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

8.44am That's it from us this morning. Have a fantastic day. Enjoy.

8.42am Awww this kitty. "What do you mean it's only Wednesday?" Oh that face!

8.40am NATIONAL NEWS: The proposed debt levy is expected to be officially signed off at a cabinet meeting in Canberra today.

8.38am My motto for life. "But first, coffee".

8.36am CELEB GOSS ALERT: How many people is Justin Bieber dating?! Apparently there's Selena Gomez, Kylie Jenner and some random called Yovanna. Gees!

8.34am Mothers, this one is for you...

8.32am NATIONAL: A man has been stabbed in a park in Wodonga on the Victorian border.The 25-year-old was walking along a footbridge in Les Stone Park at 8pm on Tuesday when he was attacked by several men in hooded tops. He made it to a nearby house and was taken to to hospital for treatment for non-life threatening injuries. Police have appealed for witnesses to come forward. (AAP)

8.30am Okay let's play "anywhere but here". This morning, I'd love to be navigating the Zebra Canyon in Utah in the US. This looks amazing!

8.28am Don't forget the Kiama Farmers' Market is on this afternoon. Great chance to grab Mother's Day pressies if you haven't already.

8.26am WORLD NEWS: The White House called on Tuesday for urgent action to combat climate change, as it released a study on the impact of global warming across the United States and key sectors of the US economy

8.24am LOCAL NEWS: Two South Coast breweries have been invited to take part in an international beer festival in Melbourne later this month.

-Reporter Glen Humphries has the full story.

8.22am In Sydney, looking for a yummy brunch spot? Search no further - we've got a list of the best brunches right here.

8.18am CELEB NEWS: Brittany Murphy's father is pushing for her body to be exhumed four years after her death. He wants an inquest into her death.

8.16am The Crown sentence appeal for Kieran Loveridge, the teen convicted over the one-punch killing of Thomas Kelly in Kings Cross, is set to be heard today.

8.15am BREAKING: A man has been arrested after that security breach earlier today at the White House.

8.14am STRANGE BUT TRUE: Danger, danger, there is an invasion of albino snakes in Gran Canaria. They could take over 70 per cent of the Spanish island!

8.12am LOCAL SPORT: His first representative jumper in the bag, Dragons hooker Mitch Rein can see light at the end of the Origin tunnel as he prepares to take on a man who's been there and done it all.

8.10am 90210's Jason Priestly has penned a memoir. It's in stores now! Grab a copy.

8.08am NATIONAL NEWS: A woman accused of drink driving in a school zone in the middle of the day allegedly smashed into five parked cars and drove on the wrong side of the road. Police were called to Sydney’s Balmoral beach about 2.30pm on Tuesday and stopped a four-wheel drive being driven by a 66-year-old woman in nearby Mosman. Police claim the woman appeared to be intoxicated and her car was damaged. She allegedly refused to hand over her driver’s licence before throwing her purse at the officers. She will face five charges, including mid-range drink driving, in Downing Centre Local Court on June 12. (AAP)

8.06am Keen to show off your vocal skills? Why not head to Wild Rumpus' singing sessions with Kaija at Studio 19 tonight. No experience neccessary, just come along and sing!

8.04am A little hump day funny for you - can anyone else relate?

8.02am LOCAL NEWS: "Strength not surrender" is the theme for Wollongong's Mother's Day Classic on Sunday, and it's a motto that event ambassador Dr Margaret Gardiner lives by.

-Health reporter Lisa Wachsmuth has the full story.

7.58am Australians may be bracing for tough news in next week's federal budget, but according to a new report by the OECD, compared with 35 other countries, life in Australia is actually very good. In the latest OECD How's Life? report, Australia is rated as above average in all of the 11 life dimensions examined, with the exception of one: work-life balance. NB Shock horror!

7.56am TV NEWS: Reality shows House Rules and MasterChef returned creditable ratings, despite going head-to-head with each other and The Voice on Monday night. The ratings for House Rules and MasterChef combined were still lower than the Nine Network's singing series The Voice. NB Have you been watching MasterChef? I loved the first few series but it feels a bit tired now. Although some of the food looks amazing!

