Morning Rush: news, sport, weather, traffic

8.40am HAPPY FRIDAY

Morning rushers, I have just had word that a hot skim flat white is about to be delivered to my office. Coffee calls. 

Have a fantastic weekend and see you back here at 6am Monday.

8.38am NSW NEWS

Big exclusive from the Herald today, on job cuts from the NSW Government.

8.35am NRL

The Broncos are on their way down to Wollongong for tonight's game against the Dragons,

8.31am OVERHEARD AT THE ICAC HEARINGS

Fantastic response from former premier Kristina Keneally:

''Jesus, Mary and Joseph!'' former premier Kristina Keneally said from the witness box. ''The powder room! Are you serious?''

Barrister Ian Pike, SC, who is representing former minister Joe Tripodi, had just asked Mrs Keneally whether she had a crucial conversation with Mr Tripodi in her office ''powder room''.

8.29am TRAFFIC UPDATE

8.26am LOCAL NEWS

Here are some of today's Mercury headlines:

- The 2517 postcode - Woonona, Woonona East and Russell Vale - has the second highest childhood immunisation rates in the country, according to a new report.

- A two-year-old boy allegedly murdered by his mother likely had a perforated stomach when he died, indicating blunt trauma, a medical expert has told Wollongong Local Court.

- Throsby MP Stephen Jones has condemned the government's decision to sell off Medibank Private, claiming the move will divert up to $500 million in annual dividends from the public purse.

- Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery has conceded the council could have done more to limit the threat from flooding on Kembla Street in Wollongong, where properties were inundated by sewage on Monday night.

8.23am FRIDAY MARKET DAY

The Crown Street Mall farmers markets are on in town today, and I can see from the lovely bunch on of our reporters has brought to work that there are beautiful giant sunflowers for sale up there.

8.18am 

No make-up selfies have died off a little in the past few days, at least on my social media feeds. But there's been a lot of talk the effectiveness of the campaign.

Mercury reporter Gemma Khaicy tweeted this link, with an interesting perspective:

8.16am SPORT

It’s going to be a a massive weekend for Illawarra sports fans - with the Dragons, the Illawarra Cutters, Wollongong Hawks and South Coast Wolves playing at the WEC and WIN Stadium. 

Have you got your tickets?

The fun starts tonight at 8.00pm when the Dragons take on the Broncos.

8.11am

This ad by Snickers is just great.

8.08am LOCAL NEWS

Well done Illawarra parents, this region has higher than average immunisation rates! Good to see kids getting those life saving jabs.

Health reporter Lisa Wachsmuth has the story:

The 2517 postcode - Woonona, Woonona East and Russell Vale - has the second highest childhood immunisation rates in the country, according to a new report.

The National Health Performance Authority (NHPA) report revealed 98.4 per cent of five-year-olds within this postcode were fully immunised in 2012-13, second only to suburbs in the Goulburn Valley in Victoria, which had 99 per cent coverage.

8.05am NSW NEWS

As the chair of the NSW Parliament's joint committee on electoral matters, Kiama MP Gareth Ward is leading the push for online voting.

A joint parliamentary inquiry has said the so-called iVote system, which allows electors to vote using the internet, should be introduced for all council and state elections.

However, voting experts say the system is open to abuse by hackers and should be used with caution.

The committee's report also recommends making business votes mandatory in Wollongong council elections.

8am WEATHER

Still "a little rain" about today according to the Bureau of Meteorology, and a top of 23 forecast for the region.

It's 21 degrees now in Bellambi, 17 degrees in Albion Park and about 19 degrees in Kiama.

The weekend is looking a little sunnier, with just a morning shower or two forecast from tomorrow and Sunday.

7.54am TRAFFIC UPDATE

Emergency services are reporting that there's a truck broken down near the sand ramp at the bottom of Mt Ousley. Southbound commuters take care.

7.52am A NEW G-G

7.45 EARTH HOUR

Tomorrow night from 8.30-930pm is Earth Hour, the world-wide switch off to campaign for action on global warming.

