9am That's it from us this morning. Have a lovely Monday - see you tomorrow!
8.34am I read this story yesterday and thought it was absolutely hilarious - readers, I give you the world's most useless gadgets. There's the iPod toilet roll holder or how about the i-potty - an iPad connected to a potty. I kid you not. Check them out for yourself here.
8.32am Shellharbour's KidsFest wrapped up on the weekend - snapper Andy Zakeli got some great pics of the kids enjoying the last of the festivities.
8.30am CELEB NEWS: Patrick Swayze's widow has remarried in a lovely beach wedding. Oh, that's so nice.
8.28am Australian researchers are working on high-tech buoys that could alert lifeguards via satellite to sharks lurking offshore. The idea is to create networks of buoys a few hundred metres from beaches, creating an unbroken detection perimeter, says Hamish Jolly, co-founder of Perth company Shark Mitigation Systems. The company has unveiled work on a prototype of the ‘‘clever buoy’’, saying a polished version could be market-ready in as little as one year. (AAP)
8.26am LOCAL SPORT: Warilla went a small way towards easing bitter memories of last year's grand final loss to Gerringong with a clinical 32-6 trouncing of the Lions on Sunday at Cec Glenholmes Oval.
8.24am Photography is very important at any wedding & each couple should find their own style. But some of these shots are just awful - the bride falling from a cliff while the groom creepily looks on?! Weird...
8.22am Looking for a bit of inspiration in the kitchen this week? Here's a handy weekly meal planner with some delish recipes.
8.20am LOCAL NEWS: Keeping up with a gifted child can feel like the "Grand Inquisition every day" for Keith Greenan, who attended a parenting workshop in Wollongong on Sunday. Read the full story here.
8.18am WORLD NEWS: President Obama made a surprise visit to US troops in Afghanistan, marking Memorial Day.
President Obama visited Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan to thank our troops for their service this Memorial Day: http://t.co/PQ5Ah7bZ49— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 25, 2014
8.14am Today is also National Sorry Day, which marks the start of National Reconciliation Week.
8.12am We've had a flood of entries for our cartoon competiton, yay! There's still time to enter - get them in by 3pm today.
8.10am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Bruce Willis has introduced his new baby girl into the world via a pic of his wife breastfeeding their little girl Evelyn.
8.08am POLITICS: A battle is looming over the fate of the federal government's Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency, which was earmarked for axing in the budget papers. National asbestos support groups, lawyers and unions say the public will suffer continued deadly exposure if the agency is abolished.
8.06am Ladies & gents, there is a new emoticon - I bring you ;( - apparently it signals sarcasm/self-awareness that the information you're conveying is petty i.e. gym or ice-cream ;(
8.04am Today is Missing Children Day. Thinking of all those parents who are waiting for their kids to come home.
8.02am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Angelina Jolie & her kids reportedly slept at Taronga Zoo during their recent visit to Australia. Cute!
8am STRANGE BUT TRUE: A UK family have had their five-month-old baby boy removed from their care because they failed to give the boy a name. The judge in Watford ruled that the baby should be taken into care after the “emotionally harmful” decision not to name him.
7.58am SPORT: In what could be a glimmer of hope for the Socceroos to do the impossible in Brazil, Tim Cahill says he has not witnessed such intensity in the national team since the 2006 World Cup, such is the competition for places in the final 23-man squad. (SMH) NB Fingers crossed for our boys in the World Cup but they've got a HORRIBLE draw.
7.56am Good morning! Happy Monday if you've just tuned in. It's going to be mostly sunny today with a top of 24. Everything looks good on our roads & the trains.
7.54am Another Monday funny for you - these e-cards are HILARIOUS, who comes up with this stuff!?
