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

8.46am That's it from us this morning. Tune in tomorrow for Thursday's edition of the Rush. Ciao!

8.44am STRANGE BUT TRUE: This is a gallery of pics of children with drawn-on eyebrows. Why would parents do this, why!?

8.42am TECH TALK: Would you pay $9 more for your smartphone if it guaranteed better working conditions for the person who made it? An investigation into the electronics industry has revealed 97 per cent of companies fail to pay factory workers enough to cover their basic needs and only one in five knew where their raw materials came from. Read the full story here.

8.40am Ladies, I give you Ryan Gosling. What is he doing? Nothing exciting. Just being Ryan Gosling. Enjoy.

8.36am NATIONAL NEWS: A disgruntled rugby league fan has taken matters into his own hands, king-hitting a young referee from behind after a central Queensland A-grade game. The victim received minor injuries. (AAP)

8.34am LOCAL SPORT: Bulli Greyhound Club will unleash four quality heats of the Group 3 Bulli Gold Cup on Wednesday.

8.32am Next Wednesday marks the first game of the 2014 State of Origin series. Want to win tickets to game two? We’re running a comp - just submit your favourite Origin memory (in 25 words or less!) from May 24 and you’ll have a chance to win tix for you & three mates to head off to game two on June 17.

8.30am I've never wanted a bunny more than I do right now after seeing this rabbit eating raspberries. Oh bless!

8.28am 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. Tickets available via www.wec.org.au - book now!

8.26am Katy Perry posted this pic on Instagram of these SUPER COOL light-up shoes. Want a pair? Visit Top Shop - they are SO COOL!

8.22am The ever-funny Van Badham has shared her thoughts on the Abbott government.

8.20am LOCAL NEWS: KidsFest is on in the Illawarra this week and there's heaps of fun activities for littlies. Yesterday, kids enjoyed the Emergency Services Expo - we've got some great pics, courtesy of snapper Syl Liber.

8.18am The brother of Queensland Origin coach Mal Meninga has been released from jail after serving more than 20 years for murdering a young woman. Bevan Meninga has been granted parole and walked out of jail this morning. He was 20 when he was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Cheree Richardson, 19, in 1991. (AAP)

8.14am TV NEWS: I mentioned When Loves Come to Town earlier, completely forgetting we have a participant from the Illawarra! Read all about JJ here.

8.12am BREAKING: Students across Australia are preparing to protest today against budget cuts to education.

8.10am Keen to do some nesting this winter? Why not plant a lovely winter garden? Herbs are a great winter plant (apparently - I don't garden!) - here's some advice on how to tend to them.

8.06am NATIONAL NEWS: More than 230,000 welfare recipients face a new delay to get their payments, with the Abbott government moving to introduce a one-week wait for all working age payments. Read more here.

8.04am Think you've got a bad family photo lurking at home? Think again - this takes the cake.

8.02am Apologies to all - the Banff Film Festival is on at UOW tomorrow night, NOT tonight. So sorry! Ta to Graeme for pointing it out!

8am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Katy Perry is single again! She ended her short-lived relationship with bf Diplo.

7.58am Morning! We're in for some possible showers today with a top of 22. All is fine on the roads & rail.

7.56am 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 a Merc news story during May for their chance to win some awesome prizes. PLUS the best entries will be printed in the paper and exhibited at the Wollongong Art Gallery.

7.54am LOCAL NEWS: A Bellambi man has pleaded guilty to a string of crimes stemming from use of stolen credit cards to buy hundreds of dollars worth of items from Illawarra service stations.

-Court reporter Shannon Tonkin has the full story here.

7.52am Good news pizza lovers, all-you-can-eat pizza is cool again! Not like Pizza Hut style all-you-can eat but classy - this new Surry Hills restaurant is bringing it back. Love it!

7.50am Another hump day funny for you! Too good!

7.48am David Gonski will speak on schools funding and the government’s response to his panel’s review in Melbourne today.

7.46am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Miranda Kerr has shot down rumours her ex-hubby Orlando Bloom is dating a London model. She says the pair have been "friends for years." Okay then.

7.44am STRANGE BUT TRUE: A cat cafe is set to open in Melbourne. Yep, you read it right. CAT CAFE. No, cats aren't the menu item - they are the diners.

7.42am TV NEWS: Did anyone catch When Love Comes to Town last night? I forgot it was on - and STILL don't have Channel 9 at home. Here's a recap if you missed it. Looks like it was drama-filled! I would expect nothing less.

7.40am BREAKING: A 76-year-old man is facing charges after allegedly exposing himself in front of school children on the NSW mid-north coast. Police said three girls, aged 15 to 17, were walking past a house in Taree on Tuesday, when the man allegedly exposed himself from inside the property. The man was arrested and charged with wilful and obscene exposure. He is set to appear in Taree Local Court on June 10. (AAP)

7.38am Speaking of weddings, Kim Kardashian is preparing herself for her big day this weekend - she got a $550 stem cell facial. Ew. All I can say is ew.

