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

8.40am That's it from us this morning. Tune in tomorrow morning for Thursday's edition of the Rush. Have a great day!

8.36am A little Wednesday mantra for you...

8.32am Need to stock up on some toys for the kids for Christmas? Target is having a huge toy sale. It kicks off today & runs until August 6.

8.31am TRAFFIC ALERT - Albion Park: The Princes Hwy @ Colden Drive northbound is blocked after a three-car accident. Traffic is heavy, expect delays.

8.30am Teehee, this kitty fails at hide & seek.

8.26am 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

8.24am Looks like the Aussies took our summer weather with them to Glasgow. Locals sweated through a 27-degree day yesterday. Our Commonwealth Games contenders probably felt like they were at home!

8.22am Oh the French, innovators, I tell you - five Parisian hotels launched a scheme on Monday, allowing guests to "pay what you want" in an experiment that may be extended if successful. Click here for the full story.

8.20am If you're looking for a longer read over your coffee & Weet Bix this morning, check out this great piece from reporter Josh Butler on exorcism. A very compelling yarn. Enjoy.

8.18am TV NEWS: Several Oscar nominees will feature on The Simpsons this season (season 26 - can you believe it!?). Expect appearances from Jane Fonda & William Dafoe. Cool!

8.16am LOCAL SPORT: Indigenous students and high schools came together yesterday for the start of the week-long Illawarra NAIDOC touch football comp.

8.14am Tickets are on sale now for the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival in Sydney in September. If you love clothes & Aussie designers (think sass & bide, Bec & Bridge, Alannah Hill), then book your seats now.

8.12am This is beyond weird - there is a website out there that sells glue for babies' heads so you can stick on their hair accessories. WHY, people, WHY!? Click here for more.

8.10am Looking for a giggle this morning? You'll love this - a gallery of awkward baby photos. You're welcome.

8.08am NATIONAL: Family members among 157 asylum seekers being detained on the high seas in separate rooms on a customs vessel are allowed out for meals and ''approximately three hours'' of daylight a day, according to a document lodged with the High Court yesterday.

8.06am LOCAL NEWS: Born profoundly deaf, Albion Park hip hop dancer Macy Baez doesn't hear the beat of the music the same as the rest of her crew, rather she "feels the music".

*Lisa Wachsmuth has the full story here.

8.04am STRANGE BUT TRUE: A donut bandit is on the loose in Portland in the US. Yep, this pesky offender is leaving donuts on windshield wipers & littering yards with pastries. Sounds like a pretty thoughtful mischief maker to me!

8.02am Have you booked your tickets to the White Album concert? It's on at the WEC tonight. There's still seats available - get in quick!

8am Good morning! Welcome if you're just tuning in. We're set for a mostly sunny day with a top of 17 degrees. Expect some patchy fog this morning & some light winds. All good on the roads & rail.

7.56am WORLD: A man raised in a squat built on a river bank has been elected to be Indonesia’s next president. Joko Widodo, who hopes not just to dominate Indonesian politics but to wrest it from the hands of Indonesia’s old, corrupt elite, was late last night pronounced the winner of the country’s presidential election with a convincing 53.15 per cent of the vote.

7.54am Have you been snapped out & about the Illawarra? Check out this week's gallery of social pics - you never know who you might spot.

7.52am Awww look at this little kitty. He just wants to check his e-meow. Cheesy, I know, but it had to be done.

7.50am BREAKING - NSW:  Police and surf rescue crews are searching for a missing swimmer off the state's mid-north coast. The 25-year-old man went for a swim off South West Rocks about 5pm yesterday. It’s believed he got into difficulty and his friend lost sight of him. An air and sea search was suspended about 8.30pm because of poor visibility and surf conditions but resumed at first light today. (AAP)

7.48am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Good ol' Miley. She celebrated a trip to the desert with a shot of herself topless. As you do.

7.46am Info nights are on this week for the Arcadian's next show Thoroughly Modern Millie. Good luck to director Allegra Wilson who will do a fab job with a very fun show. Chookas to all auditionees.

7.44am MH17: A condolence book is now available for the MH17 tragedy. Click here to sign it.

7.42am STRANGE BUT TRUE: An accused thief has spent the night behind bars after he returned to his broken-down getaway car - only to find police waiting for him. Police allege the 33-year-old robbed an electronics store in Liverpool yesterday. As he was driving away, his car broke down and he left it. When he returned, he was arrested. He’s been charged with armed robbery ahead of an appearance in Liverpool Local Court later today. (AAP)

7.40am LOCAL NEWS: Shellharbour MP Anna Watson believes fellow parliamentarian Gareth Ward has falsely raised the expectations of people who have signed a petition calling on the NSW government to step in and stop Shellharbour City Council's $57 million City Hub project.

*Alex Arnold has the full report here.

7.38am This video has seriously made my morning. This kitty & his horse friend just can't stop cuddling. Awww. Love is all around.

