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

8.59am That's it for Wednesday's edition of Morning Rush. Enjoy the State of Origin - or Offspring, if that's more your vibe.

8.55am For a summary on what the Illawarra will receive from the state budget, head to this story. What do you think?

8.52am Enjoy this relatively sunny day and almost beach-lworthy conditions. The rest of the week is set to be cloudy, with a shower or two developing on Friday. 

Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

8.48am CELEB GOSS Lovely celebrity couple Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield have used their paparazzi attention to hold up signs directing people to charities they care about. Have a look at the pics here.

8.45am WORLD CUPThe Socceroos can be "almost unstoppable" forward Mathew Leckie says as he talked up Australia's chances of staging an upset over a rampant Netherlands on Thursday.

Meantime, midfielder Mark Milligan will miss the game after sustaining an injury in training.

8.41am A magistrate has told lawyers representing four police officers, including Senior Constables Eric Lim of Wollongong police station and Senior Constable Scott Edmondson of Bulli, in relation to the death of Brazillian student Roberto Laudisio Curti to clear their diaries so the case can go ahead this year.

8.38am On this day in 1830, the French invaded Algeria, in 1928 Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly in an aircraft across the Atlantic Ocean and in 1996 Ted Kaczynski, suspected of being the Unabomber, is indicted on ten criminal counts.

8.35am TRAFFIC ALERT The earlier accident at Cataract has now cleared.

8.32am The Dapto Anxiety Support Group will meet at 10am on Friday July11 at the Dapto Ribbonwood Community Centre.

The group meets regularly on the second Friday of each month to provide support for people with panic attacks, social phobia, agoraphobia, obsessive compulsive disorder and generalised anxiety disorder.

8.29am  A team of researchers led by Anne-Maree Parrish from the University of Wollongong's Early Start Research Institute is determined to find a way to make students more active during the day.

8.25am CELEB GOSS Quirky songstress Sia has come under fire for directing her thousands of Twitter followers to write bad reviews online for a drycleaner that ruined one of her garments. In the words of Spiderman's uncle, with great power comes great responsibility. Huffington Post

8.22am TIGS' production of the classic story The Secret Garden begins today and runs across the weekend. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for concession.

8.19am TV CHATTER The Powerpuff Girls are returning! The cartoon ran from 1998-2005 and had a huge cult following. A new series will be on air in 2016. My inner preteen is so happy.

8.16am WORLD NEWS A suspected Mexican drug trafficker on his way to watch his national soccer team play in the World Cup.

Jose Diaz-Barajas, 49, was arrested at Rio de Janeiro's Tom Jobim airport on Monday night as he boarded a plane to Fortaleza, where Mexico played Brazil Tuesday. SMH

8.13am Scientists and art experts have found a hidden painting beneath one of Pablo Picasso's first masterpieces, "The Blue Room," using advances in infrared imagery to reveal a bow-tied man with his face resting on his hand. But who is he?

8.10am Looking for a fun night out? 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 every Tuesday to Friday - enjoy $5 house beer & wine from 5pm to 7pm.

8.06am Port Kembla's iconic stack is long gone, but it will stand as a symbol of the region for future generations thanks to the latest acquisition of Wollongong Art Gallery.

The gallery recently unveiled Between The Escarpment And The Sea, a painting and assemblage work from celebrated Australian artist Colin Lanceley.

8.03am A fundraising website went live on Monday to grant African refugee Tumezghi Tesfay his wish to join other refugees and migrants on a trip to Canberra to learn about Australian culture.

Mr Tesfay was violently bashed at five days after arriving in the country.

To donate, go to http://www.mycause.com.au/page/77731

It's 8am. For commuters, there is an accident at the Appin Road turnoff of the Princes Motorway, and buses replaces trains between Bomaderry and Oak Flats. But it's a beautiful sunny day with a top temp of 18 degress

7.56am Today is National TAFE Day with communities across the country rallying to support their TAFEs and stop further cuts.

7.52am WHSPA presents The Pirates of Penzance. It’s on from Thursday June 19 to Saturday June 28. Shows at 7.30pm and 2pm on Saturdays. Tickets are selling fast - visit www.wollongong-h.schools.nsw.edu.au/whspac-box-office-online to book

7.49am A guard rail is about to go up on a section of Appin Road that has claimed three lives in just over five years, most recently that of 28-year-old Rene White died in a head-on crash last week.

