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

8.50am That's it for us this morning. Tune in on Monday for the Rush. Thanks for reading!

8.48am Ha! Love this. A little Friday pop culture funny.

8.47am CELEB GOSS ALERT: George Clooney has reportedly popped the question to his GF after whipping up a home-cooked meal in his mansion. Why don't you just stick the knife in!?

8.45am STRANGE BUT TRUE: Queensland's small business minister has apologised for telling a retailer to show a bit of leg to help improve her businessJann Stuckey told a clothing store in Brisbane to "get a bit of leg out" when she was asked about how to boost foot traffic during a visit to a Brisbane shopping centre.

8.44am Do not forget - Mother's Day is next Sunday, May 11. Diary note, diary note!

8.40am Wollongong Art Gallery's retrospective exhibition on Illawarra artist Robert Liddicoat, titled An Artist and His Colourswill close this Sunday. Get in quick to see it

8.36am LOCAL NEWS: Young people will be discouraged from studying at university if the recommendations contained within the federal government's Commission of Audit report are implemented, according to the Wollongong Undergraduate Students' Association (WUSA). Read more here.

8.35am Hey Dad! actor Robert Hughes is set to face sentencing proceedings in court today. He was found guilty of sexually and indecently assaulting young girls.

8.33am Sunday is May the 4th aka Star Wars Day. Stockland Shellharbour is celebrating with a Star Wars movie marathon.

8.30am The House of Hope's white & red dinner dance is on at City Beach tomorrow night.

8.29am NATIONAL: The troubled Powerhouse Museum will be getting rid of nearly one-fifth of its staff under a major restructure of the cultural institution, aiming to save $5 million annually. Rose Hiscock, the director of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, which includes the Powerhouse, the Castle Hill Discovery Centre and the Sydney Observatory, met with staff on Thursday morning to tell them of the plans to take the museum in a "new direction". NB Very sad news, I've always loved the Powerhouse.

8.27am Here is the ULTIMATE dessert indulgence - an Oreo stuffed chocolate chip cookie. Mmmm. Even better, we've got a recipe. Get to the kitchen, stat!

8.25am Supermodel Miranda Kerr & her son Flynn have just touched down at Sydney Airport.

8.23am WORLD NEWS: Heroin use played a role in the death of Peaches Geldof, the daughter of Live Aid founder Bob Geldof, an inquest in Britain has heard.

8.22am It’s the first Saturday night dance @ Wollongong's Dancespace 383 tomorrow. Tickets are $15 & include a glass of champagne.

8.21am BREAKING: A man has been charged with the murder and rape of a two-year-old girl in Coffs Harbour. Police say the 23-year-old was arrested yesterday following an investigation after the toddler died at Coffs Harbour Health Campus on April 21. The man is due before Coffs Harbour Local Court today. (AAP)

8.20am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Want to buy Selena Gomez's house? It's on the market - all you'll need is a cool $3.5 million.

8.17am STRANGE BUT TRUE: A pet dog in the US has been found alive, six months afters its owners had it euthanised. Oh dear.

8.16am Did you love Kate Middleton's wardrobe while she was here? Good news, the SMH has just released a fashion wheel of fortune so you can peruse all her looks at your leisure. Legends!

8.15am LOCAL NEWS: The NSW government did no research on the effects on parking at train stations before it launched its new train timetable last year.

-Reporter Glen Humphries has the story.

8.14am I've returned!

8am People, I'm off to move the car. I'll be back (ooo that was v Star Wars, wasn't it!?)

7.58am A Dominos Pizza store in the US has tried an interesting market ploy to get blokes in-store. Thoughts?

7.56am LOCAL NEWS: Even after 65 years with the Wollongong Eisteddfod, life member Sheelagh Geraghty still gets a kick out of seeing young performers take the stage. 

-Reporter Josh Butler has the story. Check out photographer Adam McLean's GORGEOUS photo too. NB The eistedfodd kicks off tomorrow.

7.54am TGIF Rushers, welcome to Friday! Here's the latest weather & traffic update for you.

WEATHER Looks like it's going to be a partly cloudy day with a top of 20 degrees. The mercury is definitely set to drop for the weekend - expect some rain and tops of just 15 on Saturday and 16 on Sunday. Brrrr, chilly! Right now, it's 14 in Albion Park and 17 in Bellambi.

