8.53am That's it from us this morning. See you tomorrow!
8.48am STRANGE BUT TRUE: Cory Tschogl says she has an Airbnb squatter - a guest who rented her Palm Springs, California vacation condominium, then stopped paying rent, refused to leave and threatened her with legal action. Ha!
8.47am A grandpa has surprised everyone with his age-defying dance moves. Check this guy out!
8.42am A little blatant self-promotion: Morning Rush has been named as a finalist in the PANPA awards. Yay, go the Rush!
8.38am And in some breaking MH17 news: pro- Russian rebels have handed the black box to Malaysian officials at a government building in eastern Ukraine.
8.36am MH17: The UN Security Council has voted unanimously to support Australia's resolution demanding full and unfettered access for investigators at the Malaysia Airlines jet crash site in eastern Ukraine.
8.34am TV NEWS: Grab your diary & lock in July 30 @ 7.30pm - The Bachelor Australia is BACK! I CANNOT WAIT!! You know you're going to be getting recaps. I think this season is going to be VERY exciting. Watch this space...
8.32am LOCAL SPORT: Illawarra Stingrays' finals hopes took a massive blow via a 4-1 loss to North West Sydney Koalas on Sunday.
8.30am BREAKING: A woman has been found dead near a saddled horse in a paddock on the central coast. Police say the 41-year-old’s death on a Girvan property is not considered suspicious. A report is being prepared for the coroner. (AAP)
8.28am I love this. After a three-day weekend, is anyone else feeling this?!
8.26am Did you watch 60 Minutes on Sunday night? Fascinating story on Gerard Baden-Clay. His mistress spoke out, stating: "he killed for himself." Get the full story & watch excerpts from the interview here.
8.24am I've just become aware of a new trend: fakecationing. Basically, you put yourself wherever you want to be & get the word out via social media. Want to be in Paris? Just tweet/FB/instagram pictures of the Eiffel Tower. Nice! Next week, I'm off to Bora Bora...or am I?
8.22am LOCAL NEWS: Wollongong real estate agent Leigh Stewart is leading the Red Cross blood bank charge. Find out why here.
8.20am Speaking of Splendour in the Grass, I've just discovered that London Grammaer has pulled out of the festival. I take it back - line-up not so good now.
8.18am MH17: The passengers and crew who died in the MH17 tragedy have at last begun their journey home. Australian officials will observe as the remains of their compatriots are loaded onto a Netherlands military transport plane and flown to Amsterdam for identification. The bodies will then be returned to their home cities, and their grieving families. (SMH)
8.16am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Kim Kardashian's worst quote yet: "taking selfies is the purpose of my life." Wow. Just wow.
8.14am Splendour in the Grass kicks off this Friday in Byron Bay. V jealous of all those attending - what a great line-up! Although, I think my festival days are over, I'm far too old to party all night & sleep in a tent.
8.12am MOVIE NEWS: The '80s are back. Well, the films, not the hairstyles. Cheesy '80s hits are having a come-back in cinemas - think Top Gun, Dirty Dancing, The Princess Bride etc. Click here for some memorable lines from '80s films.
8.10am Good news for nappers! Apparently, short naps improve your memory & enhance your problem-solving skills. 30 minutes only ... if you need me, I'll be under my desk. Zzzzz.
8.09am NATIONAL: Two asylum seekers in detention on Manus Island say they were forced to retract their eyewitness accounts of violence in February after being beaten and threatened by Australian officials at the centre.
8.08am SPORT: Darius Boyd could follow Wayne Bennett to Brisbane.
8am LOCAL NEWS: With the "house full" sign up at Shellharbour Cemetery and a forecast of 15 years until Albion Park is full, Shellharbour Councillor Kellie Marsh says the time is right for the council to start investigating options for a new city cemetery.
*Alex Arnold has the full story here.
7.58am Good morning! Happy Tuesday if you're just tuning in. We're in for a partly cloudy day with a top of 17 degrees. All is good on the roads & rail.
7.56am MUSIC NEWS: Rumours are swirling that Adele might be heading down under. There's whispers of a tour. Watch this space.