7.46am Number of World Cup wins by country. I see a pattern....

7.43am TRAFFIC ALERT There's a car accident affecting northbound traffic on the Princes Highway at Appin Road. 

7.40am Cute animal time - though I'm not sure this is the correct way to keep sloths

7.36am STATE BUDGET Economics god Ross Gittins has his take on Premier Mike Baird’s first budget. Oh Ross, I never would have made it through my HSC economics exams without you. 

7.33am A Wollongong police officer who allegedly failed to charge a female suspect and then tried to kiss her has pleaded not guilty, while his senior colleague, accused of allowing the misconduct to take place, has also entered a not guilty plea.

7.30am TIARA NEWS No wonder Pippa Middleton looked so good in her bridesmaid dress. The Duchess of Cambridge’s little sis was spotted cycling hard in the Race Across America. 

7.26am For your chance to win a double pass to see Legally Blonde the Musical at the Win Entertainment Centre on Friday 4th July at 7:30pm simply complete the entry form.

One lucky winner will also receive an exclusive meet and greet experience with one of the cast members AND a midweek tandem skydiving gift voucher valued at $399, thanks to 'Skydive the Beach and Beyond'. 

Competition closes 5pm Sunday the 22nd June

7.23am Residents of Shellharbour Village angered at plans to close their library are urged to pencil July 4 into their diaries. Shellharbour City councillor Kellie Marsh has organised for a protest rally to be held on the lawn at the front of the library in Wentworth Street.

7.20am WORLD CUPTim Cahill has become the greatest ever Socceroo, writes SMH football writer Michael Cockerill

7.16am Today is Sauntering Day. So relax and go for a flaneur around the town.

7.13am Queensland’s environment minister says the World Heritage Committee is being misinformed about the health of the Great Barrier Reef. Andrew Powell has travelled to the annual meeting of the UNESCO group in Doha, which is considering whether to list the reef as a World Heritage site in danger. AAP

7.10am CELEB GOSS Katy Perry has started a record label. Called Metamorphosis Music, her first signing is Ferras, a musicians who has written for Adam Lambert and Ricky Martin.

7.06am  STATE BUDGET Mercury reporters Kate McIlwain and Lisa Wachsmuth were in Sydney yesterday finding out how the Illawarra would be affected by the state budget. Take a look at some of their stories.

*The ongoing upgrade of the Princes Highway in the southern Illawarra was the region’s biggest winner in this year’s budget, with about $170 million to be committed for projects between Albion Park Rail and the Shoalhaven. 

*The Illawarra’s Labor MPs have labelled the NSW budget a con job, a slap in the face and a ‘‘kick up the bum’’, expressing shock and disappointment in the ‘‘minor crumbs’’ Treasurer Andrew Constance delivered for the region.

7.03am TRAIN ALERT The 5.23am Campbelltown to Moss Vale service as been cancelled due to the train requiring mechanical repairs at Campbelltown. Buses will replace the 7.06am Moss Vale to Campbelltown service.

7am Rise and shine everyone. The roads are looking good for the morning commute and buses are replacing trains between Bomaderry and Oak Flats. We're in for a mostly sunny day with winter temps, but right now it's 14 degrees in Wollongong.

 6.57am 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. 

6.53am What’s the best way to sleep on a plane? I say sleeping pills, but some less drug-induced suggestions are available here. Although nothing’s going to help you if your partner has fallen into a snoring stupor. 

6.50am TV CHATTERThe top 16 deaths (of about 1000!) in Game of Thrones so far. Be warned, there’s obviously spoilers if you’re not caught up on season four. Sob.

6.46am Celebrating their birthdays today are Paul McCartney, Richard Madden (aka the King of the North!)  and country singer Blake Shelton.

6.43am STATE OF ORIGIN The little smirk that flashed across Josh Dugan's face said it all. He knew how lucky he was to be even talking to Laurie Daley again - let alone the media throng moments after his NSW recall had been confirmed.

6.40am Dunmore, Flinders, Shell Cove - the name of the train station between Oak Flats and Minnamurra continues to cause confusion, after the Geographical Names Board has ruled out both Flinders and Shell Cove as options because the new station is not within the boundaries of either suburb and is officially located at Dunm

6.37am CELEB GOSS Chris Martin has serenaded hundreds of fans in a small inner-western Sydney park as Coldplay filmed a music video in Newtown on Tuesday. The video involved them walking from Kelly’s Bar on King Street, carrying their one-man-band kits as they marched through the streets, followed by the extras like modern-day Pied Pipers. AAP

6.33am For all those not enamored with the World Cup I present soccer, according the The Simpsons. Love it.