7.54am Good morning & welcome if you're just tuning in! Here's the latest weather & traffic for you.

WEATHER We're in for a mostly sunny day with a top of 19 degrees. There could be some isolated showers this afternoon and tonight. South-westerly winds will produce a wind chill factor, making it very chilly - rug up! There are also large & powerful surf conditions so be careful if you're venturing out to the beach today. Right now, it's 13 degrees in Albion Park & Bellambi.

TRAFFIC All looks clear on the region's roads, minus those roadworks at Gerringong, Scarborough & the Picton Rd on-ramp. There is a good run to Sydney & south too.

TRAINS There is a good service on the South Coast line

7.52am I want a wombat! I want, I want, I want!

7.48am LOCAL NEWS: Noel Stevens never expected to spend his dying days fighting against the injustice he had suffered at the hands of the Commonwealth Bank. The Shellharbour father, represented by RMB Lawyer's Martin Culleton, had embarked on a David and Goliath legal battle in his dying days, after the claim on his CBA life insurance policy had been rejected.

-Bree Fuller has the full story.

7.46am TV NEWS: Simpsons fans, rejoice - Duff Beer is heading down under!

7.44am LOCAL SPORT: Holy Spirit College took out Pines Surfing Academy’s 10th Annual Inter-School Challenge on Tuesday in clean one-metre swell at North Wollongong.

7.42am Has anyone else seen the memes doing the rounds, replacing stars in famous movie scenes with a burrito? Check it out - hilarious!

7.40am STRANGE BUT TRUE: A restaurant in Japan is allowing solo diners to sit opposite giant stuffed animals to combat feelings of loneliness. So weird.

7.38am TV NEWS: If you missed this one yesterday, the big news of the day was that former Sunrise host Melissa Doyle's 7pm news bulletin has been dumped by Channel Seven only six months after it was first launched. Ouch.

7.36am NATIONAL NEWS: A week away from the federal budget and the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development has warned that Australia's economy is too fragile to absorb too many spending cuts. The top economic body has also advised Australia’s economic authorities to consider intervening in the housing market to stop house prices rising too much. Read the full story here.

7.34am STRANGE BUT TRUE: Avril Lavigne has a few rules for meeting fans. You can come up and say hi but DO NOT, under any circumstances, touch her. Yep, true story.

7.32am People with common types of cancer could be at increased risk of the deadly disease spreading if they have high levels of "bad" cholesterol, a study has found. Researchers from the University of Sydney have discovered that elevated LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, which is caused by eating unhealthy foods, is one of the main reasons cancer migrates from the original tumour and invades other parts of the body.

7.30am LOCAL NEWS: A Wollongong councillor hopes to stamp a little piece of Illawarra history on Sydney’s new airport by urging the government to name it after northern suburbs flight pioneer Lawrence Hargrave.

-Council reporter Kate McIlwain has the full story.

7.29am BREAKING: The White House has gone into lockdown this morning due to a security situation.

7.28am Today is International No Diet Day! Woohoo! Now I feel less guilty for eating ice-cream last night. Oh wait, that was yesterday...

7.26am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Jake Gyllenhaal attended the Met Gala last night. So did his exes Kirsten Dunst, Reese Witherspoon and Taylor Swift. Awkward!

7.24am Don't forget Sunday is Mother's day. Plenty of restaurants around the 'Gong doing specials. Why not enter the Mother's Day fun run to kick off your morning!?

7.22am Happy birthday George Clooney! The man has aged just wonderfully. Oh George - like a Chanel suit, he never goes out of style! Happy birthday to all the other May 7 babies.

7.20am BREAKING: The US has offered to send a team of experts to Nigeria to help find more than 200 kidnapped schoolgirls amid a wave of outrage over their abduction. (SMH)

7.18am  Perchcreek Jugband, Woohoo Review, Papa Pilko, Steve Smyth and Big Erle play the Beachbar at Splashes on Friday at 8pm. Tickets: $25 + booking fee from www.yoursandowls.com.au.

7.16am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Charlize Theron & Sean Penn stepped out together at the Met Ball. They were spotted dancing, biting necks & making out! Woot woo!