7.54am UOW has an app. It's free & available on your iphone. The new myUOW app allows people to get UOW updates on programs, events & special offers - all via their trusty phone. Well played UOW, well played.
7.52am MH17: Malaysia Airlines re-routed a Kuala Lumpur-to-London flight over Syrian airspace on Sunday after its usual route over Ukraine was closed, flight tracking data showed yesterday.
7.50am STRANGE BUT TRUE: It seems not just firies rescue cats from trees. The Blue Mountains Police Rescue team came to the aid of a cat stuck 10 metres up a tree last week. Aww. Nice work guys!
7.46am LOCAL NEWS: A Figtree man has been sent to jail for stealing another man's gambling winnings - in a club he was banned from entering.
7.44am Did you get to the maker's market on Sunday? What a great event. Not only did I pick up some lovely arty purchases but I discovered the hummus bar. Yep, a small vendor selling bowls of hummus. Mmmmm.
7.42am CELEB NEWS: If you missed this yesterday, James Garner, star of TheNotebook & The Great Escape, has died, aged 86. He had suffered ill-health since a severe stroke in 2008.
7.40am BREAKING: Police are hunting an arsonist suspected of lighting three separate fires at a townhouse complex in Brisbane. (AAP)
7.38am SPORT: I love this story - the German national team may have over-celebrated their World Cup win - they broke the World Cup. The team chipped a small piece off the golden award while celebrating with it. Ha!
7.36am STRANGE BUT TRUE: A Chinese restaurant in Sydney's CBD is under fire for charging 10 per cent more for English-speaking diners. Yep, I kid you not. The restaurant's reply? "Sometimes people who come a lot get a discount."
7.34am Okay, so I'm not one to spruik clothing lines but I'm making an exception - Peter Alexander has an absolutely AWESOME new range of PJs out. They're based on movies - there's Harry Potter, Star Wars, Marilyn Monroe & the Wizard of Oz. Peruse the website for more ... there goes my day!
7.32am LOCAL NEWS: A Port Kembla driver caught behind the wheel without a licence for the seventh time has been jailed for six months.
7.30am MH17: Russia said its flight records show a Ukrainian fighter jet was flying close to the Malaysian passenger airliner just before it crashed and that Kiev was operating radar stations used for missile systems. Separately, a Russian television program has claimed that the US Central Intelligence Agency was behind the downing of the commercial jet liner.
7.28am Remember the Olsen twins, oh man they were cute babies (I was watching Full House re-runs last night, hilarious!) Well the talented pair are now designing wedding dresses - and they're pretty damn good at it too.
7.26am MOVIE NEWS: Boy movie alert! The Expendables 3 hits theatres on August 14. I can already feel my brain bleeding out of my ears...
7.24am LOCAL SPORT: Bulli versus Dapto Dandaloo could very well be the game of the season in the Illawarra Premier League, according to Jacob Timpano. The league's heavyweights clash at Balls Paddock on Saturday in a match which is set to be crucial in the title race.
7.22am I have found my new best friend! One of the world's most successful businessmen has called for a three-day workweek. Agreed! Yay, three day workweek for all!
7.20am NATIONAL: A Sydney paramedic fell to his death while attempting a dangerous rescue manoeuvre that neither he nor his team had been trained to use, the coroners court has heard. The inquest into the incident at Bridal Veil Falls, near Wollongong, continues.
7.18am CELEB GOSS ALERT: How cute is Michael Buble's little boy!? OMG adorable. He even has his own hashtag - #noahbuble. Cute, cute, cute x1000. Oh, and dad ain't bad either...
7.16am Illawarra swimmer David McKeon has just tweeted a picture of the Commonwealth Games pool in Glasgow.
7.14am TV NEWS: Simpsons fans, it's Maude Flanders all over again. Another character has been slated to die, this time in the first episode of season 26. It will air in the US on September 28. My guess? Krusty the Clown.
7.12am HEALTH: A record number of Aussies are heading o/s for IVF gender selection. And they all want girls! Eight in 10 couples choose to have a daughter.