7.36am STRANGE BUT TRUE: You have to see these pictures of a giant sea turtle crashing this couple's beachfront wedding. Too funny. Not funny for them - as a bride-to-be, I should be more compassionate.

7.34am WORLD NEWS: The Shield star Michael Jace has been arrested and charged with murdering his wife in LA.

7.32am LOCAL NEWS: Bulli rapist Terry John Williamson was a Christian man living with his "hard-working" Christian parents in their Corrimal home at the time of the brutal attacks. Read the full story here - don't forget to sign the petition.

7.30am A little hump day funny for all those mums out there - anyone guilty of this!?

7.28am TV NEWS: The US has just announced the new TV shows set to hit our screens - and there's some cool stuff coming! Here's a little sneak preview.

7.26am Have you seen our new Game On column on a Saturday? It’s choc-ful of analysis, opinion pieces and the best five NRL games of the week. Check it out.

7.24am WORLD NEWS: Twin car bombings have killed 46 people at a crowded market in the Nigerian city of Jos, as emergency workers struggled to contain a raging fire, officials say.

7.22am Teeeheehee to this pic - I'm chuckling at my desk! I can never get my pets to hang out the washing!

7.20am LOCAL SPORT: Luke Price's first interstate trip as a trainer is a nervous one, as his talented four-year-old Belle De Coeur sweats on entry into Saturday's Glenlogan Park Stakes (1350m) at Doomben.

7.18am This video of a dog trying to catch treats in slow-motion is oddly compelling. Watch.

dog

7.16am TV NEWS: Channel Ten is poised to axe its ailing breakfast show Wake Up and its early, morning and late news bulletins – forcing at least 50 staff out of their jobs.It is believed the struggling network will announce the program cancellations and job cuts as early as this week. Yikes! (SMH)

7.14am STRANGE BUT TRUE: A new McDonald's Corp. character named Happy is inspiring a different emotion among Twitter users: fear. Check him out here - agreed, way creepy!

7.12am Volunteers needed! The Wollongong Eistedfodd is in urgent need of helpers - see below for deets.

7.10am BREAKING: An eight-year-old girl has been attacked int he grounds of her Melbourne school.

7.08am TIGS Biggest Morning Tea is on at the Lagoon this morning. Yum!

7.06am NATIONAL NEWS: In case you missed this yesterday, Treasurer Joe Hockey has launched defamation proceedings against Fairfax Media over front-page articles headlined "Treasurer For Sale". Here's the full story.

7.04am STRANGE BUT TRUE: So I hate those "My Family" stickers on the back of cars. But I never thought they could be dangerous! Apparently crims are using them to figure out when/who might be in someone's home before they rob it. Nice!

7.02am LOCAL NEWS: The notorious strip between Crown Street Mall and Wollongong Railway Station will be put under the microscope in a University of Sydney study addressing economic and social problems, which have long marred the area.

-Council reporter Kate McIlwain has the full story here.

7am Ready for another rousing round of "anywhere but here"? Today, I'd rather be sunning myself in Bora Bora. Sigh.

6.58am CELEB GOSS ALERT: US singer Ciara has had a baby boy - and she's named him ... Future. Oh boy.

6.56am Good morning! If you're just tuning in, watch out for some showers today. All is sweet on the roads & on the trains. That animal carcass is still on the Princes Hwy, just north of Nowra - watch out!

6.54am LOCAL NEWS: Forget punishing your kids by not letting them watch TV - taking their phones away is much more effective. That is one of the findings in Telstra's Connected Home Index, which looks at how pervasive internet use has become in the home.

-Reporter Glen Humphries has the full story here.

6.53am MUSIC NEWS: Australian singer-songwriter Sia has recreated her song Chandelier's lauded videoclip for US talk show host Ellen DeGeneres. But Sia refused to face the camera during or after singing the hit song. Check it out below - weird.

6.48am Have you seen our new page 2 "herenow"? It's choc-ful of news, weather, police briefs & everything you need to know without reading through the whole paper.

6.47am TRAFFIC ALERT - South Nowra: the lane has re-opened after that earlier accident.

6.46am SPORT: At age 11, Lucy Li has become the youngest golfer ever to qualify for the US Women's Open. Li, of Redwood City, California, earned her spot in the tournament by firing rounds of 74 and 68 at a sectional qualifying tournament. NB anyone else feel inferior? When I was 11, I was still playing with Barbies!

6.44am The Banff Mountain Film Festival returns to Wollongong tonight. It features more than two hours of the world’s best adventure and action sport films. It's on at the University of Wollongong Hall from 7pm-10pm. Tickets: $30 from www.banffaustralia.com.au.

6.42am STRANGE BUT TRUE: Webster's dictionary has added "selfie" and "turducken" to the dictionary. NB a "turducken" is a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken - so much bird.

6.40am WORLD NEWS: At least six people have died & 45 have been injured in a train collision in Russia overnight.

