traffic.

WEATHER We're in for another partly cloudy day with a top of 24 degrees. There could be some isolated showers & the chance of a thunderstorm this morning. Right now, it's WARM - it's 20 in Albion Park & 22 in Bellambi. Where is autumn!?

TRAFFIC Everything looks okay on the road. There is some flooding @ Robertson (Illawarra Hwy near Jamberoo Mountain Rd) so be careful there. All is clear for the run to Sydney.

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

6am Good morning! It's Thursday - and it feels very sticky out there. Stay with us this morning for all the latest news etc - we've got heaps!

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