7.52am BREAKING: Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen has rejected suggestions Labor is taking a ‘‘wrecking approach’’ to the government’s budget. The opposition says it will back the government’s temporary deficit levy on people earning more than $180,000. But it is refusing to negotiate on other key measures such as the Medicare co-payment, pension and welfare changes, and the deregulation of university fees. (AAP)
7.50am Looks like this Thursday night at the Unibar is going to be awesome - local band Jenny Broke the Window + Shining Bird and others.
7.48am This week is National Palliative Care week. A big shout-out to all those who work in palliative care - it's a difficult job.
7.46am MUSIC NEWS: Bob Dylan celebrated his 73rd birthday yesterday by announcing he's coming to Australia in August. Check out the details below.
7.45am TRAFFIC ALERT - Mt Ousley: there's a three-car accident southbound but traffic is still moving. Just be careful around there!
7.44am LOCAL NEWS: Firefighters from across the country gathered in Wollongong over the weekend to learn how to better engage with their communities to improve fire safety. Here's the full story from reporter Kate Walsh.
7.42am This picture is a crack-up - cats calling for the legalisation of cat-nip. Nice!
7.40am About half the asylum seekers in detention on Manus Island and Nauru are suffering from significant depression, stress or anxiety, according to clinical assessments. (SMH)
7.38am A little Monday funny for you - who doesn't love a good chess joke!?
7.36am Have you been snapped out and about in the Illawarra? Check out our gallery of social pics here.
7.34am NATIONAL: A record $1 billion in stamp duty from home sales was collected by the NSW government in the first quarter of the year as Sydney's property market continues to boom before next month's state budget. (SMH)
7.32am I've got strange-but-true posts coming left, right & centre this morning - now I've just discovered 7-11 has released a line of hipster drink bottles complete with moustache straw.
7.30am TV NEWS: Georgie Gardner has just announced she is leaving the Today Show on Channel 9 - and the gang looks pretty upset! Well, except Karl...
7.28am STRANGE BUT TRUE: A Scottish couple have taken snaps of a Lego version of themselves in spots all over the world - check out the gallery here, it's pretty cool.
7.26am Want to win tickets to the second Origin game? Just submit your favourite Origin memory (in 25 words or less!) and you’ll have a chance to win tix for you & three mates to head off to game two on June 17. Nice!
7.24am LOCAL NEWS: The Mercury BlueScope band competition was responsible for unearthing some of the Illawarra's most talented bands, and the man behind it all is hoping his new venture can be just as successful in promoting young musicians.
-Josh Butler has the full report here.
7.22am I have found my dream job - panda nanny. Yep, it's a thing and it's in China. Here's the job description - any other takers?
7.20am Looking for a fun night out? New Wollongong eatery The Social is hosting Fiesta Thursdays, serving up a range of sangria specials to go with tasty $5 tapas plates. You can also head there for an after-work drink from Tuesday to Friday from 5pm to 7pm.
7.18am STRANGE BUT TRUE: If you missed this last week, here is a video of Morgan Freeman's voice on helium. Why? Who knows - but the video's had more than 7 million views.
7.16am MOVIE NEWS: There's something in the Coppola gene pool - another Coppola has broken into the film industry. Check out what Gia Coppola, 27, is doing.
7.14am So we've had pigs and cats this morning, why not a baby goat? Readers, meet Frostie - he is adorable and he has a wheelchair and I just want to squeeze him and love him.
7.12am LOCAL SPORT: Helensburgh claimed top spot on the Illawarra Coal League ladder with an impressive 25-0 victory over northern rivals Thirroul at Gibson Park on Sunday.
7.10am Ever had a REALLY dodgy hair-cut? You're not alone - check out these celeb hair fails. There are some CORKERS in here.
7.08am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Beyonce & Jay Z skipped Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's wedding BUT Beyonce did send the pair a lovely message via Instagram. I would have preferred silverware but each to their own.
7.06am LOCAL NEWS: Work will start this week to improve road safety at Yallah with the installation of a concrete median safety barrier on the Princes Highway. Work will be carried out from 7pm to 5am, Sunday to Thursday, weather permitting. A reduced speed limit of 40km/h will be in place.