It started in 2007, in Sydney and now it's held in 7,000 cities, 7 continents and by hundreds of millions of people.

Plus it's fun and kind of romantic to have dinner by candlelight. Do it!

7.43am

Wow, I think the New York Times had me in mind when they wrote this story - just what I've been asking myself all week: when did sleep become such a struggle?

7.39am SPORT NEWS

It's a huge weekend for Illawarra sports fans, with four local games being played in Wollongong - starting with Dragons VS Broncos tonight.

Adam Pengilly talks to former Bronco Gerard Beale about how he's feeling ahead of the match against his old team. 

Wollongong Hawks will play at the WEC on Sunday, and tell Tim Keeble they swear they aren't nursing any psychological bruises from last week's semi-final dress rehearsal with Perth.

7.36am WHAT'S ON THIS WEEKEND

March 28-29 - Dirty Damn Roses, a dance work, is on at the IPAC. Visit their website for more information.

March 28- 0 - final weekend of the Tempest in the Gardens.

March 28 - Eleanor McEvoy + Curragh, 7.30pm, City Diggers Wollongong.

March 28 - Mark Dabin Duo, Blue Diamond Bar, Kiama Sebel 7-10pm.

March 29 - Pearlno ire Duo - The Central Hotel, Memorial Drive Shellharbour 7.30-10.30pm

March 30 - Jess Allen - Jamberoo Pub 1-4pm.

7.30am LOCAL NEWS

Here are some of today's Mercury headlines:

- The 2517 postcode - Woonona, Woonona East and Russell Vale - has the second highest childhood immunisation rates in the country, according to a new report.

- A two-year-old boy allegedly murdered by his mother likely had a perforated stomach when he died, indicating blunt trauma, a medical expert has told Wollongong Local Court.

- Throsby MP Stephen Jones has condemned the government's decision to sell off Medibank Private, claiming the move will divert up to $500 million in annual dividends from the public purse.

Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery has conceded the council could have done more to limit the threat from flooding on Kembla Street in Wollongong, where properties were inundated by sewage on Monday night.

7.24am NSW NEWS

Big news from the Sydney Morning Herald today, that thousands of public service jobs across the state would be slashed under the recommendations of a secret review ordered by Barry O'Farrell into the outsourcing of government services.

The Premier asked the state's pricing regulator to investigate the ''planning, delivery and maintenance'' of all public infrastructure in September, to recommend ''which capabilities should be retained within government''.

The existence of the review has not been made public.

But Fairfax Media can reveal the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal's recommendations would result in thousands of job cuts in just one department - the RMS.

7.13am LOCAL NEWS

Check out this heart-warming gallery of some Corrimal kids giving new inclusive playground Luke's Place a test run.

Illawarra minister John Ajaka will be in town this afternoon to officially open the park to the public.

7.11am INTERNATIONAL NEWS

As new figures reveal the Illawarra has one of the state's highest vaccination rates, the World Health Orginsation has declared South East Asia polio free.

Wonderful vaccination news!

7.05am ROYAL COMMISSION

Cardinal George Pell has been criticised for his statement to John Ellis, where he apologised for "the hurt caused him by the mistakes made, admitted by me and my Archdiocesan personnel".

Members of the public gallery were vocal and upset, as Cardinal Pell could not bring himself to look at the frail, exhausted Ellis, who sat three metres away.

7am It's 7 o'clock and time for a whip around the Weather, traffic and trains.

WEATHER Just "a little rain" around today according to the Bureau of Meteorology, as we head for a mostly clear weekend. Tops of 23 degrees around the region today. Right now it's about 19 degrees.

TRAFFIC Looking pretty clear on Illawarra roads at the moment, just a little residual flooding at Gerringong's Fern Street.

TRAINS And still good service on all train lines too. Smooth commuting today!

6.55am LOCAL NEWS

Here are some more of today's Mercury headlines:

- Throsby MP Stephen Jones has condemned the government's decision to sell off Medibank Private, claiming the move will divert up to $500 million in annual dividends from the public purse.

Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery has conceded the council could have done more to limit the threat from flooding on Kembla Street in Wollongong, where properties were inundated by sewage on Monday night.

6.50am MH370

More objects have been spotted by satellite, as the epic search for the missing plane continues.

6.45 CELEBRITY NEWS

There have been mixed feelings in our office about the Gwyneth/Chris Martin split - with one Merc staffer very sad about it all and another saying 'thank god' that the Coldplay frontman won't have to listen to any more of Gwyneth's holistic health philosophies. 

I don't really care either way what they do with their lives, but I did raise an eyebrow when they announced they were "consciously uncoupling" instead of getting divorced. What now??

6.40am ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

If sport isn't your thing, there's plenty of other activities around the region this weekend, including You Am I frontman Tim Rogers at the Heritage Hotel on Sunday.

6.35am NSW NEWS

As the chair of the NSW Parliament's joint committee on electoral matters, Kiama MP Gareth Ward is leading the push for online voting.

A joint parliamentary inquiry has said the so-called iVote system, which allows electors to vote using the internet, should be introduced for all council and state elections.

However, voting experts say the system is open to abuse by hackers and should be used with caution.

6.30am POLICE NEWS

6.25am Here are the some of the headlines from the print edition of the Sydney Morning Herald today.

Thousands of public service jobs across the state would be slashed under the recommendations of a secret review ordered by Barry O’Farrell into the outsourcing of government services.

- The state government is proposing a radical shake-up of how tens of thousands of parcels of Crown land are managed in NSW.

- According to ACARA, the My School website should be overhauled so the performance of schools cannot be easily converted into league tables.

- Former premier Kristina Keneally told ICAC that ‘‘corruption was thwarted’’ at AWH because ‘‘two women in powerful positions said ’no’’’.

6.20am SPORT NEWS

It's a huge weekend for Illawarra sports fans, with four local games being played in Wollongong - starting with Dragons VS Broncos tonight.

Adam Pengilly talks to former Bronco Gerard Beale about how he's feeling ahead of the match against his old team. 

Wollongong Hawks will play at the WEC on Sunday, and tell Tim Keeble they swear they aren't nursing any psychological bruises from last week's semi-final dress rehearsal with Perth.

6.13am COURT NEWS

WOLLONGONG LOCAL COURT

A two-year-old boy allegedly murdered by his mother likely had a perforated stomach when he died, indicating blunt trauma, a medical expert has told Wollongong Local Court.

The boy's extensive injuries were detailed on Thursday during day two of committal proceedings against the Berkeley woman, who has been committed to stand trial in the Supreme Court for her son's murder.

- Angela Thompson has more.

DARLINGHURST COURTHOUSE

One of the people accused of murdering Wollongong lawyer Katie Foreman by setting her Corrimal home on fire will now have his case heard in a separate trial.

The jury panel presiding over the Foreman trial was told on Thursday afternoon they would no longer be required to determine the case against Bernard Justin Spicer, after a legal issue arose in the current proceedings.

- Report by Shannon Tonkin

6.10am LOCAL NEWS

Well done Illawarra parents, this region has higher than average immunisation rates! Good to see kids getting those life saving jabs.

Health reporter Lisa Wachsmuth has the story:

The 2517 postcode - Woonona, Woonona East and Russell Vale - has the second highest childhood immunisation rates in the country, according to a new report.

The National Health Performance Authority (NHPA) report revealed 98.4 per cent of five-year-olds within this postcode were fully immunised in 2012-13, second only to suburbs in the Goulburn Valley in Victoria, which had 99 per cent coverage.

6.07am TRAFFIC AND TRAINS

Looking pretty clear on Illawarra roads at the moment, just a little residual flooding at Gerringong's Fern Street.

And good service on all train lines too. Smooth commuting today!

6.05am WEATHER

Just "a little rain" around today according to the Bureau of Meteorology, as we head for a mostly clear weekend. Tops of 23 degrees around the region today.

6am Morning all, and welcome to the final day of the working week. 

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop