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

8.34am That's it from us this morning. A slightly shorter Rush as your host attends to other duties & pressing deadlines. Enjoy your Wednesday. See you tomorrow!

8.32am The Little Rascals first debuted in movie theatres 20 years ago today. I remember going to see it - my god, that makes me feel old...

8.30am SYDNEY: A woman is on the run after allegedly carjacking a man’s car after assaulting him in Sydney’s west. Police say a 46-year-old man was driving along The Horsley Drive in Fairfield West about 11.30pm when he was flagged down by a female who appeared injured on the side of the road. She asked the man to take her to hospital, but when they arrived at Fairfield Hospital, the woman refused to get out of the car and demanded the man take her back to the centre of Fairfield. The woman then allegedly assaulted the man, and stole the man’s car, a blue Toyota Avalon. Police are looking for a woman who is described as being of slim build, about 40-years-old, tall, and may have a visible head injury. (AAP)

8.28am LOCAL NEWS: Windang band Hockey Dad has been named one of the best young bands in the country, announced as a finalist in Triple J radio's Unearthed High competition.

*Reporter Joshua Butler has the full story here.

8.26am A little Wednesday funny for you. This is the best.

8.24am BREAKING: Fairfax columnist Mike Carlton has been forced to resign after using anti-semitic language towards readers.

8.22am STRANGE BUT TRUE: What is the cost of giving a bad review? According to one US hotel, it’s $US500. Union Street Guest House, a boutique New York hotel in Hudson, New York, has threatened to charge guests hundreds of dollars if they post a negative review about their stay.

8.20am The Brewery is running Tex Mex nights every Thursday. Think nachos, tequila and Corona buckets to share. Yum!

8.18am TV NEWS: OMG, Simpsons Fans, celebrate - Conan O'Brien has confirmed he will perform The Monorail Song during a live Simpsons performance next month. "Monorail ... what's it called ... monorail ... once again ... MONORAIL."

8.16am WORLD NEWS: This story is shocking - a mother in the UK has been jailed for having sex with her 12-year-old son while her partner watched & directed her over a webcam. She told police she wanted to give him a "sex lesson." Awful.

8.14am NATIONAL: Proposed changes to bail laws in NSW threaten the presumption of innocence underpinning the criminal justice system and mark a return to the "bad old days" that existed under older laws, legal experts have warned.

8.12am CELEB NEWS: Okay, so I'm reading a lot on social media about US actor Christ Pratt. Who is this attractive man? I'm pretty "up" on celeb goss but this guy has managed to slip under my radar. Until now...

8.10am If you missed it yesterday, the Reserve Bank left interest rates unchanged at 2.5 per cent.

8.09am LOCAL NEWS: Shellharbour MP Anna Watson has criticised the state government for not giving Illawarra construction firms a "look-in" for major health infrastructure projects.

*Health reporter Lisa Wachsmuth has the full report here.

8.08am Oh dieting fads, you never cease to amaze me. Now the Paleo diet is under attack - the nation's leading nutrition body has warned eating like a caveman could be potentially dangerous.

8.06am RED CARPET: Hello legs! Check out Megan Fox on the red carpet for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles premiere. She is a stunner.

8.04am POLITICS: Andrew Bolt has told Barry O'Farrell to "pour yourself another expensive red" after the former NSW premier mocked the conservative columnist's fury over the collapse of changes to race hate laws.

8.02am Want to dress like Victoria Beckham? Well, now you can. She's selling 600 pieces from her own wardrobe.

7.58am Good morning if you're just joining us! We're in for a sunny day with a top of 19 degrees. Watch out for some debris on Lawrence Hargrave Drove near Helensburgh & some traffic around the airport. All is good on the trains though.

7.54am LOCAL NEWS: The controversial rezoning of environmentally sensitive land at Helensburgh remains unresolved, after the regional planning authority recommended some of Wollongong City Council's hard-fought plans for the area be deferred.

*Reporter Kate McIlwain has the full story here.

7.52am Researchers have discovered the best age to be is ... 29. Apparently 29-year-olds are more popular than any other age group.

7.50am Did anyone get some snaps of frost over their lawn this morning? It was bloody cold!

7.48am LOCAL SPORT: Dragons international Brett Morris has urged the team's fans to show 2010 premiership teammate Jamie Soward respect when he returns to WIN Stadium with Penrith on Sunday.

7.46am WORLD NEWS: A British breast cancer survivor has died while ticking a lifelong wish off her bucket list. In a cruel twist of fate, 51-year-old Geraldine Jones was living out her dream to horse ride along a beach in South Wales when she was thrown from the horse and died from head injuries. NB Sometimes life really, really sucks.

7.44am TECH TALK: A new iPhone with a 5.5 inch screen is due for release on September 9. Oooo.

7.42am TRAFFIC UPDATE - Berkeley: that earlier accident has been cleared.

7.40am Keen to check out Killelea State Park? Why not enjoy a guided tour? A discovery walk will be held on August 23 from 9.30am to 12.3pm. Bookings are essential, contact Shellharbour Council on 4221 6111.

