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

8.52am That's it for today's Morning Rush. Have a lovely day and come back tomorrow to catch up with the latest news.

8.48am For your chance to win a double pass to 'S', the latest show from acclaimed contemporary circus company Circa, on the 31st July at 6.30pm at the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre, simply fill out the entry form available here with your details.

8.44am Here's some breakfast inspiration on this cool morning.

8.40am SPORT More than 26,000 headed to the at Hunter Stadium for the Knights v Titans match over the weekend – the centrepiece of the NRL’s Rise For Alex Round. Alex McKinnon suffered a career-ending spinal injury against the Melbourne Storm in March. The NRL pledged $1 for every ticket sold during the round to the Alex McKinnon Fund, which will provide ongoing financial and medical support for the injured Knights back-rower. 

8.32am Wollongong City Council is calling on Illawarra performers, artists, stallholders and creatives to bolster the ranks of the 2014 Viva La Gong festival.

For more information, see wollongong.nsw.gov.au.

Extroverts wanted: The Viva La Gong Festival parades through the streets of Wollongong in November 2013.Picture: ADAM McLEAN

Extroverts wanted: The Viva La Gong Festival parades through the streets of Wollongong in November 2013.Picture: ADAM McLEAN

8.28am LE TOUR Richie Porte has been stricken by a chest infection in the Tour de France that leaves his hopes of finishing the race hinging on a daily assessment by his Sky team doctor. SMH

8.24am LOCAL NEWS A controlled drinking program at the University of Wollongong aims to help curb the Aussie drinking culture.

Unlike abstinence programs for those with very serious drinking problems, the university's program teaches moderation to people with a mild to moderate dependence on alcohol.

8.20am A ceremony will be held at the Civic Plaza in Wollongong on Monday evening to give members of the community the chance to pay tribute to those lost aboard flight MH17.

8.16am TRAFFIC ALERT A broken down car on the Princes Highway at Blakehurst has been cleared from the road, but one northbound lane remains closed and there is heavy traffic. If you’re heading to the city, expect delays.

8.12am CELEB GOSS  TV’s Hercules, Kevin Sorbo, is upset he wasn't included in the new movie about the demigod, which stars The Rock. I seriously loved this show when I was growing up - between it and Xena, my afternoons were pretty much sorted.

8.08am LOCAL NEWS A community meeting will be held in Nowra on Monday to seek a firm commitment from the federal government to keep the Shoalhaven Paper mill in operation. 

8.04am July 21 is the birthday of actor Robin Williams and author Ernest Hemingway. 

It's 8am. Roads and trains are looking good around the Illawarra. The sun is out, but it's still a relatively chilly 11 degrees.

7.56am Don’t forget Keira Street in Wollongong will be closed to traffic between Crown Street and Market Street until September to allow the expansion of Wollongong Central. Pedestrians can still get through.

7.52am Kiama's Inspiring Women are holding a Christmas in July dinner and a night with comedian Jean Kittson this Friday night at the Kiama Sebel. Tickets from www.JeanKittson.eventbrite.com.au or call 0411 417 363. 

7.48am TRAINS ALERT Earlier problems with signals at the level crossing at Albion Park have been addressed, and there is now good service on the South Coast line.

7.44am Albion Park Public School will hold a remembrance service on Monday for popular former deputy principal Michael Clancy and wife Carol, who were killed when Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down. Counsellors will be on site for students and staff, with an area in front of the school for the community to lay flowers and pay tribute to the couple.

7.40am ROYAL GOSS The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge released pics of Prince George walking all by himself to celebrate his first birthday. What a cutie!

7.36am WORLD NEWS Prime Minister Tony Abbott has spoken with Russian President Vladimir Putin as Australian begins gathering support for a draft United Nations Security Council resolution to condemn the shooting down of MH17 and demand an independent investigation. SMH

7.32am LOCAL NEWS A golf course that was supposed to cost Shellharbour ratepayers nothing has now cost them $7 million - and counting, according to Shellharbour City councillor Peter Moran. On Tuesday night Shellharbour City councillors will be given two reports relating to The Links, Shell Cove's golf course. 

7.28am Today is Junk Food Day. A great excuse to tuck into that choccie or make a trip to Maccas.

7.24am CELEB GOSS Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine and Victoria’s Secret model Behati Prinsloo were married in Mexico over the weekend.

7.20am The Commonwealth Games kick off on July 23 in Glasgow. They run until August 3, with sports including rugby league, netball and squash.

7.16am Shoalhaven Police say there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the discovery of woman’s body near Bomaderry Creek on Sunday afternoon. 

7.12am WORLD NEWS US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday that "enormous amounts of evidence" indicated that a Russian missile was used to shoot down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. SMH

7.08am TRAFFIC ALERT If you’re heading to the city this morning, one city-bound lane is closed on the Princes Highway at Blakehurst, near Hatfield Street, following a car breakdown.

7.04am LOCAL NEWS Uncle Gerald Brown was delighted to be named male elder of the year at the Illawarra Regional NAIDOC Awards held in Kiama on Tuesday night.

