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

8.32am That's it from us this morning - we're wrapping things up a little earlier as Emma Spillett attends to other duties. Enjoy your day, stay warm! Oh, and a special birthday shout-out to my love. Happy birthday!

8.30am NATIONAL: At a cost of about half a million dollars, the state government has come up with a Lycra-clad man with a card around his head to promote its new public transport payment system. NB Have a look here at the pic of "Opal Man" - ridiculous!

8.28am There are MAJOR problems on the South Coast Line this morning - apparently the 7.17am from Wollongong is stuck outside Waterfall. We're thinking of you commuters!

8.26am RED CARPET: What do you think of Keira Knightley's Chanel dress? I'm confused. The top half is STUNNING but what is the bottom half? I don't get it. Please explain...

8.24am NATIONAL: There have been calls this morning for a parliamentary inquiry into illegal housing after a large industrial fire in inner Sydney revealed a squatters’ camp. Click here for more information - the accommodation, aka shipping containers, were advertised as "quiet and peaceful." 

8.22am Planning a summer holiday? The Hayman Island Resort has had a massive revamp. And it looks beautiful! Check it out here.

8.20am Exactly one month after Doc Neeson's death, the Angels will bring their legendary 40th anniversary tour to TBH. The guys are playing tomorrow night. Don't miss it!

8.18am CELEB GOSS ALERT: George Clooney has been busy planning his September nuptials. The best man? Reports point to Brad Pitt. NB how do I get an invite to this wedding!?

8.16am And in some other health news this morning, slouching isn't just making your posture bad - it's also making you sad (I'm a poet & I didn't know it!?). New research reveals slouching can make you sad and may even dumb you down. Stand up straight people!

8.14am HEALTH: Older women who get pregnant with donor eggs face greater complications, according to a new study.

8.12am LOCAL SPORT: Wollongong will host its first ever regular season A-League clash when Sydney FC meet Newcastle Jets at WIN Stadium on January 3 next year. Great to see the region getting some soccer games!

8.08am LOCAL NEWS: A Barnardos holiday house in Shellharbour has been given a makeover by contestants of popular reality show House Rules.

*Lisa Wachsmuth has the full story here.

8.06am NATIONAL: A Sydney skier is lucky to be alive after he was caught in an avalanche in Thredbo. Read his amazing story here.

8.04am A little bit of a history lesson this morning: the Imperial Hotel at Clifton was a sanctuary for coalminers back in its prime. What year did it open?

8.02am CELEB GOSS ALERT: David Beckham has stripped down to his undies for a new H&M promotion. Ladies, you're welcome.

7.58am Good morning! Welcome if you're just tuning in. We're in for a mostly sunny day with a top of 18 degrees. All fine on our roads & for the drive to Sydney. There are delays on the South Coast line - allow extra travel time.

7.56am Australian professional wrestler Tenille Dashwood has been arrested in the US for stealing a $US22 iPad case from a Wal-Mart store.

7.54am LOCAL NEWS: A 20-centimetre kitchen knife was used in an attempted hold-up at a Woonona service station on Monday. Police have released CCTV images of the alleged offender - click here for the pics.

7.52am MOVIE NEWS: There is a sequel to Horrible Bosses. The second film, starring Jason Bateman, Charlie Day & Jason Sudeikis, is due out on December 11.

7.50am I found another animal in PJs! This time, it's a baby sloth. A SLOTH! And the PJs are custom and blue and I can't talk anymore as I'm choking up from the cute. Thanks Kyles for passing this one on!

7.48am LOCAL SPORT: As the Commonwealth Games swimming team ramps up preparations for Glasgow, Wollongong open water swimmer Jarrod Poort has his sights firmly set on a second Olympics berth - in Rio de Janeiro.

7.46am A decision is set to be delivered in the Supreme Court this afternoon on ‘‘Bulli rapist’’ Terry John Williamson who was put on an extended supervision order after his parole finished earlier this year.

7.44am MUSIC NEWS: Tickets for Suzi Quatro's Wollongong show go on-sale today from 10am. Get in quick!

7.42am Who doesn't love pub grub?! But some pub meals are really bad for you. According to this guide, nachos, schnity & fish and chips are a no-no. But say yes to steak, salmon or a hamburger - but NO chips!

7.38am STRANGE BUT TRUE: Lord of the Rings star Dominic Monaghan fancies himself as a bit of a Steve Irwin. He's building a name for himself as an intrepid adventurer in the wildest corners of the world. Nothing like a career change!

7.36am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Gwyneth Paltrow has been posting pictures of herself portraying other famous celebrities. Think Brigitte Bardot, Madonna & Audrey Hepburn. It's part of an ad campaign for Max Factor.

7.34am SPORT: Sydney Swans star Adam Goodes may have proven to himself he can still contribute to a top-shelf team but says he is no closer to making a decision on whether he will play on next year.

