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

8.52am: That's it for Morning Rush today. Enjoy the rest of your day and make sure you come back tomorrow!

8.48am: Hey Dragons fans, here's something that might cheer you up after Saturday's loss. St George Illawarra are early favourites to lure North Queensland forward Tariq Sims home.

8.44am: Wollongong City Gallery is hosting a retrospective exhibition of Illawarra artist Robert Liddicoat, who passed away in May 2013. The exhibition runs until May 4.

8.38am: If you're afraid of heights, best look away now.

8.35am: If you think your videos of your child are good, then what this special effects dad comes up will put yours to shame.

8.28am: Season 4 of the hugely popular Game of Thrones kicks off tonight on Showtime. But you won't be able to watch it through providers like Quickflix and Apple's iTunes due to an exclusive deal between Foxtel and HBO. Other providers can't offer any episodes of Season 4 until Foxtel has finished screening the entire series.

8.19am: 

8.09am: Aircraft and ships are being diverted to the southern end of the Indian Ocean search region for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in a bid to verify reports of potential black box signals.

8:06am: Here's a touching story that is sure to bring a tear to your eye.  

8.01am:

8am: Are you interested in getting a sneak preview - and a taste - of the Shoalhaven Winter Wine Festival? Then you need to read this story in today's Mercury.

7.56am: You know, Captain America's costume does look an awful lot like the Puerto Rican flag....

7.54am: Wollongong City Council is set to lead the state's 23 mining-affected councils in a stronger stance against coal seam gas mining.

7.48am: Helensburgh-Stanwell Park surf club's Open Women's surfboat team won silver in the Australian Championships. Congratulations!

7.45am: Despite his team getting caned in the penalty count, and on the scoreboard, Dragons coach Steve Price found something to joke about on Saturday night. Find out what it was - and check out our gallery - here.

7.41am: Fancy yourself as a Shakespearean actor? Well you might want to head down to the the Phoenix Theatre in Coniston at 7.30 tonight. They're holding auditions for a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

7.38am: Sometimes being a wildlife photographer can be a risky business.

7.35am: Warilla North Public School marked its 50th anniversary on Saturday and we were there - check out our gallery of the day.

7.33am: Wollongong Eisteddfod is on the hunt for a new home after the City Central Presbyterian Church says it needs the office space it had let the organisation use for 15 years back.

7.25am: Yvonne Downes is launching a book about her great grandfather William Beach, the Illawarra's first world champion. 

7.23am: A toaster for the Star Wars geek in your life. "I am your breakfast, Luke".

7.16am: That truck breakdown at Peakhurst I mentioned earlier in the morning? Well, it's been taken care of - the road is clear. Well as clear as it can be in morning peak hour traffic.

7.15am: Three Chimneys up behind the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre, has become a real hot spot since it opened earlier this year. But they're going to be closed for a week for a bit of an upgrade.

7.10am: Today's Sydney Morning Herald story about  WestConnex Motorway tolls staying for 50 years are incorrect, according to a statement from Acting Roads Minister Gladys Berejiklian. "The story in the Sydney Morning Herald this morning on the M5 West is wrong," she said. "No decision has been made in relation to the M5 West toll."

7.06am: Just in time for the school holidays, the government has announced Opal concession cards for children are now available. However, they can't be used for free school travel - those are due to be issued later this year.

7.03am: A skydiver may have managed to film a falling meteorite which almost hit him. There are some skeptics but it still makes for an interesting story.

6.59am: I'm a real book geek but I'll happily give up on those that don't hold my attention. But as for not finishing a book I love? I don't understand that at all.

6:52am: Here's a lovely story from today's Mercury about Max McLeod, an orphan who, for the first time in 86 years, celebrated his birthday with his family.

6.47am: Anyone else feel like this on a Monday morning?

6.45am: It might have been a wet weekend but that didn't stop plenty of people from attending the Thirroul Seaside and Arts Festival.

Our photographer took plenty of photos of the day, if you were there, check out our gallery and see if you can spot yourself or someone you know.

6.36am: If you're a parent of small children, then these tweets from mums and dads will probably ring very true for you.

6.32am: In rugby league, the West Tigers strong win over Manly yesterday is yet another example of this unpredictable season.

It's so hard to pick a winner in a tipping comp this season. With only the Monday night game to go in this round I've picked just one winner (though one guy in the comp is sitting on 6/7 - don't know how he managed that.

 I reckon I might just pick the winners at random next week. Could hardly do any worse.

6.28am: Here's the national news, courtesy of the Sydney Morning Herald

* Former Prime Minister Paul Keating has blasted as an "atrocity" a draft masterplan for the Royal Botanic Gardens and The Domain

* South-west Sydney motorists will be hit with tolls for almost 50 years under plans to pay for the WestConnex motorway through Sydney’s inner west

* The NSW Police Force has been branded a serial offender for workplace safety breaches.

* Changes to the Racial Discrimination Act proposed by Attorney-General George Brandis would "open the door to Holocaust deniers", allowing them to publish their claims with impunity, legal advice to Barry O’Farrell says.

*Bill Shorten has declared that a raft of painful party reforms are just the start of a campaign to modernise Labor after its support reached a nadir in the WA Senate election.

6.24am: There's a bit of happy news about Newcastle Knights player Alex McKinnon, who broke his neck two weeks ago. He and girlfriend Teigan Power are engaged. And he plans to walk her down the aisle

6.18am: Here are some of this morning's news stories from the Mercury

* Police are calling for witnesses to an incident at Primbee over the weekendwhere are group of teens allegedly threw a rock at a car.

* Kiama MP Gareth Ward has come out against Shellharbour City Council's controversial City Hub project.

* Wollongong City Council set to approve construction for the next stage of the Shone Avenue upgrade which will improve access to the West Dapto area.

The developer who wants to build a factory oulet at Kembla Grange isn't pleased with Wollongong City Council officers, who have recommended against the proposal.

6.10am: According to the Bureau of Meteorology, we can expect a bit of a dreary day today. The BOM is predicting a cloudy day with showers here and there for the morning and some wind about. Maximum temperature? Well, that's just 23 degrees.

6.07am: As far as traffic goes, it's looking like a pretty decent run up the road to Sydney. But there are a few minor issues around the traps. If you're out Kangaroo Valley way there are reports of a fallen tree on Moss Vale Road.

And if the trip to work takes you through Peakhurst, there is a truck broken down on Forest Road, near Boundary Road. It's blocked a lane of traffic but hopefully they'll get it cleared away soon.

6.03am: TrainLink is reporting that there is good service on the South Coast line this morning.

6am Good morning, I'm Glen Humphries and I'm filling in as host of Morning Rush today for Emma. Hope you set your clocks back yesterday, otherwise you might find yourself rocking up to work an hour early this morning.

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