7.04am MUSIC NEWS: Is Pink pregnant? She's been tweeting some very cryptic msgs but no official confirmation yet...
7.02am A seven-year-old girl has suffered serious injuries after a car struck her and her mother and three year old sister in a fast food car park in Sydney’s west. Police say a car exiting the drive-through at the restaurant on Hassall Street, Rosehill, struck the family as they walked through the car park about 8.30pm on Sunday. The seven-year-old was taken by ambulance to Westmead Children’s Hospital where she is in a critical but stable condition. (AAP)
7am Haha awww this cat is a little confused - he thinks he's a penguin. Bless his little paws!
6.58am MOVIE NEWS: J-Law, aka Jennifer Lawrence, is gearing up for another film with American Hustle & Silver Linings Playbook director David O. Russell - cool!
6.56am Good morning! Happy Monday if you've just tuned in. It's going to be mostly sunny today with a top of 24. Everything looks good on our roads - there is an accident @ Sutherland (Old Princes Hwy @ Auburn St) so just be careful. All good on the trains too.
6.54am LOCAL NEWS: A Berkeley bakery has raised more than $3000 for April-lee Gillen, the teenager who was struck in a hit-and-run incident in Lake Heights in April. Berkeley Cakes and Pies sold pink-frosted cupcakes on Wednesday and Thursday, with money from each treat going towards the 17-year-old and her family.
-Kate Walsh has the full story here.
6.52am WORLD NEWS: Traumatic memories that haunt people with post-traumatic stress disorder might be eased by a pill from Novartis now used to treat multiple sclerosis, a study of mice suggests. (SMH)
6.50am As many of you know I'm getting married next year. This wedding planning business is stressful - and now I have to worry about what the groom is going to do as HE walks down the aisle? Yep - the groom in this video has set the bar high with his amazing ball skills - as he walked down the aisle. Crap!
6.48am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Wednesday Adams is pregnant! Well, not quite - her alter ego, actress Christina Ricci, is pregnant. She announced she's expecting yesterday.
6.46am LOCAL SPORT: NSW forward Trent Merrin believes his relationship with surfer Sally Fitzgibbons can help take both of their careers to a new level.
6.44am BREAKING WORLD NEWS: A candlelight vigil has been held in Santa Barbara in the US to remember the victims of yesterday's shooting.
6.43am Sydney has had 17 consecutive days over 22 degrees - it's a May record. Wow! (Channel Nine)
6.42am Police have urged people attending Vivid Sydney to be patient following overcrowding and missed stops on trains, buses and ferries as large crowds make the most of the unseasonably warm weather. NB have you been up to Vivid yet? It looks fantastic! Just make your travel plans in advance!
6.40am Speaking of animals, I bring you the cat burger - no, it's not a cat fried with some lettuce. It's a cat in a giant toy burger. Awwww.
6.38am Struggling to get out of bed? You're not alone, this piggy is too - try getting a loved one to bring you a cookie. It worked for the pig!
6.36am TV NEWS: Game of Thrones fans, look away now! We've got a leaked casting sheet and heaps and heaps of spoilers. DO NOT CLICK below if you wish to remain in the dark about Season Five.
6.34am It's game one of the State of Origin on Wednesday night. Can the Blues end their long. long losing streak? We hope so!
6.32am LOCAL NEWS: Residents of the Cedar Grove Estate in Kiama believe a proposed 98-lot subdivision on the ridge to the south will create dangerous traffic conditions through the estate's narrow streets.
-Alex Arnold has the full report.
6.30am TIARA ALERT: Prince Harry, you son-of-a-gun - apparently he partied with a go-go dancer until the sun came up over the weekend! Yiew!
6.28am We all know chocolate is bad for our dogs but did you also know milk, cheese, onion, garlic and grapes can do damage too? Read more here.
6.26am Last week we told you about McDonald's new mascot that had received a rather, well, underwhelming reception. The reason? It's freaky-looking. Check out how these kids react to it - too funny.