7.32am Oh my, this is a pig wearing PJs. I repeat, a pig wearing PJs. I want pigjamas. And a piggy.

7.30am LOCAL NEWS: The Baird government has been accused of ignoring the advice of its own agencies in allowing the expansion of underground coalmining into Sydney's protected water catchment area. The Planning Department has given the go-ahead to the second stage expansion of Metropolitan Colliery's Helensburgh coalmine, which includes mining under the Dam Safety Committee notification area for Woronora Reservoir.

7.28am The loom band craze has hit Lindsay Park Public School. The kids are holding an exhibition of their work - click here for some great pics from our snapper Kirk Gilmour.

7.26am TIARA ALERT: How gorgeous does Princess Beatrice look!? She stepped out in this beautiful frock for last night's Serpentine Summer Party in London. Stunning - and I love the purple shoes!

7.24am A little Thursday funny for you. Man, I love memes.

7.22am NATIONAL: A 22-year-old man has been charged with drink driving after his car crashed into a house in Penrith, shattering glass over a man sleeping inside. He was bailed to appear at Penrith Local Court today. (AAP)

7.20am Looking for a fun night out? The Social is hosting Fiesta Thursdays tonight, 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.

7.18am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Looks like Catherine Zeta-Jones & Michael Douglas might have reconciled! The pair are holidaying together in Rome with their kids.

7.16am LOCAL SPORT: The A-League All Stars, featuring Italian superstar Alessandro Del Piero, will set up camp in Wollongong before their blockbuster clash with European giants Juventus next month, in a massive coup for the region.

7.14am TV NEWS: I've found possibly the dumbest TV show ever created. Bet on Your Baby - a show where parents bet on what their baby will do. On TV. For money. 'Nuff said.

7.12am We might be battling the cold weather here but spare a thought for the folks in North Carolina in the US - they're under a hurricane warning as Tropical Storm Arthur heads towards them.

7.10am HEALTH: Australia has had a victory in the first step of the plain cigarette packaging challenge being played out in an international investment tribunal. The Permanent Court of Arbitration has ordered that Australia will be allowed to challenge Philip Morris Asia's right to contest our plain packaging laws. Get the full story here.

7.08am WORLD NEWS: Iraq’s leadership was under increased pressure yesterday to form a new government to deal with a militant onslaught that has threatened to tear the country apart, after parliament’s first session ended in disarray.

7.06am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Brynne Edelsten has a new man friend! The 31-year-old is dating ... wait for it ... Red Ra. Well, that's his social media name, we're yet to learn his actual name! Looks pretty cute though.

7.02am LOCAL NEWS: Two University of Wollongong students have earned substantial scholarships from the federal government to study in Asia next year as part of the New Colombo Plan.

*Education reporter Kate Walsh has the full story here.

7am How cute is this puppy? He's just trying to see his new sister, baby Isabelle, but he just can't make it onto the bed.

6.58am Good morning! Welcome if you're just tuning in. We're in for a mostly sunny day with a top of 18 degrees. All fine on our roads but there is a diesel spill on Taren Point Rd, affecting southbound traffic. Be careful! There are delays on the South Coast line - allow extra travel time.

6.56am NATIONAL: Three men have been charged over the execution-style murder of a father-of-two who was shot before he could give evidence at a trial relating to Sydney's infamous "Golden Gun" cocaine syndicate.

6.54am Americans are gearing up to celebrate the Fourth of July tomorrow - and so are their pets! Check out these patriotic pooches.

6.52am The Wollongong Hawks are calling fans to back the boys. The first home game is October 10 at the WEC. Support our Hawks!

6.50am Have you been keeping up with the Wollongong Eistedfodd? We've got the latest results & pics from the folk dancing section here.

6.48am MOVIE NEWS: Melissa McCarthy has a new movie out. Tammy, opens today. Looks very funny. I love Melissa - she was so fantastic in Bridesmaids & Gilmore Girls.

6.46am STRANGE BUT TRUE: China has unveiled proposals for the development of a “floating city”, complete with underwater chambers and a self-contained ecosystem, off the country’s coast. Cool! NB would everyone need a snorkel?

6.44am BREAKING: There has been a mid-air emergency on a Qantas A380, bound for Melbourne from LA, as a water pipe burst, flooding the cabin.

6.42am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Cameron Diaz has given a pretty candid interview to Esquire magazine. She told the mag she doesn't have kids because she was "never drawn to being a mother." She said: "I'm just what I am. I work on what I am. Right now, I think, things are good for me." You go girl.

6.40am WORLD NEWS: A Californian couple have been arrested for allegedly keeping their 11-year-old autistic son in a metal cage designed for an animal.

6.38am Have you bought your tickets to Legally Blonde yet? The show opens at the WEC tomorrowGet all the details here, including an interview with performer & i98FM radio host Bianca Dye.

6.36am I've found the animal with the fluffiest tale in the world! The rare "vampire" squirrel, which hides in the hills in Borneo, has the bushiest tail. Oh I love bushy tails...