7.36am I love Shepherd's Pie. I mean, really, what's not to love?! There's potato, meat, butter, it's beautiful, beautiful. But, it's not really very "cool". Until now. Justin North is bringing it back with this recipe. Mmmmmm.

7.34am Did you know Wollongong has a comedy club? Um, yep, it's news to me too. It's on twice a month in the basement at the Builders Club.

7.32am LOCAL SPORT: Winona Costin could scarcely imagine herself winning the Illawarra Turf Club apprentices' title at the start of the season, let alone be riding full-time for Australian Racing's "first lady".

7.30am A disturbing study has been released, showing most parents & teachers don’t notice – and teachers don’t report – when children are being bullied.

7.28am SYDNEY: The health of former Kings Cross detective Roger Rogerson is ''failing'' as he awaits trial in jail for the murder of Sydney student Jamie Gao, his lawyer says. Click here for the latest on the matter. 

7.26am Looking for something fun for the kids? The Lagoon is hosting a Pirates & Princesses high tea on August 4. Looks cute! Details below.

7.24am Casey Eastham has just tweeted a picture from Glasgow. She says it feels like "school camp" with all the girls from the team.

7.22am LOCAL NEWS: Leading Illawarra fertility specialist Dr David Greening has urged couples to be cautious about "cut-price" IVF clinics.

*Health reporter Lisa Wachsmuth has the full report here.

7.20am TV NEWS: Offspring's Asher Keddie has a new project - she's start to play a Labor premiere having an affair with a Liberal challenger in a new Ten drama called Party Tricks. Ten is yet to confirm an air date but here's a cheeky sneak peek.

7.18am A little hump day funny for you. Some solid advice...

7.16am MH17: The European Union agreed yesterday to expand a list of Russian entities and individuals subject to asset freezes and travel bans, and threatened to target vast sectors of the Russian economy if Moscow did not act swiftly to rein in rebels believed to have shot down the Malaysia Airlines plane.

7.14am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Scarlett Johansson could be getting hitched! According to Bride Magazine, she's heading down the aisle with her hunky French beau next month.

7.12am LOCAL NEWS: Wollongong dog walkers have filled up more than 880,000 bags of dog poo in the past two years, according to council figures.

*Kate McIlwain has the full report on the urgh, smelly situation here.

7.10am TECH TALK: Apple has posted $7.7 billion profit on strong iPhone sales. I'm coming back as an Apple investor in my next life...

7.08am Friends fans, I have a gift for you. Those clever kids over at Buzzfeed have put together a guide to 61 things you may not know about the show. Like, it was originally called Insomnia Cafe. WHA? Enjoy.

7.06am SYDNEY: The colleague and friend of a Sydney paramedic who fell to his death during a dangerous canyon rescue mission says he has been haunted by the tragedy every night for the past 2½ years. Click here for more.

7.04am SPORT: Australia's Michael Rogers has won stage 16 of the Tour de France with a dramatic descent outpacing second-placed Frenchman Thomas Voeckler and Belarus' Vasili Kiryienka.

7.02am Comedian Mattt Okine is set to perform at the IPAC on August 14. Tickets are on sale now.

7amGood morning! Welcome if you're just tuning in. We're set for a mostly sunny day with a top of 17 degrees. Expect some patchy fog this morning & some light winds. All good on the roads & rail.

6.58am The Chambers Dictionary has added YOLO (you only live once).

6.56am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Cameron Diaz has introduced boyfriend Benji Madden to her mum. Aww. I really hope this one lasts!

6.54am LOCAL NEWS: Mangerton is the latest suburb in the Illawarra to become part of the National Broadband Network rollout.

*Get the full story here.

6.52am POLITICS: If you missed this yesterday, the internet basically exploded when Palmer United Party senator Jacqui Lambie told a radio show she wanted a partner who was rich & "well-hung." Oh good lord.

6.50am MH17: A train carrying bodies and black boxes from the shot-down Malaysia Airlines flight arrived in Kharkiv early yesterday, but the remains of nearly a third of the people aboard the plane were missing, a Dutch forensics expert said.

6.48am Arrr, the age old new baby v beloved family pet drama. This video shows that dogs sometimes don't respond well to new babies. This dog stole the bub's toy, making her cry, and then tried to apologise - by putting every toy she owns on top of her. Watch.

6.46am Could Bill Clinton be at it again? Rumours have emerged of the former US president having another affair - this time with a woman nicknamed "The Energiser". Ew.

6.44am MUSIC NEWS: Looking for some new tunes to spin on your iPod? Check out this list of the best albums this year. There's definitely something in here to help you get your groove thang on...

6.42am WORLD NEWS: US air carriers Delta Air Lines, American Airlines Group and United Airlines yesterday halted flights to Israel under directions from the US Federal Aviation Administration to ensure passenger safety as turmoil in the region has intensified.

6.40am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Kanye West has described himself as a "blowfish" and compared wife Kim Kardashian to a dinosaur in a new interview. Seriously, this man needs a brain to mouth filter! NB I am enjoying this picture of Kanye as a blowfish though...

