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

8.59am That's it from me today. Don't forget to pop by again tomorrow.

8.55am Let's finish the morning with an awesome throwback photo of Kiama in 1920

8.51am The internet has made it easier to slam restaurants for poor service or praise those that went the extra mile, but it also means your eatery of your choice can suss you out before you arrive for dinner. There's a good chance the maitre d' knows if you're a fussy eater, or a good tipper, according to this insider.

8.47am Ann B. Davis, who played housekeeper Alice in The Brady Bunch, has died aged 88.

8.43am CELEB GOSS Nicole Kidman refuses to read any of the negative press about her latest film Grace of Monaco. Probably a wise move - there is a lot of it. SMH

8.39am June 3 is Know Bull! Day. It’s designed to raise awareness of bullying in the workplace & how to get rid of it.

8.35am In the mood for a longer read? University of Wollongong student Paul Russell was on the brink of a promising ballet career when he decided to hang up his point shoes and chase a new dream of ministry work with the Anglican Church.

8.31am The Shoalhaven Coast Winter Wine Festival from June 7-9.

8.27am The  Australian Medical Association has said doctors could be forced to churn through patients more quickly in order to absorb cuts to their income linked to the proposed $7 Medicare fee.

8.23am Chris Gruar cycled a long way to get some fish and chips at Belmore Basin - about 45,000 kilometres.

Mr Gruar has just spent more than two years pedalling his way from Britain, across Europe and Asia, and down through Australia to raise money for the Association for International Cancer Research.

He officially finishes the ride on Monday in Sydney

8.19am Sandygoodwich if offering a cooking class this month

8.15am Stanwell Park residents - don't forget a few TV channels are changing their frequencies on Wednesday as part of the final stage of the switch to digital television.

8.11am Seven missing bushwalkers have called a relative to say they are safe after spending the night in a cave in the Blue Mountains. The group went missing yesterday afternoon, with the police search resuming at first light today. Police say the seven were quite an experienced group of walkers but weren’t prepared for an overnight stay and didn’t have an emergency beacon. AAP

8.07am The finalists in the Mercury Cartoon Competition have been announced. Take a look at some of the entries here.

The 20 finalists will be on show at Wollongong Art Gallery from June 26 until July 10.

8.03am On this day in 1953, the coronation Queen Elizabeth II took place. In 1962,  police had to intervene multiple time in the FIFA World Cup Chile and Italy game, one of the most violent football games ever. 

It's 8am. Hopefully you're well on your way to getting to work or getting to school. Or, even better, you're still in bed. Roads are looking clear, trains have good service and right now it's 15 degrees in Wollongong.

7.57am Fashion designer Bettina Liano was ordered by a judge to pay more than $150,000 in bad debts after failing to turn up to her own hearing in the Supreme Court. SMH

 7.53am WORLD NEWS Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, the sole American prisoner of war held in Afghanistan, was flown to a US military hospital in Germany after being freed in a swap deal for five Taliban militants. He had been held for nearly five years. SMH

7.49am The Kiama Farmers' Market every Wednesday has been bumped forward an hour as winter begins

7.45am LOCAL SPORT Wests set up a blockbuster top-of-the-table clash with leaders Helensburgh this week with a 28-8 win over Collegians on Sunday. Read the match report here.

7.41am The wet weather couldn't keep the crowds from a plateful of pasta, as people flocked to the Tutti in Piazza Italian Week celebrations in Wollongong Mall. Rain couldn't keep me away from delicious carbs either.

7.37am Is this the best throw ever? At a soccer match at Wembley over the weekend, a fan aimed a paper plane from high up in the stands and it hit one of the players all the way down on the field. Take a look.

7.34am And speaking of illegally downloading shows, the latest ep on Game of Thrones is on tonight. After a one-week hiatus, I'm sure there are others suffering from withdrawal.

7.31am WORLD NEWS One of the founders of file sharing site Pirate Bay has been arrested following two years on the run after being sentenced to eight months in prison and fined several million pounds for copyright violations. SMH

7.27am In weird and wacky days of the year, June 2 is Rocky Road Day - yum. And, more awesomely, it's Leave the Office Early Day, so you have a legit reason to duck home before 5.

7.23am TRAFFIC ALERT Mount Ousley is now clear following an earlier truck breakdown.

7.20am Great read by Fairfax columnist Annabel Crabb - in this era of oversharing, are we really generous enough? One to think about as you check your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds this morning.

7.16am A brazen gang of vandals stopped a train at Otford station on Saturday morning so they could spraypaint a mural on the side of one of the carriages. Glen Humphries has the report. 

7.12am Twenty-five years ago, the LA Times Magazine took a shot at predicting what the city would look like in 2013. They were a little off.

7.08am Researchers at the University of Wollongong have looked deep into the eyes of the common house fly to find out how the insects see clearly in moist environments without fogging up and how bespectacled humans might do the same. Reporter Angela Thompson has the story.

