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

8.57am  That's another Morning Rush done for the day. Have a great day.

8.54am Keen to stay up-to-date with all budget-related things this sunny Tuesday? The SMH is running a live blog. Take a look here.

8.51am Umm, cute. Bob Ingle, 72, and childhood sweetheart Robin  Keith, 70, tied the knot at a civil ceremony on Friday at at Carey Bay, near Lake Macquaire. The pair have known each other for more than 50 years. Awww.

8.47am Calling all comic book fans! We have the perfect event for you! Comic Gong returns on May 17 and is again promoting local comic artists and comic culture in the Illawarra. The event is based at Wollongong Town Hall and features trade stalls, comic workshops, craft activities and more!

8.44am So we can all salivate over their scrumptious creations

8.40am TRAFFIC ALERT All southbound lanes have reopened on the M1 Princes Motorway (Mount Ousley Road) in Mount Ousley following a multiple vehicle accident past New Mount Pleasant Road. Although all lanes are open traffic remains heavy in the area with significant delays being experienced.

8.37am LOCAL NEWS A new Alzheimer's Australia campaign is urging people to "choose it or lose it". The Start2Talk online campaign encourages everyone to talk to their loved ones about their future healthcare, lifestyle and financial decisions, while they are still able to do so.

8.33am Alcohol causes one death every 10 seconds, according to the latest info from WHO. It kills 3.3 million people worldwide each year, more than AIDS, tuberculosis and violence combined. SMH

8.30am On this day in 1958 the trade mark Velcro is registered, while in 1917 three children report the first apparition of Our Lady of Fátima in Fátima, Portugal.

8.25am LOCAL NEWS  Bluescope nurse Lara Tramacco was one of five finalists in the Nurse of the Year category. While she didn't take out the top spot, she was applauded for the mental health awareness campaign she has tailored for the steelworks' 3500, mostly male, employees.

8.21am Commuters rejoice - the Oak Flats station commuter car park is finally nearing completion.

8.17am TRAFFIC ALERT There is a multiple vehicle accident going south on Mount Ousley Road, just past New Mount Pleasant Road. There are significant traffic delays.

8.14am May 18 - ie Sunday - is Castagne day at the Frat. Mmm, roasted chestnuts.

8.10am If you're anything like me, the end of daylight savings coincides with a desire to never get out of bed early to go for a run. But, according to dietitian Susie Burrell, there are no excuses for not exercising. Harsh, but probably fair.

8.07am LOCAL NEWS At Monday night's council meeting, Cr Blicavs put forward a notice of motion that asked the council to "make representations to the state government to immediately progress the revitalisation of Wollongong Harbour".

8.03am STRANGE BUT TRUE NBC reporter Ann Curry was rescued by a troop of New Jersey Boy Scouts when she broke her leg during a recent hike. The troop created a splint for her ankle and fashioned a stretcher from logs and a tarp before carrying her down the mountain.

It's 8am and the day is well underway. There are no incidents on the roads between Nowra and Sydney and right now in Wollongong it's just over 16 degrees.

7.57am LOCAL NEWS When Bill Young joined Windang Surf Life Saving Club in 1963, swimmers who found themselves in trouble were rescued using a belt and reel. Having just completed his 50th year on patrol at Windang Beach, Mr Young will be honoured at the Windang club presentation night on Saturday.

7.54am Zero plans for your Tuesday night? Royales with cheese for everyone!

7.50am The 2014 Melbourne International Comedy Festival Road Show comes to Wollongong this May. Comedians include; Tom Ballard, David Quirk, Bev Killick and Marcus Ryan. Venue: IPAC, Wollogngong. Times: Thu 15 May 6.30pm, Fri 16 May 8pm, Sat 17 May 6pm & 9pm. Tickets: $37-42, call the box office on (02) 4224 5999 or visit www.merrigong.com.au to book.

7.47am LOCAL NEWS A Koonawarra man who blew more than $17,000 on power tools, iPads, perfumes and groceries during a three-day shopping spree has pleaded guilty to fraud. Robert Auld pleaded guilty to 12 counts of fraud in Wollongong Local Court on Monday, after admitting he spent more than $30,000 of someone else's money between May 25 and 27 last year.