6.30am In Cruise Control, which opens on Wednesday at the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre, three couples book themselves for a luxury cruise ship, but find themselves trapped together for seven days and nights.

6.27am STATE OF ORIGIN NSW coach Laurie Daley says his side won't fall for any of Queensland's mind games ahead of State of Origin two at ANZ Stadium on Wednesday.

6.23am Sport nuts, you have a big decision to make tonight. Do you grab a few hours sleep between the end of the State of Origin and the start of the Australia vs Netherlands World Cup game at 2am? Or do you pull an all-nighter? I know one boy who is planning a quick one-hour nap when he returns from the footy tonight.

6.20am TRAFFIC ALERT Both southbound lanes on Mount Ousley are clear after an earlier accident.

6.17am WORLD CUP There’s a live blog of the Brazil-Mexico match on the SMH this morning. If you can’t quite get out of bed and drag yourself to the telly, this is a good option

6.14am Awww. Tennis player Michaella Krajicek was treated to a special surprise after she won her first match at the Hertogenbosch grasscourt tournament in the Netherlands. Her bf, German player Martin Emmrich stepped onto the court and popped the question. Luckily, she said yes. AFP

6.11am STATE BUDGET Mercury reporters Kate McIlwain and Lisa Wachsmuth were in Sydney yesterday finding out how the Illawarra would be affected by the state budget. Take a look at some of their stories.

*Illawarra and South Coast hospitals shared in a $1.3 billion building boom for NSW hospitals in the 2014-15 state budget. No new major hospital or health projects were announced for the region, however the big infrastructure spend included funding allocations for major projects already underway.

*Illawarra schools missed out on a $400 million capital works program announced in the state budget to upgrade and provide new school facilities.

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

*NSW Treasurer Andrew Constance says an ailing state budget has been fixed, likening it to a car that has been declared roadworthy after three years of being rebuilt. On Tuesday he confirmed a surplus of $1 billion for this financial year. This will be followed by a $283 million deficit in the next financial year then surpluses of $660 million in 2015-16, $2.1 billion in 2016-17 and $1.6 billion in 2017-18.

*Australia will declar confidence in the future of US power and commit to continue intensifying the alliance in new realms including space in a speech Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop will give on Wednesday.

*Australia Post could be given the OK to end the everyday delivery of standard mail and introduce a two-tiered pricing system as early as year's end, under reforms being considered by Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

*The world’s meteorologists and climate experts are watching closely for another burst of westerly winds across the Pacific that could trigger the first El Nino weather pattern since 2009-2010.

6.05am Here’s a look at a few of the top stories in today’s Mercury

*The Illawarra has once again played the poor relation to its northern cousin in the NSW Budget, with the Hunter receiving yet another massive windfall in the annual spending plan.

*The wife of murdered Sydney businessman John Gasovski says her husband was a caring man, who loved spending time with their four children and barracking for the Swans. Mr Gasovski's body was found in bushland near Jamberoo lookout on Sunday morning, an autopsy revealing he had been shot in the head.

*A gondola connecting the Wollongong escarpment to the beach is the centrepiece of a grand plan to transform Mount Keira into an adventure playground.

*An inquest in Wollongong Coroner’s Court this week is scrutinising how a man was found dead hours after he discharged himself from Wollongong Hospital - his body outside, surrounded by empty packets of prescription medication.

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

WEATHER Again we will experience a top of 18 degrees in the Illawarra today. It’s mostly sunny, but a little frosty this morning. Right now it’s almost 14 degrees in Wollongong.

TRAINS Buses replace trains between Bomaderry and Oak Flats until early Saturday morning. Some buses start from or continue to Dapto/Wollongong. Otherwise there is good service on the South Coast line.

TRAFFIC There is an accident between a car and a truck on Mount Ousley Road affecting southbound traffic this morning, but otherwise looking clear from Nowra to Sydney.

6am Good morning Illawarra and welcome to the hump day edition of Morning Rush. Grab your cuppa and settle in as your host Kate Walsh brings you the latest news and web snippets this morning.

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