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

8.53am  That's it from me this morning. Emma Spillett is back tomorrow to Rush with you. Enjoy your Monday!

8.48am RED CARPET NEWS It seems everyone was loving Carrie Bickmore's dress last night. 

8.44am A resurgent housing sector is helping NSW climb towards the top of Australia's economic league ladder, with Commsec, describing NSW as the big improver in its "state of the states" report.

Only minerals-rich Western Australia and the Northern Territory were higher on the ladder. SMH

8.40am Oopsy daisy - Eddie McGuire dropped a very naughty word on live television last night.  SMH

8.36am Keep an eye on your ATM cards if you're in the city - an organised crime gang with links to Eastern Europe is suspected of targeting more than 40 ATMs across Sydney and skimming thousands of dollars from unsuspecting customers. SMH

8.32am TRAFFIC ALERT For those heading towards Sydney this morning, there is an accident on the Princes Highway at Sylvania at Corea Street. The three-vehicle accident is affecting northbound traffic. Emergency services are on the scene.

8.28am Who's excited for tonight's Game of Thrones ep? There was a strong reaction to a certain scene in last week's episode, so it will be interesting to see how the characters interact tonight.

8.24am On this day in 1932, a vaccine for yellow fever was announced for use on humans. In 1945 Benito Mussolini was executed by a firing squad and in 2008 a train collision in China killed 72 people and injured 416 more.

8.20am LOCAL NEWS Two decades ago, Eliza de Vet captured the hearts of Illawarra residents as she battled a crippling neurological condition that forced her head to rest on her shoulder.

Last month, the West Wollongong woman stood tall as she exchanged wedding vows with John Kennedy at an intimate ceremony in Minnamurra.

At the time, the Mercury launched a campaign to raise funds to send Eliza and her parents overseas on a medical pilgrimage, and $150,000 was donated by the community in less than three months. 

8.16am Under a confidential deal being considered by Waverley Council, a hotel developer may be granted airspace rights for a first-floor balcony for about $9000 a year – 10 times cheaper than the cost of leasing the same space on the footpath.

The new 111 square metre balcony where diners can take in sweeping beachfront views over Campbell Parade will be a feature of the Swiss Grand Resort and Spa Hotel when the multimillion-dollar redevelopment. SMH

8.11am RED CARPET NEWS Comedian Josh Thomas may have hit the Logies' red carpet last night, but his beloved pooch John wasn't welcome. 

8.07am LOCAL NEWS Mount Warrigal parents Renee Miller and Jason Cassar can now get their son Joshua to Sydney for cancer treatment in safety thanks to Southern Classic Cars who have loaned them a car.

The 17-month-old boy needs ongoing chemotherapy in his battle against a rare kidney cancer, and the family car has been struggling with the frequent round trips to Sydney Children's Hospital.

Joshua's godmother Courtney Southwell and aunt Kiele Cassar, together with Oak Flats Lions Club, are holding a benefit night on May 16 at Warilla Bowling Club.

8.03am James Franco keeps adding more and more weird things to resume. He has now painted nude pictures of actor Seth Rogen. There's a sentence I never thought I'd write. HUFFINGTON POST

8am If you're just rolling out of bed for coffee, welcome. Also, I am very jealous.

Trains are on time, the roads are looking good and right now it's about 16 degrees across the region. 

And if your kiddies are returning to school today, good luck!

7.56am Legally Blonde is coming! Moonglow Productions is set to stage the musical for the first time in Wollongong on July 4-5 at the WIN Entertainment Centre

7.52am Kiama's BIG4 Easts Beach holiday park has been voted as one of Australia's favourite holiday park destinations.

Victoria's Great Ocean Road Tourist Park was named Australia's most popular holiday park in a national survey of more than 3000 people by holiday parks website Turu.com.au. AAP

7.48am Today is Blueberry Pie Day, International Astronomy Day, and (I've saved the best for last) Cubicle Day. For any workers surrounded by two or three not-quite-there walls, celebrate your cubicle by decorating it with some balloons, or just throw out all those take away coffee cups on your desk.

7.43am Keen for a longer read over your toast? Arif Khan received the national Cultural Understanding Award this month for  community work. He spoke to reporter Gemma Khaicy about how his past helped him understand the troubles many youth, especially refugees, face in Wollongong.

7.38am Shellharbour's Roo Theatre  is putting on a production of Romeo and Juliet. in seven shows between May 2 and May 8.

Tickets are available from roo-theatre.com.au.

7.33am Time for a cute animal - it's goats in coats. Animals are always better in clothes

7.28am LOCAL SPORT NEWS In a case of brotherly love, Brett Morris is stoked his twin brother Josh earned a surprise recall to the Kangaroos squad for the Anzac Test with New Zealand on Friday.

It will be the first time the twins will play together since they starred in Australia's 50-0 romp over Ireland in last year's World Cup.

"As young kids coming through, we dreamed of playing for Australia and we're very lucky to be able to do it," said Brett.

7.24am Matt Lockley, the man who sparked a hijack scare on a Virgin Australia flight in Bali on Friday has been released by Indonesian authorities.

He claimed a panic attack prompted him to bang on the door of the cockpit, which he thought was the toilet.

He will be flown back to Australia today, and Oz authorities will decide whether to take any further action. SMH

7.20am RED CARPET NEWS Is this the perfect post-party present?Guest at Channel 10's Logies afterparty got a box of Krispy Kreme's and a specially made Do Not Disturb sign for their doors.