7.44am In weird days of the year, May 13 is frog leaping day, as well as leprechaun day. If you can find a leprechaun to jump over a frog, or jump like a frog I guess, you can knock over the celebrations in one.

7.41am TV NEWS Up-to-date with Game of Thrones? Take a look at this fun recap. It should be obvious, but just in case, SPOILERS, SPOILERS, SPOILERS. 

7.37am Legally Blonde is coming! Moonglow Productions is set to stage the musical for the first time in Wollongong on July 4-5 @ the WIN Entertainment Centre.

7.33am SPORT NEWS NSW Origin halfback Mitchell Pearce may  be banned by the NRL even if he escapes a police charge over an incident that led to his arrest at a Kings Cross nightspot on the weekend. SMH

7.30am It's budget time tonight. Illawarra Labor MPs Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones are concerned about cuts to education and healthcare in the region, while Liberal Gilmore MP Ann Sudmalis said her "instincts" told her the Coalition would deliver "a very fair" plan. Keep an eye on the Merc website tonight for the latest budget info.

7.26am WORLD NEWS Boko Haram released a new video on Monday claiming to show the missing Nigerian schoolgirls, alleging the teenagers had converted to Islam and would not be released until all militant prisoners were freed. SMH

7.22am There's some new faces at the Mercury this week. Corinne Whiteman has been appointed as our new general manager and Lisa Rodgers is the new advertising manager. Welcome to the team ladies!

7.18am The Ghost of Courtney Puckey Tour is on today at 10am. Meet at Stuart Park near playground and join an interactive tour with the character of Courtney Puckey, and learn about his role in local history. $9 per person, includes tea or coffee. Bookings are essential - call (02) 4227 7667.

7.14am Has the mystery of Stonehenge been solved? An archaeology research fellow from the University of Buckingham said a recent dig suggests the monument was built by indigenous Britons who had lived in the area for thousands of years. So much for the alien theory then.

7.10am LOCAL SPORT Brawls between Wests and Thirroul during an Illawarra Coal League game over the weekend has been described as one of the worst incidents of their kind by manager of rugby league Chris Bannerman. He said it was likely both clubs would face charges on Tuesday.

7.06am Illawarra students are among the more than one million across the country that will begin their first day of NAPLAN testing on Tuesday. Students in years 3, 5, 7 and 9 sit exams in literacy and numeracy over three days.

7.03am CELEB GOSS Footage from an elevator at last week's Met Ball apparently shows Jay Z being assaulted by Beyonce's sister, Solange.

7am  Good morning if you've had a little sleep in today and are just joining us. The roads are clear, there are no reported train delays and right now in Wollongong it's 15.4 degrees. Make sure you take a coat to work this morning!

6.57am There are once again calls for the legal drinking age in Australia to be raised to 21. A report in the Medical Journal of Australia, co-authored by UOW's Sandra Jones, says raising the age limit would protect young people from the brain damage that can be caused by too much alcohol and the harms associated with being drunk. Thoughts? SMH

6.54am STRANGE BUT TRUE A frustrated armed robber turned his attention to a fridge after he was told the Kiama cafe he had targeted kept no money outside working hours.

Stone Wall cafe owner Julie Shkolar said the robber, who had entered the shop about 6.30am on Monday armed with a screwdriver, took two drinks from the fridge when he realised he wouldn't be getting away with any cash.

Late on Monday, he was assisting police with their inquiries into the armed robbery, as well as two other thefts

6.52am Is it too early to be thinking about wine? Good Food has a list of the top drops under $15, which is about the maximum my budget allows me to pay for some vino. 

6.48am If you're celebrating your b-day today, you share the party with actress/director/writer/slashie Lena Dunham, the hilarious Stephen Colbert and everyone's favourite sparkly vampire Robert Pattinson.