6.34am SPORT: Andy Murray has been knocked from his Wimbledon throne in straight sets, losing to 11th seed Grigor Dimitrov.

6.32am A pop-up art exhibition is on at Thirroul Railway Hall this weekend. Drift, featuring works of the "coal coast", will run until Sunday.

6.30am Today is Complement your Mirror Day. Yep, you read right. Tell your mirror you love it, give it a kiss!

6.28am NATIONAL: The surfer who died on Tamarama Beach yesterday was a well-known publisherMatthew Richell, a father-of-two from Balmain, died after he was swept onto rocks while surfing. Mr Richell was the chief executive of Hachette Australia.

6.26am CELEB GOSS ALERT: So we always thought Ryan Gosling & Rachel McAdams were the dream pair in The Notebook. Um, no. Apparently, the pair were "really not" getting along on day one of filming - Ryan even asked for Rachel to be replaced!

6.24am TIARA ALERT: Apparently the Queen & Kate Middleton are having a bit of a tiff. The Queen has reportedly criticised Kate for her "excessive overspending" on house renovations. Oh dear!

6.22am WORLD NEWS: Fresh claims have surfaced against Australian entertainer Rolf HarrisAustralian singer Queenie van de Zandt has claimed she and her friends were allegedly targeted by Harris while working as his back-up singers at a Brisbane concert in 1988.

6.20am LOCAL NEWS: A mother with two children at Warilla Child Care Centre has described the decision to delay deciding the future of the facility as a "glimmer of hope".

*Education reporter Kate Walsh has the full story here.

6.18am MUSIC NEWS: Has Queen B confirmed that hubby Jay-Z cheated on her? That's the rumour from the couple's On the Run tour. Apparently, Beyonce changed the lyrics to track Resentment, singing: "I gotta look at her in her eyes and see she’s had half of me. She ain’t even half of me. That b*tch will never be." Ouchey.

6.16am SPORT: Nick Kyrgios will not enter the Wimbledon semi-finals, having been unable to replicate his monstrous upset of Rafael Nadal against monster-serving Canadian Milos Raonic. Good effort Nick!

6.14am STRANGE BUT TRUE: British artist Tracey Emin's controversial creation My Bed has shattered the record for one of her artworks at auction selling for £2.54 million ($A4.64 million).The work features an unmade bed and a littered floor including empty vodka bottles, cigarette butts and discarded condoms. Just what you've always wanted in your lounge room!

6.12am TRAIN ALERT - South Coast Line: Allow extra travel time due to urgent track repairs at Unanderra. Buses may supplement some services.

6.10am WORLD NEWS: The Oscar Pistorius murder trial has heard the athlete remains severely traumatised, after fatally shooting Reeva Steenkamp.

6.08am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Must be nice to have famous parents! Check out this snap of Pink's daughter Willow flying first class, enjoying her Cheerios our of a "proper" bowl.

6.06am And in national news (via the SMH):

  • Australian officials are secretly screening asylum seekers who are still at sea via video link amid claims some would-be refugees are to be transferred at sea into Sri Lankan custody.
  • The YMCA has been branded an unsafe child organisation after systemic failures allowed a paedophile to groom and molest 12 young boys in his care, according to a report.
  • Tony Abbott has thrown his support behind a more assertive Japanese military, as a leading Chinese analyst warned that the growing tensions on China’s periphery were going to get worse.
  • A firebrand Australian Muslim preacher says he is joining the ‘‘caliphate’’ established by ultra-violent jihadists in the Middle East - a move that could prove a powerful new magnet to would-be extremist fighters.

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

  • The University of Wollongong is attempting to gag an outspoken critic of fee deregulation who dubbed Vice-Chancellor Paul Wellings "out of touch" for supporting the reforms.
  • Historic Anita’s Theatre is set to become the jewel in the Illawarra’s cultural crown, with new owners to transform the dormant venue into a thriving spot for music and the arts.
  • Before becoming a sadistic rapist, Terry John Williamson was a stalker and voyeur who would break into women's homes at night and masturbate in their bedrooms while they slept.
  • If you are a human resources manager, economist, teacher or optometrist in the Illawarra you are in luck, as jobs in your profession are set to grow in the next 20 years.

6.02am Let's kick things off with the latest weather & traffic.

WEATHER We're in for a mostly sunny day with a top of 18 degrees. Right now, it's -1.8 in Albion Park (good lord!) and 6 degrees in Bellambi. RUG UP!

TRAFFIC All fine on our roads but there is an accident at Loftus (Princes Hwy near Farnell Ave) - one northbound lane is shut. There are also some traffic lights flashing yellow at Brighton Le Sands.

TRAINS All is well on the South Coast line.

6am Good morning and happy Thursday! Hope you're having a good week. Stay with your host, Emma Spillett, this morning for all the latest news et al.

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