7.14am WORLD NEWS: Members of the jury who will decide Rolf Harris’ guilt or innocence have been quizzed over any connection to Australia. Harris attended a London court on Tuesday to face charges of indecent assault against four girls. The prosecution is now expected to open its case on Thursday morning, UK time, and the first witness is due to take the stand on Monday next week.

7.12am LOCAL NEWS: Attacks on paramedics have jumped by a third, according to figures released by the NSW Ambulance Service.

-Emergency services reporter Dominic Geiger reports here.

7.10am Okay so I don't like birds but this is RIDIC cute. It's baby birds with hats ... HATS!

7.09am SPORT: Roger Federer has announced that has wife Mirka had given birth to the couple's second set of twins, this time boys named Leo and Lenny. What are the odds! 

7.08am Apologies - decided to move the car a little earlier today!

6.54am NATIONAL NEWS: Australia Post chairman John Stanhope said a user-pays postal system was a viable option after the company's letter operations ­suffered a $218 million loss last year because the public had sent fewer letters than ever.

6.52am Good morning & welcome if you're just tuning in! Here's the latest weather & traffic for you.

WEATHER We're in for a mostly sunny day with a top of 19 degrees. There could be some isolated showers this afternoon and tonight. South-westerly winds will produce a wind chill factor, making it very chilly - rug up! There are also large & powerful surf conditions so be careful if you're venturing out to the beach today. Right now, it's 12 degrees in Albion Park & Bellambi.

TRAFFIC All looks clear on the region's roads, minus those roadworks at Gerringong, Scarborough & the Picton Rd on-ramp. There is a good run to Sydney & south too.

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

6.50am WORLD NEWS: Monica Lewinsky has spoken out about her affair with Bill Clinton. Apparently it's "time to bury the blue dress".

6.48am Alibi small bar is launching its May artist Claire Cavanna's exhibition tonight. There's complimentary canapes from 7pm and happy hour is from 4pm to 8pm. Check it out!

6.46am LOCAL NEWS: The hottest ticket in Wollongong at the moment is one you don't even need to pay for. Free open mic nights, giving up-and-coming Illawarra talent a relaxed environment to play without the pressures of a paying crowd, are popping up all over the CBD, bringing sound and energy to a city thirsty for music.

-Arts reporter Joshua Butler has the report.

6.45am BREAKING: Scotland Yard has officially been given permission to excavate three sites at the Portugal resort where Madeleine McCann went missing.

6.44am NATIONAL NEWS: A Sydney father and son have been sentenced by a Federal Court judge after being caught selling unauthorised Foxtel services to thousands of people. Cheeky!

6.42am STRANGE BUT TRUE: A life-size statue of Mr Darcy in his wet shirt coming out of the lake in the Pride & Prejudice miniseries (hello Colin Firth yumminess!) is on its way to Australia. Yep, the statue is set to take pride (ha!) of place in Melbourne's National Trust of Australia. Ha, too funny!

6.40am CELEB GOSS ALERT: OMG this Justin Bieber/Selena Gomez/Kylie Jenner love triangle is just nuts! Kylie and Justin have been spotted hanging out in Vegas while Selena was at the Met Ball.

6.38am WORLD NEWS: South African Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius has been accused of intimidation after a friend of Reeva Steenkamp claimed he whispered to her, "How can you sleep at night?" during a break in his murder trial. Oh the drama!

6.36am TV NEWS: Can you believe today marks 10 years since the series finale of Friends? That means it's been 20 years since the show first hit our screens. Wow! Still makes me laugh - Ross ... too funny.

6.34am LOCAL NEWS: In the midst of her battle with breast cancer, Tamara Glasgow came up with a crafty fund-raiser that has since become her legacy. The Woonona mother died in 2007 but the annual morning tea carries on thanks to the efforts of Tamara's mother Ann Johnson and her Woonona craft group.

-Health reporter Lisa Wachsmuth has the story. NB Great pics by snapper Robert Peet.

6.32am Are you a local street artist looking for a gig? Hangtime Wollongong wants you! They want to spruce up their walls.