It's 7am. The roads are looking good, but passengers on South Coast trains  are advised to allow additional travel time due to urgent signal repairs affecting the level crossing at Albion Park. It temperature still hasn't cracked 11 degrees.

6.56am In the mood for a longer read over breakfast? Reporter Josh Butler spoke with a Wollongong expert and Bishop Peter Ingham about the act of exorcism in the Catholic Church.

6.52am LOCAL NEWS About 20 residents of Ukrainian heritage filed into Wollongong’s Saint Volodymyr Ukrainian Catholic Church on Sunday morning for their weekly service, and to reflect on the tragedy in the Donetsk province of Ukraine. 

Grieving: Father Michael Szyjan leads the Sunday prayer.Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

Grieving: Father Michael Szyjan leads the Sunday prayer.Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

6.48am WORLD NEWS Israel said it had further expanded its ground offensive in Gaza after Hamas militants entered Israel, ambushing an army patrol killing two soldiers. SMH

6.44am A tribute wall has been set up on the SMH for the Australian victims of MH17. Leave your message here.

6.40am There’s no extra holiday for Anzac Day next year, despite it falling on a Saturday. Unlike Australia, Christmas, Boxing and New Year’s Days, Anzac Day isn't granted an extra day under the NSW Public Holidays Act. Cue sickies. SMH

6.36am Actor James Garner, known for his roles in western-comedy series, Maverick, and as an older version of Ryan Gosling in The Notebook, passed away on the weekend. He was 86.

6.32am MOVIE NEWS Beyonce caused a stir on the weekend when she released a teaser trailer for the movie of bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey on her Instagram account. The quick clip features little more than a few shots of a guy in an office and some hands. The film hits cinemas next Valentines Day.

6.28am SPORT It seems the way is being paved for Wayne Bennett to be announced as head coach of the Brisbane Broncos, after he called Lachlan Murdoch on Sunday to convince the News Corporation boss he could turn around the struggling team.

6.24am On this day in 1902 Willis Carrier created the first air conditioner in New York, while in 1954 the Geneva Conference partitioned Vietnam into North Vietnam and South Vietnam . In 2007 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the fastest-selling novel ever, was published.

6.20am In some happier news, revered music venue Anita’s Theatre was buzzing with noise of a different kind on Sunday as the Wild Rumpus Maker’s Market took over the historic Thirroul institution for the first time. 

6.16am LOCAL NEWS Police investigating the crash that killed 17-year-old Albion Park girl Casey-lee Hull have asked witnesses to come forward. It is believed the teenager lost control of her car as she tried to negotiate a left hand bend on Boollwarroo Parade, before it mounted the western kerb and struck a large tree. 

6.12am LOCAL NEWS It’s been a tough weekend on the roads in the Illawarra. A 24-year-old Chatswood man was killed in the Royal National Park on Sunday when his motorbike collided with a sedan. Later that afternoon, a 23-year-old woman was thrown from her bike at Bulli Pass, sustaining a suspected fracture to the left leg and dislocated left elbow. On Saturday, a 42-year-old Springfield man who crashed his motorbike into a power pole at Austinmer, snapping the vehicle in two.

6.08am Let’s take a look at the national news, courtesy of the SMH

*Pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine say they are keeping what they believe to be the MH17 black boxes in the eastern city of Donetsk, but they say they will need experts to confirm the boxes are in fact the doomed plane's flight recorders.

*Victor Oreshkin, a devoutly religious man from Lidcombe in Sydney's west, has been identified as the fifth NSW victim of the MH17 tragedy. 

*Real estate agent, Toni McHugh has spoken about her affair with former lover Gerard Baden-Clay, who was last week convicted of murdering his wife Allison.

6.05am Tributes have poured in for Kanahooka couple Michael and Carol Clancy, who were among 36 Australians on the Malaysian Airlines aircraft MH17, which was shot down over Ukraine on Friday with the loss of all 298 people on board.

*On Friday night, Mrs Clancy’s daughter Jane Malcolm, 37, told the Mercury of her ‘‘absolute shock’’ as she realised her mum had been involved in the devastating crash splashed all over the news. Long-time colleague and friend Jim Cooper will remember Mr Clancy as “one of the strongest men I have ever known”.

*Former students, parents and friends have paid tribute online to Mr and Mrs Clancy, including people from the Illawarra, Perth, Canberra, Newcastle and Bermagui where he had taught.

*A ceremony will be held at the Civic Plaza in Wollongong on Monday evening to give members of the community the chance to pay tribute to those lost aboard flight MH17.

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

WEATHER A bit of a chilly morning to start the week. Right now it’s 10 degrees with a top of 17 expected. It will be a partly cloudy day with light winds and the chance of showers along the coast.

TRAFFIC Looking good on the roads around the Illawarra this morning. There are ongoing roadworks at Mount Ousley and Gerringong, and parts of Keira Street in Wollongong remain closed to traffic.

TRAINS There is goods service on the South Coast Line.

6am Happy Monday! Let's kick off another week with today's edition of Morning Rush.

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