TRAFFIC All looks clear on the region's roads. Don't forget those road works at Gerringong & the Picton Rd on-ramp. Road works at Scarborough (Lawrence Hargrave Drive @ Railway Ave) also kick off on Sunday - the road will be closed in both directions. There is a truck breakdown at Campbelltown (Narellan Rd) affecting eastbound traffic, so just be careful there.

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

7.52am STRANGE BUT TRUE: This woman danced topless with 12,000 bees. Why? Who knows.

7.50am Sunday is set to be a HUGE day in the Illawarra. It kicks off with the Colour Run in Wollongong & then Wings over Illawarra at Albion Park. Get amongst it!

7.48am Okay, so I know I'm overloading you with animal pictures but I'm sorry, this pug snap is just, I, I, I can't even talk. I die.

7.46am Calling all cat lovers. You'll appreciate this - it's a cat on a leash. A LEASH. People, it's a kitty, not a big scary dog!

7.44am LOCAL SPORT: She may have won a World Cup but Helensburgh league star Sam Hammond said Allianz Stadium will definitely be the biggest stage she's played on in her international career.

7.42am BREAKING: A man charged with serious offences has escaped a Melbourne psychiatric hospital while on day release. Daniel Carl Ryan, 38, was last seen at 1pm yesterday leaving the Thomas Embling Hospital in Fairfield on foot while on unsupervised day release. He was due to return at 9pm but failed to do so. Police have searched the immediate area but are yet to find him. (AAP)

7.40am Bulldog fans will love this! It's the running of the bull... dogs.

7.38am Sunday is the perfect time for some live music. Catch Dave Tice at TBH at 3:30pm or see South Coast trio Penny Hartgerink, Tess Hathaway and Izaac Blomley at Jamberoo Pub from 1pm-4pm. Entry to both gigs is free.

7.36am Looking to get into the real estate market? I've found you the perfect house in Chicago. It's a gorgeous historic home and it's only $159,000. Um, the only catch? It's haunted. Like really haunted. Enjoy!

7.34am Want to see some bears rock climbing? Of course you do! Enjoy.

7.32am BREAKING: Neighbours intervened to prevent a woman being set alight after she was doused with lighter fluid in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. The 34-year-old woman received minor injuries after a disturbance at a home on Darlinghurst Road in Potts Point last night, police say. A 37-year-old man has been charged with malicious intent to cause grievous bodily harm. He was refused bail to appear at Central Local Court today (AAP)

7.31am Today is Fatality Free Friday - so take it easy on the road!

7.30am Check out David Finlay's snap of the solar eclipse, as seen from Kiama, earlier this week - great shot.

7.28am The Illawarra Folk Club presents its Youth Traditions Concert tomorrow night from 7.30pm @ the City Diggers Club.

7.26am MUSIC NEWS: Mariah Carey is set to release a new album with the title ... wait for it ...  Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse. Wow. NB If I had an album title it would be: Me. I am Emma. The confused, often-hungry journo.

7.24am LOCAL NEWS: Wollongong printing business Focus Press has been placed into liquidation following the closure of its plant.

-Reporter Josh Butler has the full report.

7.22am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Jennifer Lawrence has just topped FHM's list of the world's sexiest women. Nice work J-Law!

7.20am Step back in time at Glennifer Brae tomorrow. Join "Mr Hoskins" on a theatrical tour of his family home and garden, Gleniffer Brae. Bookings required.

7.19am WORLD NEWS: President Vladimir Putin spoke with German chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday, reportedly telling the German leader that Ukraine must remove its military from the south-eastern region of the country in order resolve the showdown there with pro-Russian militants who have seized several official buildings.

7.18am Check out this dessert from Wollongong restaurant Chargoal - I don't even know what it is but bloody hell it looks good!

7.14am STRANGE BUT TRUE: Ebay says sales of yellow dresses have spiked 95 per cent since the Royal tour. Thank you Kate Middleton!

7.12am CELEB GOSS ALERT: The paparazzi can rest easy as actor Sam Worthington plans to lead a “law-abiding life” after having his charges for assaulting a photographer dropped. Worthington, 37, will avoid jail after a conditional dismissal deal was quietly entered into on April 8, the New York Daily News reported yesterday.

7.11am Wollongong City Council’s giant car boot sale is on this Sunday at Towradgi Beach Hotel Car Park from 9am-2pm. Register for free on the Council’s website at www.wollongong.nsw.gov.au or phone (02) 4227 7111.

7.10am Happy birthday Empire State Building! Today marks 83 years since the iconic building first opened.