7.16am So apparently the fabulous wardrobe showcased by the Duchess of Cambridge on her recent Australian tour cost a staggering $53,000. Wowza.

The most expensive items included a $4145 Alexander McQueen dress and a  $2100 Alexander McQueen clutch without its standard skull clasp, while the cheapest included a $53 pair of Zara jeans.

7.12am Today is the 18th anniversary of the Port Arthur Massacre, when Martin Bryant killed 35 people and wounded 23 others.

7.08am The Merc is launching a new page called Kid’s Corner. Send in pics of your little cherubs & we’ll print them - email kidscorner@fairfaxmedia.com.au for more info.

7.04am April 28 babies share their birthday with actress Jessica Alba, talk show host Jay Leno and To Kill A Mockingbird author Harper Lee.

It's 7am, rise and shine. The roads are clear, the trains are on time and right now in Wollongong it's 16.5 degrees.

6.55am Feeling a touch romantic on this cloudy Monday? Have a look at these 11 classic movie kisses - clearly the winner is the Spiderman upside-down one.

6.50am TV NEWS The Australian-themed Modern Family episode has aired in the states - and it's full of cliches. While a good ad for all Australia has to offer, apparently some parts are a bit cringe-worthy, according to this reviewer. SMH

6.46am Looking for something to fill your morning? The Sirens are on at Wollongong Town Hall today 11am. Tickets are $24 or $19 for groups of 10 or more.

6.40am In the mood for a trip back in time? Take a look at this collection of pictures of the Illawarra, dating back to 1892. Photographers must have asked for a straight face rather than a smile!

6.36am CELEB NEWS Sorry ladies, but it looks like George Cloony is finally off the market. His rep is refusing to confirm or deny rumours he is engaged to British lawyer, Amal Alamuddin, who was spotted with a huge rock on her ring finger. The couple have been linked since October. SMH

6.32am LOCAL NEWS The Wollongong CBD facelift will continue on Monday, with a section of footpath on Keira Street getting an overhaul.

The streetscape work is on the eastern footpath between Market and Smith streets, with paving to resemble that in the upper section of the refurbished mall.

6.28am LOCAL SPORT NEWS Group Seven: The Jamberoo Superoos were left to lick their wounds after Saturday's 70-10 thrashing by Gerringong at Michael Cronin Oval, while Warilla defeated Port Kembla 44-12 at Cec Glenholmes Oval.

6.25am WORLD NEWS Up to a million people gathered in St. Peter's Square over the weekend for the canonisations of John Paul II and John XXIII - the first time two popes were jointly proclaimed saints.

The naming of John Paul II, who died nine years ago, as a saint was the fastest in modern history.

6.20am Keep an eye out for school zones this morning - it's the end of the holidays and back to school for kids across the region.

6.16am And if you're more interested in last night's frocks than who won what, take a look at this gallery of some of the best looks of the night

6.13am RED CARPET NEWS In a surprise win, The Block's Scott Cam took out the Gold Logie at the annual awards ceremony.

Other winners included Hamish and Andy's Gap Year Asia for most popular light entertainment and SBS comedy Housos won outstanding light entertainment program.

Offspring's Asher Keddie was named outstanding actress and Lachy Hulme was named outstanding actor for his role as Sir Frank Packer in Power Games: The Packer-Murdoch Story.

6.09am ... and national headlines, courtesy of the SMH

*Authorities investigating a suspected poisoning linked to Death Cap mushrooms have ruled out any involvement of supermarket giant Woolworths. One of the three Canberrans being treated after eating the mushrooms was transported to Sydney's Royal Prince Alfred Hospital on Sunday, and two other people remain in a stable condition in Canberra.

*NSW'S E10 unleaded fuel mandate is a ''debacle'' and is costing the state's motorists millions, according to an international study. With the push for E10 reducing the availability of regular grade unleaded, motorists had instead flocked to the more expensive premium petrol because of concerns about E10's potential engine damage as well as fuel efficiency.

*Six train stations would be built in south-west Sydney under a long-term plan to upgrade public transport in the region and to a Badgerys Creek airport.

Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian will release on Monday a consultation package for an extension of the south-west rail link through the Badgerys Creek airport site.

6.06am Here’s a look at today’s Mercury

*Kiama Bowling and Recreation Club staff and patrons are being counselled after a shot was fired at a patron during an armed robbery on Saturday night.

Police were called to the club around 11.20pm following reports of an armed robbery. Police were told that two men, armed with a pistol and a knife, entered the club and threatened staff, demanding cash.

*Controversial plans to replace Skydive the Beach's North Wollongong headquarters with a modern administrative block at the edge of Stuart Park will be in the spotlight at Monday night's council meeting.

The proposed 400-square metre premises, earmarked for a site near the corner of Kembla Street and George Hanley Drive, would include a reception and waiting area, a merchandise shop and a coffee kiosk, staff offices and parachute packing and storage space.

*On Sunday, the region's volunteer surf lifesavers pulled down the flags for the final time, marking an end to successful summer patrol season with zero drownings recorded. 

6.02am Let’s take a look at the roads and the skies

WEATHER Another partly cloudy day - the sunny skies seem to be a distant memory now. Top temps of about 21 degrees across Wollongong today, with some light winds around lunchtime. Right now it’s 17 degrees in town.

TRAFFIC The highway is all clear this morning from Nowra to the city, save for some ongoing roadworks at Gerringong at Picton Road on Mount Ousley.

TRAINS There is good service on the South Coast line.

6am Morning all, welcome to Monday's edition of Morning Rush.

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