6.38am NATIONAL NEWS: More than 80 per cent of Aussie children fail to get one hour of exercise each day, ranking them behind Britain and Finland as among the least active in the world. Ouch.

6.37am MUSIC NEWS: Tickets to Coldplay's exclusive show at the Enmore are on-sale at 10am today. Expected to sell out in microseconds :(

6.36am CELEB GOSS ALERT: I love this story - Paris Hilton attended a party at Justin Bieber's Cannes home but left early because ... he wouldn't stop playing his own music! Ha! He should have played her little diddy, Stars are Blind.

6.34am ​LOCAL NEWS: Almost 100 rail staff parking spaces on the South Coast line will be returned to commuters under a NSW government plan. Check out where you'll soon be more likely to get a park here.

6.32am We've had the pug pizza, how about the taco cat? Awww, taco cat.

6.30am SPORT: NSW coach Laurie Daley is offering long-suffering Blues fans no promises after rolling the dice with the selection of rookie halves and a pack of ageing and underdone forwards for the State of Origin series opener. Check out the full line-up for the opener here.

6.28am MUSIC NEWS: Mick Jagger is a great-grandfather! The 70-year-old's granddaughter Assisi Jackson, 21, has reportedly given birth to a girl. The child's name has not been made public. (SMH)

6.26am So, I'm thinking about getting a dog - and I really, really want a pug. This makes me want one even more - pug pizza anyone?!

6.24am We've launched a campaign to keep Bulli rapist Terry John Williamson under supervision for the rest of his life. Sign the petition here.

6.23am NATIONAL NEWS: Nervous shoppers are threatening to close their wallets following the Coalition's hard-hitting budget, with consumer confidence falling at the fastest rate since before the global financial crisis, a major bank survey shows.

6.22am A little exercise funny for you this morning - if you're at the gym or about to go, you'll appreciate this!

6.20am WORLD NEWS: Australian Tonya Lee has told a court that Rolf Harris invited her to sit on his knee in a London pub, then he sexually abused her, when she was 15 years old. Check out the latest on the trial here.

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

6.16am LOCAL NEWS: Hundreds of Illawarra residents are expected to attend a Save Medicare rally in Wollongong's Civic Plaza on Saturday.

-Health reporter Lisa Wachsmuth has the full story here.

6.14am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Some people just don't get it - Kim Kardashian's ex Ray J wants to give her a v strange wedding present. He's offered to give her a cheque for $47,000 - that's four months' profit from the leaked sex tape they starred in seven years ago. I'd go with candlesticks instead.

6.13am TRAFFIC ALERT: South Nowra - one southbound lane @ Hillcrest Ave is blocked due to a two-car accident.

6.12am NATIONAL NEWS: Prime Minister Tony Abbott has cancelled a visit to Deakin University’s Geelong campus with Victorian Premier Denis Napthine on Wednesday, an event protesters were targeting. More protests are expected today over the federal budget. (SMH)

6.10am WORLD NEWS: The Oscar Pistorius murder trial has hit a snag - it's set to be delayed until the end of June while Pistorius undergoes psychiatric evaluation.

6.08am CELEB NEWS: Courtney Love has come out with some sad news - she says she tried to help & mentor Peaches Geldolf before her death.

6.06am Let's check out the national headlines:

*The chaplaincy program boosted by the federal government has left secular workers out of a job. (SMH)

*University vice-chancellors are agitating for a delay in the deregulation of course fees. (SMH)

*Joe Hockey’s budget has apparently shattered consumer confidence and is starting to pose a risk to the economy. (The Age)

*In a surprise finding, women suffer post natal depression at its greatest rate four years after the birth. (The Age)

6.04am Here's what's making news in your Mercury today:

*A Farmborough Heights man accused of fatally stabbing his girlfriend before turning the knife on himself has physically and verbally abused medical staff during his time in hospital, a court has heard.

*A victim of the Bulli rapist who mounted a public campaign to have Terry John Williamson placed under supervision for the rest of his life has received a massive response on online petition site change.org - read more here.

*Unanderra quadriplegic Richard Kramer will lose more than 200 hours of personal care each year under changes to disability support required by the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

*Two new events could be staged in the Illawarra, as Wollongong City Council works to replace the Gran Fondo cycling festival that failed to get off the ground. Find out what they are here.

6.02am Let's wake up with the latest weather & traffic, shall we?

WEATHER We might get some rain today! There are chances of a shower this morning - we're in for a top of 22 degrees. Right now, it's 15 in Albion Park and 17 in Bellambi.

TRAFFIC All is swell on the region's roads but watch out for an animal carcass (bleurgh!) on the Princes Hwy, just north of Nowra. It's a clear run to Sydney too.

TRAINS CityRail says there's a good service on the South Coast line.

6am Good morning & happy hump day Wednesday - we made it to the middle of the week, yippee! Stay with your host, Emma Spillett, this morning for all the latest news etc.

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