7.38am CELEB NEWS: New details on the death of Clueless star Brittany Murphy have emerged. Pathologist Richard Shepherd has claimed she could still be alive if her mother had called 911 when Brittany first had trouble breathing -24 hours before she was officially pronounced dead.

7.36am WORLD NEWS: British cabinet member Sayeeda Warsi has resigned from her position as a senior foreign office minister, saying she could no longer support the government's policy on the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

7.34am TRAFFIC ALERT - Berkeley: accident near Northcliffe Drive, affecting one of the southbound lanes. Be careful!

7.32am LOCAL NEWS: A man remains in a serious condition after he was hit by a car in Shellharbour on Tuesday afternoon.

*Click here for all the details.

7.30am STRANGE BUT TRUE: A woman boasting America's largest closet has been robbed. Yep, someone broke into the 3000 square-foot wardrobe & made off with watches, worth nearly $1 million. Ouch.

7.28am MUSIC NEWS: Latin pop star Ricky Martin is facing a $US10 million plagiarism lawsuit over his 2014 soccer World Cup song Vida. Aspiring artist Luis Adrian Cortes Ramos, a former finalist on TV talent show Idol Puerto Rico, claims he submitted his version of the track as part of SuperSong, a contest Martin and Sony Music executives launched late last year to find a new tune for the FIFA World Cup championships in Brazil.

7.26am A candlelight procession will be held in Civic Square, near the IPAC, tomorrow night from 6pm, calling for peace in Gaza.

7.24am SYDNEY: The violent murder of five members of the Lin family was motivated by ‘‘intense bitterness and hatred’’ and carried out by an assailant who had a front door key and was familiar with the layout of their North Epping home, a jury has heard.

7.22am Illawarra savvy snappers, we want your photos. The Mercury is putting together its 2015 calendar, showcasing the beauty of the region. The six photos which receive the most reader votes will be selected for the calendar. Winners will also pick up a cool $500. Send your photos to competitions@illawarramercury.com.au by August 22.

7.20am LOCAL SPORT: With Neil Henry likely to take over from John Cartwright as Gold Coast coach, Paul McGregor has firmed as the Dragons' long-term option.

7.18am BREAKING: Two double-decker buses have collided in Times Square.

7.16am TV NEWS: The Bachelor is on tonight! DO NOT MISS IT. 7.30pm, Channel 10, no-one call me during that time!!!!

7.13am Amigos is hosting Fajita Fridays! $15 fajitas from 5pm to 7pm.

7.10am Behold, the world's first floating snowflake hotel! The Krystall, located in Norway, will feature 86 five-star hotel rooms, a spa and conference centre with "Jetson-style seating." Very cool.

7.08am NATIONAL: Australian couples using surrogates overseas are not subject to any criminal background checks, allowing child sex offenders to bring their children home without any scrutiny of their character.

7.06am LOCAL NEWS: If the success of One Direction is anything to go by, the future looks bright for Balgownie performer Tahnie Cristini. Ms Cristini, 19, has been wowing audiences nationwide on TV talent quest The X Factor.

*Josh Butler has the full story here.

7.04am Mark August 25 on your calenders - it’s Emmy Award time!

7.02am This is awesome - Jeff Goldblum has helped some friends celebrate their wedding a little differently with a Jurrasic Park themed picture. Love it!

7am MOVIE NEWS: Sony Pictures is plotting (yet another) revamp of the Spider Man series with one film dedicated to the villians & another that will revolve around a female super-hero. Cool!

6.58am Good morning if you're just joining us! We're in for a sunny day with a top of 19 degrees. All is well on the roads & on the trains.

6.56am H&M is opening in Sydney! HALLELUJAH! The first Sydney store will be in the Macquarie Centre in North Ryde - a little bit of a trip but SO worth it.

6.54am WAGGA WAGGA: Police have charged a NSW teacher with 12 counts of assaulting his teenage students. The 52-year-old man, who teaches at the Riverina Institute TAFE in Wagga Wagga, has been charged with six counts of indecent assault and six counts of common assault. He is accused of groping and shoving the students, among other actions. Click here for more.

6.52am CELEB NEWS: Whoopi v Donald. Whoopi Goldberg has slammed Donald Trump on The View after he made, what she labelled, "dopey" and "idiotic" comments about those infected by the Ebola virus. Oh dear - something tells me the Donald is NOT a man you want to take on.

6.50am Today is National Underwear Day! Hopefully you're wearing undies to celebrate. Pop them outside your pants for a super-hero look...

6.48am TV NEWS: The Commonwealth Games proved to be a winner for Channel 10 - the network had its first weekly win, screening the games, in four years.

6.46am NATIONAL: A line of USB chargers sold at Officeworks stores have been recalled after an incident in which the casing around a charger melted after overheating. Click here for more.

6.44am STRANGE BUT TRUE: People, we've found the worst children's book EVER. My Parents Open Carry - a book encouraging kids in the US to accept their gun-toting parents. Riiiiight.