6.36am HEALTH: Danish researchers have found a way to activate and expose hidden HIV cells to the immune system - a major step towards finding a cure for the virus affecting 38 million people. Click here for the full story.

6.34am LOCAL NEWS: A team of Wollongong firefighters will travel to Warragul in Victoria today to compete in the Australasian Rescue Challenge.

*Emergency services reporter Dominic Geiger has the full story here.

6.32am STRANGE BUT TRUE: Mattel is set to introduce the first ever Girl Scout Barbie. I'm actually surprised this hasn't happened until now!

6.30am CELEB NEWS: Robert Downey Jnr, the star of Disney's Marvel superhero film franchises Iron Man and The Avengers, is Hollywood's highest paid actor for the second consecutive year, with estimated earnings of $US75 million, according to Forbes.com. Former wrestler Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, 42, who starred in G.I. Joe: Retaliation, and the Fast and Furious films, jumped into second place with earnings of $US52 million, followed by Hangover star Bradley Cooper with $US46 million.

6.28am Check out our triathlon team as they prepare to compete in the Commonwealth Games. C'mon Aussies!

6.26am LOCAL SPORT: Without the shadow of Wayne Bennett hanging over him, Paul McGregor is preparing for the most important month of his NRL career. He's now the front runner for the Dragons coaching job.

6.24am Wollongong's Three Chimneys has released its winter menu - and it looks GOOD. Yummy sliders, share plates etc. Click below for the complete list.

6.22am NATIONAL: Joe Hockey's first budget, which delivered swinging cuts to health, education and welfare, raised taxes and broke a series of promises, was ''much softer'' than the Treasurer had wanted, a new biography published today says. The revelations are contained in Hockey: Not Your Average Joe, written by Fairfax columnist and long-time ABC broadcaster Madonna King.

6.20am Don't forget we're crossing every hour to Pulse 94.1FM with all the latest from the Rush.

6.18am TIARA ALERT: Prince George celebrated his first birthday yesterday and the Royals released some new pics to celebrate. Oh little Georgie, you cutie patootie!

6.16am Awww anybody else feel guilty for leaving their animals at home when they go to work?! Sorry, this won't help ... but the cat is v cute.

6.14am LOCAL NEWS: Bellambi boat harbour will no longer be dog-friendly but West Dapto will gain a new off-leash park under proposed changes to Wollongong City Council's controversial dogs on beaches and parks policy.

*Council reporter Kate McIlwain has the full story here.

6.12am MUSIC NEWS: Splendor fans were seriously cranky after London Grammar announced they wouldn't play at the festival - BUT, good news, The Presets are set to replace the London trio.

6.10am The gang at Sandygoodwich are preparing for their July communal dinner 0 this month they are cooking house smoked pork hocks. Mmmmm.

6.09am MH17: A member of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe's team of international observers has said it appears that part of the MH17 wreckage had been cut into. "Major pieces, I'm looking at the tailfin ... they do look different than when we first saw them, in that they have been cut into," OSCE spokesman Michael Bociurkiw told the BBC world service. Click here for the full report.

6.08am CELEB GOSS ALERT: There is trouble in paradise for Beyonce & Jay Z - there are reports the couple's marriage is coming to an end. NO!

6.06am And in national/global news (courtesy of the SMH):

*Tony Abbott has warned of evidence tampering on ‘‘an industrial scale’’ at the MH17 crash site, underscoring the massive challenge facing international investigators including Australians as they converge on Ukraine.

*NSW aims to be ‘‘Australia’s answer to California’’, accelerating the use of renewable energy and finding new ways to curb waste, in a push that puts it at odds with coalition counterparts in other states and at the federal level.

*Finally, they are coming home - the bodies of the 37 Australian citizens and residents among the 298 victims of the MH17 air disaster are to be airlifted from Kharkiv, where they arrived from rebel-held territory on Tuesday.

*Russia’s attempts to pin the MH17 crash on a missile fired by a Ukrainian plane have been debunked by defence experts across the world.

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

*A proposed overhaul of the nation's childcare system has been labelled "a step in the right direction" by Illawarra childcare workers, despite concerns some changes could cause industry standards to slip.

*One of the teens accused of applying graffiti to a stationary train at Otford in May has indicated he will fight the charges.

*A Russell Vale vet whose clinic has been broken into four times this year says she suffers anxiety when she starts work in the mornings, and has even considered relocating the practice.

*A University of Wollongong student jailed for secretly filming female students naked has been released on bail pending an appeal.

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

WEATHER We're set for a mostly sunny day with a top of 17 degrees. Expect some patchy fog this morning & some light winds. It's deceptively cool out there - it's just 3 degrees at Albion Park & 8 at Bellambi.

TRAFFIC All is good on our roads & for the run to Sydney or south.

TRAINS CityRail says there is a good service on the South Coast line.

6am Good morning Rushers & happy hump day! Stay with your host Emma Spillett this morning for all the latest news etc.

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