6.24am Detectives are expected to re-interview a Sydney neurosurgeon after fresh evidence emerged of a series of drug-fuelled sex orgies that may shed new light on the overdose deaths of two prostitutes, for which he was jailed. NB If you missed these stories by SMH reporter Eamonn Duff yesterday, you should DEFINITELY read them. Great yarns!
6.22am Don't forget we're crossing every hour to Pulse 94.1FM with all the latest from the Rush.
6.20am We all know Frozen is taking over the world so it's nice to see a father & daughter enjoying a car-trip without the Disney classic. Their song of choice? Fancy by Iggy Azalea - check out this video, hilarious.
6.18am LOCAL NEWS: Claims universal health care will be killed with the $7 co-payment to visit the GP have been described by Liberal Member for Gilmore Ann Sudmalis as "absolute rubbish".
-Bree Fuller has the full story here.
6.17am BREAKING: Channel 9 is reporting that former NSW policeman Glen McNamara has been charged with the murder of missing 20-year-old Jamie Gao. Woah. Watch this space for more.
6.16am CELEB NEWS: Congratulations to Hermoine aka Emma Watson! She graduated from Brown University over the weekend. Smart cookie!
6.14am LOCAL SPORT: When Bulli's Sharn McNeill takes on the Cairns ironman event next month, she'll have an army behind her. About 100 supporters will travel to Cairns for the June 8 ironman competition which the 31-year-old will tackle despite being diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of motor neurone disease
-Get the full story here.
6.12am MUSIC NEWS: Poor ol' Miley - now she's got a stalker! She's been forced to slap a restraining order on a 24-year-old who believes the singer is communicating with him through her music.
6.10am TV NEWS: Have you been watching The Voice? We STILL don't have Channel 9 so I haven't watched anything - if you're like me, here's a recap of last night's ep.
6.09am WORLD NEWS: This story out of the US is just awful - police have removed three bodies from the apartment of a 22-year-old Californian man after a killing rampage that left six dead and seven in hospital. The killer, Elliot Rodger, also died after an exchange of gunfire with police. Authorities said he apparently killed himself. Get the full report here.
6.08am CELEB GOSS ALERT: If you've been living under a rock, you may not know that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West tied the knot on the weekend in Florence. We've got all the deets on the wedding below.
6.06am Let's check out the national headlines, courtesy of the SMH:
*The Abbott government is facing an early budget shortfall because it has no hope of passing many of its key measures through the existing Senate
*NSW MP Catherine Cusack, the new chairwoman of the women parliamentarian’s steering committee, says she is concerned about the decline in the number of women parliamentarians.
*Christopher Pyne has challenged universities not to increase fees for current school leavers, saying it is their call whether to include them in a deregulated fee system from 2016.
6.04am Here's what's making news in your Mercury today:
*Swimmers keen to take advantage of this month's record temperatures were once again able to cool off in Wollongong's Continental Pool, as it partially reopened on Saturday following several weeks of renovations.
*An adventurous pooch had a lucky escape on Saturday after it became trapped halfway down a steep cliff in Gerringong.
*‘‘Hands off Medicare.’’ - that was the message hundreds of Illawarra residents chanted as they gathered at Wollongong’s Civic Plaza on Saturday for the Save Medicare rally.
*A North Wollongong convenience store was held up by a man brandishing a sword on Saturday evening.
6.02am Let's kick off this Monday with the latest weather, traffic & trains.
WEATHER It's going to be another glorious day - mostly sunny with a top of 24. If this is winter, I want it all year round! There is powerful surf out there today so be really careful in the water.
TRAFFIC All is clear on the region's roads & for the run to Sydney.
TRAINS There is a good service on the South Coast line.
6am Good morning. Happy Monday - or not if you had a great weekend and have a bad case of Mondayitis! Stay with your host, Emma Spillett, this morning for all the latest news etc.