7.10am LOCAL NEWS: A community is in mourning after the death of popular Year 12 Oak Flats High School student Casey-lee Hull, who has been remembered for her laugh and "sarcastic sense of humour".
*Dominic Geiger has the full story - very sad.
7.08am WORLD NEWS: The Palestinian death toll in an Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip jumped to more than 500 yesterday, as the United States, alarmed by escalating civilian bloodshed, took a direct role in efforts to secure a ceasefire.
7.06am Have you booked your tickets to Art vs Science at the Unibar yet? The show is on August 14 & tix are selling fast - get in quick!
7.04am NATIONAL: If you missed this yesterday, people, we're getting jipped out of a public holiday. Yep, citizens of NSW will be short one public holiday next year: Anzac Day. Both Anzac Day and Boxing Day fall on a Saturday but only one will be marked by an additional day off. Only WA will get the PH on April 27 next year.
7.03am This is very cool - an artist has transformed his childhood doodles into amazing "grown-up" masterpieces. Clever!
7.02am BREAKING: Human remains that could be the body of missing five-year-old Chayce Cofe have been found in the water off Pearl Beach on the central coast. (SMH)
7am Wollongong's Three Chimneys is going back to the 1920s on August 10 with a speakeasy afternoon. Cool! Enjoy music, whiskey & dancing.
6.58am Good morning! Welcome if you're just tuning in. We're in for a partly cloudy day with a top of 17 degrees. All looks good on our roads & on the trains.
6.56am People, I bring you bacon shell tacos. Yes, a taco shell made of bacon. Ew, ew, ew - I love bacon but that is just TOO much.
6.54am SPORT: Cycling star Anna Meares has been named as the Australian team's flag bearer at the Commonwealth Games.
6.52am Have you booked your tickets to the White Album concert yet? Chris Cheney, Phil Jamieson, Josh Pyke & Tim Rogers are performing hits from the Beatles' White Album at the WEC on Wednesday night. Can't wait!
6.50am LOCAL NEWS: A Warrawong man who forged a doctor's certificate hoping to explain his absence from reporting on bail has been sent to jail over the con.
6.48am STRANGE BUT TRUE: A Chinese collector who bought an ancient Chinese ceramic cup for a record HK$281 million ($39 million) at auction in April got an unexpected bonus when he paid for it on Friday: almost 422 million American Express points. That's a LOT of free flights!
6.46am MUSIC NEWS: The Madden Brothers (aka Good Charlotte, aka Joel & Benji) are set to tour Australia in November with their Greetings From California album. Tix haven't been released yet but you can join the waiting list.
6.44am A little walk down memory lane this morning. Check out Flinders Street & North Gong Hotel in 1952. It honestly hasn't changed that much, right?
6.42am SPORT: Australian Commonwealth Games swimmers have reacted strongly to repeated questions about the team's London Olympic Games campaign, which was notable for disappointing performances in the pool and bad behaviour out of it. Check out their reaction here.
6.40am Have you bought your tickets yet for the Wollongong premiere of High School Musical? Looks like a lot of fun - book your seats here via Illawarra Youth Arts Project. Support local theatre!
6.38am LOCAL NEWS: A 42-year-old Springfield man injured in a motorbike crash at Austinmer on Saturday remains in a critical but stable condition in St George Hospital. Here's the full report.
6.36am TV NEWS: The cast of The Big Bang Theory is demanding a pay rise. The five main cast members want up to $1 million per episode before they sign on for season 8. NB I've only just got into this show but it's very funny. Pay them whatever they want!
6.34am MH17: An ABC reporter who touched clothes and debris at the MH17 crash site has defended his actions, even after the report was removed from the ABC website for "re-editing". Phil Williams said the items he touched were not part of an uncontaminated crime scene.
6.32am Snooty the manatee is turning 66 today. Snooty lives at the South Florida Museum and is the oldest manatee in captivity. Awww. Happy birthday to other creatures/humans celebrating today!