6.44am LOCAL NEWS A truck caught fire on Mount Ousley Road at about 10am on Monday morning, delaying northbound traffic. While the fire broke out in the cabin, a NSW Ambulance spokeswoman said paramedics did not attend the fire to treat the driver. The cause it not yet known.

6.40am Cute animal time! As I am yet to eat brekkie, this picture makes me want a cupcake.

6.37am Vatican Radio is reporting Pope Francis said he would not turn away martians that came to Earth wanting to be baptised as Catholics. Apparently, he said the Holy Spirit is not always predicatable.

6.33am Police are appealing for witnesses after an armed robbery of a bottle store on Popes Road, Woonona at about 8.20pm on Monday night. One person was described to officers as Caucasian appearance, aged in the 20’s, wearing black jeans and a dark hooded jumper. The other was described as wearing a blue jumper and blue jeans. Anyone with information should call Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.

6.30am CELEB GOSS Justin Timberlake has told the Huffington Post that leaving N*SYNC was both the best and worst thing he's ever done. Personally, I think it was the right decision - what even happened to the other guys?

6.26am We’ve kicked off our Mercury Cartoon Competition! We want 15 - 25 year olds to produce their own cartoon or caricature that reflects a popular news topic or personality from an Illawarra Mercury news story during May for their chance to win some awesome prizes. PLUS the best entries will be printed in the Illawarra Mercury and exhibited at the Wollongong Art Gallery.

6.22am Everyone's favourite piggy is coming to the Gong! Peppa Pig Live! Treasure Hunt will be performed on: June 25 at Illawarra Performing Arts Centre and June 27 at Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre.

6.18am NSW NEWS Sydney woman Renee Young has given birth to twin girls born with a very rare medical condition called diprosopus. The girls, named Hope and Faith, share a heart, a body, limbs and a skull, but they each have their own brain and a set of identical facial features. There have been only 35 similar cases recorded worldwide and none of those babies survived. SMH

6.15am Want to know what a day in the life of the Premier is like? A summary of ministerial diaries will be published quarterly by the NSW government to try to improve transparency around meetings, following evidence at the Independent Commission Against Corruption. SMH

6.11am LOCAL SPORT St George Illawarra chief executive Peter Doust has paid tribute to rugby league immortal Reg Gasnier, after the Dragons great passed away following a long illness on Sunday night.

6.08am The national headlines, courtesy of the SMH

*Senior Liberals say the federal government is bracing for a backlash when voters see the full scale of cutbacks and broken promises in the budget.

*Former Australian Workers Union official Ralph Blewitt told the royal commission into trade unions he paid $7000 in cash from the union’s “slush fund” to pay for renovations to former prime minister Julia Gillard’s Melbourne home.

*A 49-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, woman spent Monday in the witness stand of Southwark Crown Court giving explicit testimony of her decade and a half of alleged sexual encounters with Rolf Harris. At one stage, she claimed, he abused her when his own daughter was asleep a few feet away. The trial is expected to run until mid-June.

6.05am Here's a few of the top stories in today's Mercury

*Greenacres Industries would be forced to shut down, leaving 240 disabled workers unemployed, if a case to go before the Fair Work Commission is upheld, Greenacres CEO Chris Christodoulou said on Monday.

*The bronze monument of aviation pioneer Lawrence Hargrave has been discovered dumped by the side of the road in Otford after going missing on Friday.

*Members of the public detained a Wollongong man on Saturday night after he tried to rob a pizza delivery boy and attacked a mother and daughter in Corrimal Street, a court has heard.

*Wollongong City Councillors voted against a motion calling for a temporary halt to the planned expansion of the Port Kembla port at Monday night's council meeting.

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

WEATHER A cloudy day in the Illawarra, with possible light showers in the late morning. The mercury should reach about 21 degrees, but right now it's just under 16 in Wollongong.

TRAFFIC It's looking good out there this morning, with the only possible interruptions ongoing roadworks at Gerringong and the top of Mount Ousley

TRAINS There is good service on the South Coast Line

6am Good morning Illawarra! Your host Kate Walsh will be Rushing with you this morning

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