7.08am BREAKING: The Sydney cycling community has been struck by a spate of horrific road accidents, including two deaths in as many weeks. On Thursday night, police were still trying to identify a man killed in a collision with a bus off Military Road in Neutral Bay just before peak hour traffic set in.

7.06am Bored on public transport? Ever thought about turning your fellow commuters into cartoon characters? You will now...

7.05am You've got to check out these pics of a guy getting attacked by some very scary squirrels while he was taking a selfie during a hike. Lesson learnt - people, selfies can be dangerous.

7.04am MUSIC NEWS: The choreographer for Kylie Minogue's controversial video clip I Was Gonna Cancel has described the initial offers of non-payment to dancers on the shoot as a "mistake". Um, yep. You think?!

7.02am TV NEWS: It seems two Mad Men stars have been spotted getting cosy off-screen - apparently Jon Hamm & Elisabeth Moss have been cuddling up away from the cameras. Oooo.

6.58am If you're looking to get out & get fit this weekend, why not do it while raising money for charity? The Ride around the Lake is on, as is Kiama Relay for Life. It's not too late to sign up!

6.56am LOCAL SPORT: Wollongong cricketer Amit Balgi never thought he would be mentioned in the same sentence as Don Bradman. But he will forever be linked to the cricketing great after being named the 2014 Bradman Scholar.

6.55am BREAKING: Batten down the hatches south-east QLD - you're in for a drenching.

6.54am TGIF Rushers, welcome to Friday! Here's the latest weather & traffic update for you.

WEATHER Looks like it's going to be a partly cloudy day with a top of 20 degrees. The mercury is definitely set to drop for the weekend - expect some rain and tops of just 15 on Saturday and 16 on Sunday. Brrrr, chilly! Right now, it's 13 in Albion Park and 16 in Bellambi.

TRAFFIC All looks clear on the region's roads. Don't forget those road works at Gerringong & the Picton Rd on-ramp. Road works at Scarborough (Lawrence Hargrave Drive @ Railway Ave) also kick off on Sunday - the road will be closed in both directions.

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

6.52am CELEB GOSS ALERT: James Franco is setting the record straight on his liasion with Lindsay Lohan. He says they made out but THAT'S IT.

6.50am NATIONAL: A mentally ill university student who was shot and killed by a police officer did not brandish a knife threateningly before being shot as the officer claimed but was the victim of a "hasty and precipitous" act by an officer who was not properly trained, a coroner had found.

6.48am I came across this picture of a rabbit this morning and just had to post it. Oh so cute. Who finds these!?

6.46am TV NEWS: Dancer Michael Dameski took out the title in Channel 10's So You Think You Can Dance finale last night. Congrats!

6.44am LOCAL NEWS: The government should hand over title on some of the state's housing properties to charities that could leverage the buildings to borrow money and provide more stock, an Illawarra charity chief has told the state's inquiry into affordable housing.

"We need investment, we need to be given title on some of the properties so we can leverage funding on those." - Narelle Clay

-Reporter Ang Thompson has the full story.

6.43am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Beverly Hills 90210 alumni Jason Priestly is dishing on his co-stars in his new tell-all book. Can't wait! NB Anyone else watching the re-runs on Channel 55 at 5.30pm?

6.42am STRANGE BUT TRUE: Sixty-two students were arrested in New Jersey yesterday after police said they broke into their high school overnight for a senior class prank, urinating in hallways, greasing doorknobs with petroleum jelly and taping hot dogs to lockers. Awesome!

6.40am Australia’s first ever Modern Quilt Show is on in Berry this weekend. It’s on at Berry School of Arts. Entry: $5, kids under 5 free.

6.38am If you don't absolutely love this, then, I don't even know what to do with you! This is a video of a seal getting a belly rub. Sigh, adorable! NB Really, what did we do before the Go Pro!?

6.36am MOVIE NEWS: Russell Crowe has released a first-look featurette about his directing debut, The Water Diviner, a period drama that takes place in the aftermath of Gallipoli. The featurette has behind-the-scenes material, footage from shoots and Crowe's reflections on the story. Watch it here.

6.34am The Allan Sefton Memorial Lecture is on today from 5:30-6:30pm in Bldg 14.G01 at UOW. This year’s guest speaker is Pepe Clarke, CEO of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW. Reporter Ang Thompson has a little something on the lecture here.

6.32am MUSIC NEWS: Former Backstreet Boy Nick Carter has re-created some of the cheesy photos from his '90s hey-day and they are just hilarious. Check 'em out!

6.31am LOCAL NEWS: Skydive the Beach's controversial proposal to build a new administration building at the edge of Stuart Park is not certain, according to Wollongong councillor David Brown.