6.42am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Kim Kardashian appeared on the Jimmy Kimmel show in the US yesterday, wearing an, um, interesting outfit. She told the TV host she wants to lose 15-20 pounds of "baby weight."

6.40am LOCAL NEWS: A 10,000-signature petition opposing Shellharbour City Council's proposed $57 million City Hub project is on its way to the NSW Parliament.

*Alex Arnold has the full report here.

6.39am Don't forget the Kiama Farmer's Markets are on at Black Beach from 2pm today. A great chance to grab some local produce.

6.38am TV NEWS: Missed Hamish & Andy's Gap Year South America? Don't fret - it's out on DVD & iTunes today. These two are very, very funny.

6.36am Looking for something to warm up your tummy tonight? Try this recipe for Shepherd's Pie. What's not to love - potato, meat, more potato. Yum. NB Why do they call it Shepherd's Pie? Anyone?

6.34am WORLD NEWS: British police have arrested a man on suspicion of making a hoax bomb threat after two fighter jets escorted a plane into Manchester Airport. The pilot had reported a possible explosive device was on board. NB It's really enough to make you consider travelling everywhere by boat.

6.32am LOCAL SPORT: Italian superstar Alessandro Del Piero made a second half cameo, but it couldn't help the A-League All Stars find a way past a resilient Young Socceroos outfit in a 0-0 draw at WIN Stadium last night.

6.30am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Mariah Carey has dropped nearly $200,000 to send her dogs on a luxury vacation. Yes, you read right. She's sending them to Bristol, England, where they'll be washed, groomed, taken on day trips, sleep in hotel beds & have a CHEF cooking for them. Oh dear lord.

6.28am MH17: Australian and Dutch investigators were on the road to the MH17 crash site  before 8am on Monday, but the menace of war kept them away from the site for most of the day. Click here for the full story.

6.26am Looking for a cheap but yummy dinner tonight? Head to His Boy Elroy in Globe Lane for $7.50 cheeseburgers. Man alive, they look good...

6.24am MOVIE NEWS: Australian actress Bella Heathcote has been cast in the lead in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Heathcote is a former winner of the Heath Ledger Scholarship, which is awarded annually by the LA-based non-profit organisation Australians in Film. NB Have you read the book? Hilarious! Austen fans will love it. (SMH)

6.22am WORLD NEWS: A 9-year-old boy was stabbed repeatedly in the back by a 12-year-old boy in western Michigan before he ran screaming to his home and collapsed bleeding on his porch, police and a neighbour said on Tuesday.

6.20am TIARA ALERT: Kate Middleton wiped away a tear at the Tower of London yesterday while checking out a special installation of poppies. The flowers are a tribute to those who lost their lives in WWI.

6.18am Don't forget we're crossing to Pulse 94.1FM with all the latest from the Rush.

6.16am LOCAL NEWS: A Woonona woman accused of using stolen credit cards to buy thousands of dollars worth of household items and groceries at stores across the Illawarra will stay behind bars.

*Court reporter Shannon Tonkin has the full story here.

6.14am STRANGE BUT TRUE: This couple took a newborn photo shoot ... with their dog. Yep, their dog. Weird.

6.12am Have you bought your tickets for High School Musical yet? It's on at Wollongong High from September 30.

6.10am NATIONAL NEWS: The saga of baby Gammy continues - now, we have two versions of what happened with this tiny baby. The West Australian couple at the centre of the drama say they bought gifts for a baby girl and a baby boy they hoped to take home as their children, but were told by Thai authorities one of the twins would die within a day. Hmmm.

6.08am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Wow Olivia Wilde! The House star went bold for the September issue of Glamour magazine, posing for high-fashion pics while breastfeeding her son Otis. You go girl!

6.06am And in national/international news (via the SMH)

*Australians will no longer be afforded the ‘‘right to be a bigot’’ after a stunning backdown by the Abbott government from its crusade to water down and remake the Racial Discrimination Act.

*Aggressive parenting and teaching is turning children into schoolyard bullies, a parenting researcher will warn a national bullying conference on Thursday.

*Australia’s spy and counterterrorism agencies will receive a $630m funding boost to fight the threat of home-grown terrorism, which Tony Abbott says ‘‘has not changed’’ and is still ‘‘as high as it has ever been’’.

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

*The mother of a Barrack Heights man convicted this week for bashing a female paramedic has slammed the "system" for letting him - and his victim - down.

*A Sydney man whose remains were found in the Royal National Park north of Wollongong last year may have been murdered.

*The region’s dog lovers have taken to social media to protest at proposed changes to Wollongong City Council’s off-leash beaches.

6.02am Let's kick off things with a look at the weather & traffic right now.

WEATHER We're in for a sunny day with a top of 19 degrees. There will be some light winds around. Right now, it's cold. Very cold.

TRAFFIC All looks good on our roads & for the run to Sydney.

TRAINS There is a good service on the South Coast line.

6am Good morning & happy hump day! We made it to the middle of the week - yay! Stay with your host, Emma Spillett, this morning for all the latest news etc.

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