6.30am MOVIE NEWS: Actor Russell Crowe is adept at throwing phones, a missile-projection skill that makes him a contender to play mercurial British chef Marco Pierre White in a film by Ridley Scott. Yep, Crowe could be taking on the MasterChef Australia fave in a new film. Hmmm.
6.28am WORLD NEWS: The operation to raise the stricken Costa Concordia is almost complete, as experts claim the ship should be movable by tomorrow.
6.26am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Ladies, I'm sorry - Maroon Five frontman Adam Levine is officially off the market. He married fiancee Behati Prinsloo over the weekend. And actor Jonah Hill officiated the ceremony. Cool!
6.24am NATIONAL NEWS: Nannies and grandparents could be paid by the government to look after children if they get TAFE qualifications under a proposal to overhaul the nation’s convoluted childcare system. Get the full story here.
6.22am Don't forget we're crossing every hour to Pulse 94.1FM with all the latest from the Rush.
6.20am TIARA ALERT: Prince George turns one today. A very happy birthday to my favourite royal baby. So cute, aww those cheeks!
6.18am STRANGE BUT TRUE: A woman has been caught stealing dresses via Facebook. Yep, Facebook. She posted pics of herself wearing the stolen items and the coppers caught her. Oops.
6.16am LOCAL NEWS: Three weeks after the temporary closure of Keira Street, work has ramped up in Wollongong's CBD with the mall refurbishment and GPT's West Keira development visibly taking shape.
*Reporter Kate McIlwain has the full story here.
6.14am SPORT: The Dragons went down 21-12 to Manly at Kogarah last night. Damn!
6.12am CELEB NEWS: Philip Seymour Hoffman's $35 million fortune won't be going to his children - he left his entire estate to his partner. Apparently, he told his lawyer that he didn't want his kids to become "trust fund children." Wow.
6.10am MH17: A Sydney-based pre-school teacher, who had just got engaged, has been identified as another Australian victim on board downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.
6.08am TV NEWS: The winner of The Voice was announced last night. *SPOILER ALERT* - turn away now if you've taped it! Congrats to .... Anja Nissen! She was Team Will.I.Am.
6.06am And in national/world news (via the SMH):
*The bodies of 38 Australians among the near-300 killed on flight MH17 are being held hostage in a blame-game playing out in an ugly separatist war
*Ailing carrier Malaysia Airlines may be taken private by its major government shareholder or enter bankruptcy protection to allow it to renegotiate contracts with unions.
*Australian air crash investigators are headed to Kiev where they will team up with Dutch, British and possibly American counterparts, but will have to wait until there is a guarantee of safety from local militias before they start work
*PM Tony Abbott has lashed the ‘‘absolutely shambolic’’ situation at the site of the downed flight MH17, as he began the sombre task of speaking to the families of the 37 Australian dead.
6.04am Here's what's making news in your Mercury this morning:
*Carol and Michael Clancy's children huddled close together at a candlelight vigil in Wollongong last night, crying as they listened to the tributes of a grieving community.
*The Stop the Hub community group has reached its goal of 10,000 signatures on a petition which calls on the state government to step in and stop construction of Shellharbour City Council’s $57 million City Hub project.
*A community is in mourning after the death of popular year-12 Oak Flats High School student Casey-lee Hull, who has been remembered for her laugh and "sarcastic sense of humour".
*Dapto TAFE campus is being emptied of staff and students and is slated for closure or rental to a private provider, according to union sources.
6.02am Let's kick off the morning with the latest weather & traffic.
WEATHER We're in for a partly cloudy day with a top of 17 degrees. Expect some light winds this afternoon. It's not as cool as it has been in the mornings - right now, it's 5.6 degrees at Albion Park & 9.9 at Bellambi.
TRAFFIC Don't forget road work on Keira St, Wollongong. There is a truck breakdown at Mt Pleasant (Mt Ousley) so slow down there. All looks good for the run to Sydney.
TRAINS There is a good service on the South Coast line.
6am Good morning! I'm back, Yep, that's right, your usual host Emma Spillett has returned after what feels like AGES. Sadly, I haven't been on holidays - simply filling other duties in the newsroom. Anywho, glad to be back, yay!