7.04am The Heart Foundation is urging people to ditch the winter greys and blacks and break out some bright red – all in the name of a good cause. Go Red this June and help the Heart Foundation beat heart disease, the single biggest killer of Australian women. Hold a Go Red fundraiser & raise some cash!

It's 7am. Weather-wise it's a bit drizzly, the roads are looking okay (watch out for a truck breakdown heading up Mount Ousley) and the South Coast train line has good service.

6.57am WORLD NEWS Six climbers likely fell a thousand metres to their deaths while climbing Washington's Mount Rainier on Saturday. SMH 

6.54am SPORT Roger Federer is out of the French Open before the quarter finals, his earliest defeat in the comp since 2004. SMH

6.50am Police are to resume their search at first light for seven bushwalkers who failed to return from a hike in the Blue Mountains. The missing bushwalkers, five men and two women aged between 27 and 69, are believed to be in Cedar Valley at Katoomba. The group, which set off on their walk at about 8.30am on Sunday, was last seen about 1pm on Narrow Neck Plateau. AAP

6.46am Neville Burns is a far, far braver person than I. The snake handler was the star attraction at the Bulli Show on the weekend. Take a look at the pictures here.

6.42am TRAFFIC ALERT A truck has broken down in a northbound lane on Mount Ousley Road, just before New Mount Pleasant Road. Drivers should exercise caution.

6.39am Work will start on Picton Road at Wilton next month. The work involves road resurfacing westbound between Janderra Lane and the Hume Highway to provide motorists with a smoother surface and better travel conditions. Work will be carried between June 10 to 16 from 7pm to 5am, except Friday and Saturday, weather permitting. Partial lane closures and reduced speed limits will be in place during work. Motorists should plan their journey, allow extra travel time, follow all signs and the direction of traffic controllers.

6.35am CELEB GOSS Ginnifer Godowin and hubby Josh Dallas, who play Snow White and Prince Charming in the show Once Upon a Time, has a baby boy on May 29.

Matthew Le Nevez, aka the beautiful Patrick from Offspring, and his partner Michelle also welcomed a daughter over the weekend

6.31am This is definitely what I need this morning - coffee with a touch of pirate.

6.27am A walking trail through the old Bombo quarry has been named the "Thunda Track" by Kiama Municipal Council. Report Alex Arnold has the full story.

I now have Thunderstruck stuck in my head.

6.23am NATIONAL NEWS The SMH has some good background on former NSW detective Roger Rogerson, one of the men charged with the murder of Sydney student Jamie Gao. Definitely worth a read if you've heard his name pop up over the past few days, but are unclear on exactly who he is.

6.19 Well, this could be the cutest outfit for a newborn ever.

6.15am Time for the June 2 celeb birthday list. Today actors Justin Long and Wentworth Miller, comedian Wayne Brady and author Thomas Hardy all celebrate, or would have celebrated in Hardy's case, their birthdays.

6.12 SPORT A battered and bruised Trent Merrin has quashed any doubts about putting his own body on the line again - and now he's challenged his Dragons teammates to do the same in an attempt to resurrect their flagging season. Read the full story here.

6.08am Here’s the national headlines, courtesy of the SMH:

*A Tamil asylum seeker on a bridging visa has died with burns to 90 cent of his body after apparently dowsing himself in petrol and setting himself on fire in Geelong in fear of being sent back to Sri Lanka.

*Education Minister Christopher Pyne has confused the debate about proposed increases to university fees by appearing to contradict the government's own website over who will be affected by the budget changes.

*The Les Caravelles building in Monte Carlo has been revealed as the mailing address for Akira Investments Ltd, a generous donor to the Free Enterprise Foundation, a mysterious entity closely linked to the Liberal and National parties.

*Former soldiers and intelligence operatives have been sent to infiltrate a network of anti-coal protesters aiming to thwart a multibillion dollar expansion of coal production in northern NSW.

6.05am Here’s some of the top stories in today’s Mercury

*Keiraville residents fed up with traffic and parking congestion have added Harkness Avenue to their list of trouble spots, with university students turning it into a one-way street with their parked cars.

*A man who took a gun he bought days earlier to his girlfriend’s workplace after she said she was ending the relationship was granted strict bail in Wollongong Local Court on Saturday.

*A five-year-old boy got a nasty surprise at Woonona McDonald’s last week when he bit into a near-raw six pack of chicken nuggets.

*Shellharbour MP Anna Watson has described NSW government's move to abolish the Lake Illawarra Authority as a bureaucratic mess. Legislation to formally abolish the LIA was introduced to Legislative Assembly last week, a year after the NSW government announced the LIA would be replaced by "an estuary management committee".

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

WEATHER There will be scattered showers and clouds this morning - winter is well and truly here. A top temp of about 20 degrees in the CBD.

TRAFFIC It’s looking good around the Illawarra at this early hour and on the way to the city. Don’t forget there are roadworks at Mount Ousley and Gerringong.

TRAINS There is good service on the South Coast line.

6am Good morning Illawarra! Hopefully you are reading this still snuggled in bed - it's wet outside today. Stay with your host Kate Walsh until 9am for all the latest news and buzz.

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