-Here's the full story.

6.30am BREAKING: A convicted Nigerian criminal has been charged with running a drug importation ring from Villawood Detention Centre using nothing but a smart phone.

6.29am TV NEWS: Jimmy Fallon and Cameron Diaz have photo-bombed some tourists grabbing snaps at the Top of the Rock in NY during the Tonight Show. They could ruin my shots any day!

6.28am LOCAL SPORT: Benji Marshall is set to decide today between St George Illawarra and Cronulla after the Dragons sensationally re-entered the race to sign the former Wests Tigers playmaker.

6.27am WORLD NEWS: A controversial new penal code for oil-rich Brunei that will eventually include tough Islamic sharia penalties such as severing of limbs and death by stoning was due to officially come into effect on Thursday. NB That removes Brunei from the list of places to visit!

6.26am TIARA ALERT: Prince Harry has been spotted partying in Miami, just days after his split from Cressida Bonas. Maybe he's on the hunt for an American girlfriend?

6.24am NATIONAL NEWS: Does your boss make you sick? Employers who overwork and micromanage their staff are doing just that, researchers have found. Read the full report here.

6.22am Perennial 80’s cover band The Villains will play at Towradgi Beach Hotel tonight at 7.30pm. Tickets: $11 + booking fee from www.moshtix.com.au.

6.21am Okay, so what I'm about to show you will blow your mind with its cuteness. This is a video of a tiny hamster eating teeny tiny burritos. I have no words.

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

6.18am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Sarah Jessica Parker has clarified what was going on re the Twitter fued about her daughters earlier this month. You go SJP, stick it to the haters!

6.16am LOCAL NEWS: Wollongong City Council has modified a free dumping loophole for pensioners that had resulted in some people making multiple daily trips to the tip.

-Glen Humphries has the full report here.

6.14am Have to show you this epic Tony Abbott typo, which has gone viral on Twitter. "Prime Sinister" instead of "Prime Minister". One letter, one EPIC fail. Ooops.

6.12am In the spirit of TGIF, let's get you in the weekend mood with an animal funny. I like this one - seriously, who comes up with these memes? So clever!

6.10am WORLD NEWS: Malaysia has made public a preliminary report on flight MH370 and other data that marks its most extensive release of information on the missing airliner to date. Check out all the findings here.

6.08am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Kelly Osbourne has hacked off her locks. She's shaved off the side of her hair & dyed it purple. YOLO!

6.06am And here's the national headlines via the SMH:

*Ordinary Australians would pay a $15 upfront fee to visit a doctor and medium-to-high-income earners would be forced off Medicare altogether under sweeping changes advocated by Tony Abbott’s hand-picked Commission of Audit report.

*The Commission of Audit’s 86 recommendations can be broadly divided into three categories - those likely to be adopted, those that will be adopted in part, and those that would require a considerable dollop of ‘‘political courage’’.

*A $5 billion-a-year family payment targeting stay-at-home mothers will be axed and money from Tony Abbott’s paid parental scheme redirected into a revamped childcare support system if the commission’s blueprint is adopted.

6.04am Let's check out what's making news in your Mercury today:

*The federal government’s commission of audit signals a farewell to the "fair go", according to South Coast Labour Council secretary Arthur Rorris.

*A Wollongong teacher convicted of child pornography charges on Wednesday will challenge his two-year jail sentence. Read the full story here.

*For Corrimal's Beth Abbey it is "bitter-sweet" to be among the 25 per cent of patients still alive two years after a brain cancer diagnosis, because of the friends she has lost along the way.

*Five men and one woman accused of running a large-scale drug ring in the Illawarra will remain in custody until at least June.

6.02am Here's the latest weather & traffic update for your Friday morning.

WEATHER Looks like it's going to be a partly cloudy day with a top of 20 degrees. The mercury is definitely set to drop for the weekend - expect some rain and tops of just 15 on Saturday and 16 on Sunday. Brrrr, chilly! Right now, it's 13 in Albion Park and 17 in Bellambi.

TRAFFIC All looks clear on the region's roads. Don't forget those road works at Gerringong & the Picton Rd on-ramp. Road works at Scarborough (Lawrence Hargrave Drive @ Railway Ave) also kick off on Sunday - the road will be closed in both directions.

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

6am Good morning Illawarra and TGIF! We made it to the end of the week, phew! Stay with your host, Emma Spillett, this morning for all the latest news, goss, buzz etc.

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