6.30am NATIONAL NEWS: A Sydney man has been charged with knowingly infecting a woman with HIVThe woman had approached Eastern Beaches detectives while they were conducting a separate investigation regarding a different woman who also alleged a man had intentionally infected her with HIV. Following an investigation into the new claim, police have charged a 44-year-old man with maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm. (SMH)

6.28am Keen to garden but stuck with a teeny tiny balcony? Fear not - the UOW Wellbeing tram are hosting a balcony gardening workshop at the Botanic Gardens at 11.30am today.

6.26am LOCAL SPORT: St George Illawarra will only have to wait a week for confirmation of a potential stunning double coup, with Kevin Proctor well and truly in their sights, along with Benji Marshall.

6.24am TIARA ALERT: Apparently Prince William has been spotted flying economy class! If the royals have to slum it in economy, what hope do the rest of us have!?

6.22am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Of course, the post-Met Ball memes have already started. Check out this one of Katie Holmes - I must admit, the first thing I thought when I looked at her frock was Belle from Beauty & the Beast! Seems I wasn't the only one...

6.20am WORLD NEWS: Sharia police in the Indonesian province of Aceh will publicly flog a young woman for adultery after she was turned in by eight vigilantes who had already gang-raped her as punishment. Here's the full story.

6.18am Don't forget we're crossing every hour to Pulse 94.1FM with all the latest from the Rush.

6.16am It's dog pic time, yay! So, I'm considering getting another puppy and I really like the idea of a French bulldog - they are so cute! And look how they sit! Awwwww.

6.14am LOCAL NEWS: Police are appealing for information after a shot was fired during a home invasion at Warilla overnight. Read more here - scary stuff!

6.12am TV NEWS: Did you know they're making a Batman prequel series Gotham? It stars that guy that was in the OC (I can't remember his name - not Seth Cohen!). Anywho, here's a trailer.

6.10am NATIONAL NEWS: Australia remains on course for its first El Nino in more than four years, a weather event that typically brings a drier-than-average winter and spring to much of southern Australia including NSW, and active bushfire seasons by summer.

6.08am CELEB GOSS ALERT:Everyone's talking about the Met  Ball and who wore what. Check out this gallery below of all the frocks!

6.06am And in national news, thanks to the SMH:

 *Unpublished plans for the Barangaroo site show proposed buildings have more than doubled in size since the original design brief was issued, prompting the City of Sydney to call for fresh public input into the controversial development

*A decades-old Australian workplace tradition, the sick note, looks set to be consigned to history and replaced by the 21st century version; the ‘‘fit note’’.

*The turn-back of two groups of asylum seekers on Monday has put further strain on the Australia-Indonesia relationship after Indonesian Foreign Minister launched another stinging criticism of the Abbott government’s boats policy.

*Pressure is mounting for charges to be laid over James Packer and David Gyngell’s bust-up following outrage from community leaders, lawyers and victims of violence.

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

*The narrow triangular block at the corner of Crown Street and Crown Lane could get a new lease of life, as site owners GPT Group have unveiled plans to turn the rundown building into a cafe and rooftop bar.

*A key thoroughfare in Wollongong's CBD will be closed for three months under plans to speed up works associated with the GPT Group's $200 million Wollongong Central expansion.

*Lake Illawarra police are continuing to “investigate every line of inquiry” into the circumstances surrounding the hit and run of April-lee Gillen on Northcliffe Drive, Lake Heights, in the early hours of April 27.

*A 73-year-old man has pleaded guilty in Wollongong District Court to a slew of child sex offences.

6.02am Here's the latest weather & traffic updates to get you out of bed this morning.

WEATHER We're in for a mostly sunny day with a top of 19 degrees. There could be some isolated showers this afternoon and tonight. South-westerly winds will produce a wind chill factor, making it very chilly - rug up! There are also large & powerful surf conditions so be careful if you're venturing out to the beach today. Right now, it's 12 degrees in Albion Park & 13 in Bellambi.

TRAFFIC All looks clear on the region's roads, minus those roadworks at Gerringong, Scarborough & the Picton Rd on-ramp. There is a good run to Sydney & south too.

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

6am Good morning Illawarra! Happy hump day - that's right, it's the middle of the working week. Stay with your host, Emma Spillett, this morning for all the latest news etc.

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