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

8.50am That's it from us this morning. Tune in tomorrow for the hump day edition of the Rush. We're getting closer to the weekend! Enjoy your day, stay rugged up.

8.48am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Harry Potter has a girlfriend! Daniel Radcliffe is gushing about his girl Erin Darke, saying she's his best friend. Awww.

8.46am LOCAL NEWS: Canteens at three of Shellharbour City's sports fields have been given an overhaul.

*Alex Arnold has the full report here.

8.44am BREAKING: US Secretary of State John Kerry has set sail to Admiralty House for a day of official duties during his stint in Australia.

8.42am SYDNEY: The runner who died after he collapsed just metres from the finish line of Sunday's City2Surf was a fitness enthusiast who worked with Fox Sports. Chris Head, 27, from Coogee collapsed at Bondi Beach on the last stretch of the annual run.

8.40am Death of a Salesman opens at the Wollongong Workshop Theatre this weekend. Head to the theatre's website to book tickets.

8.38am A little blast from the past for you this morning. Anyone remember this? Arrr, the good ol' Nokia 3310. Highlights include Snake II.

8.36am CELEB GOSS ALERT: So, turns out The Rock is a big softie. He wrote this heartfelt note about his family, labeling them the "most important thing."

8.34am LOCAL NEWS: Clown doctor Peter Spitzer has lost his batter with cancer. Australia's best-known clown doctor and Bowral general practitioner was farewelled on Saturday.

*Click here for the full story.

8.33am TRAFFIC UPDATE - North Wollongong: All lanes are now open on Memorial Drive & the Princes Highway after that earlier accident.

8.32am OMFG. This picture of a cat dressed up as a piece of toast is everything.

8.30am Alibi is running a new "keys & cheese" night. Head in on a Thursday for some cheese & wine & the sweet tinkle of a piano. From 7.30pm.

8.26am POLITICS: Clive Palmer is urging the government to reboot its economic strategy as he prepares for another budget pitch from Joe Hockey. The treasurer is meeting the leader of the Palmer United Party in Queensland today in another bid to win critical Senate crossbench votes. But Mr Palmer says it’s clear the public has failed to warm to the budget in its current form, and the government may need to compromise. (AAP)

8.24am A little Tuesday funny for you - yell when you get it.

8.22am WORLD NEWS: Spain has announced it has obtained a scarce US-made experimental Ebola drug to treat a Spanish missionary priest infected with the killer virus. So far the experimental drug has been used to treat two infected Americans and a Spaniard but no Africans.

8.20am Recovering from a big weekend? Just want a bit of extra energy? Try this delish banana & blueberry smoothie. Yum!

8.18am STRANGE BUT TRUE: The body of a rare two-headed dolphin has washed up on a beach in Turkey.

8.16am NATIONAL: Almost 100,000 youngsters from low-income families could be forced out of childcare if their eligibility for federal government subsidies is restricted under recommendations put forward by the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into the early childhood sector.

8.14am Are you looking forward to the Froth & Bubbles beer & cider festival? It's on August 23 & 24 at WIN Entertainment Centre. Click here for more info.

8.12am The trial of Robert Xie, charged with murdering five members of the Lin family in North Epping continues today in Sydney's Supreme Court.

8.10am OMG August is national Napping Month in the US! Let's bring this wonderful tradition here. Starting NOW!

8.09am TRAFFIC ALERT - North Wollongong: One of three northbound lanes is closed on Memorial Drive at the Princes Hwy due to a two-car accident. Expect moderate delays.

8.08am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Angelina Jolie has revealed the secret to her relationship with Brad Pitt. She told InStyle magazine: "Brad and I are a team that operates well. We coordinate our appointments and long-term plans but we make sure that family always comes first."

8.06am HEALTH: A new study has shown women who do 30 minutes of gentle exercise a day are 10 per cent less likely to develop breast cancer than those who don’t – but they have to keep it up.

8.05am WORLD NEWS: US President Barack Obama gave full US support for Iraq's president to form a new government, hours after embattled Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki rejected stepping aside for a successor.

8.04am LOCAL NEWS: Kiama business owner Judy Stephens is leading a campaign to brighten up one of Kiama’s most iconic areas – The Terrace Houses.

*We've got the full story here.

8.02am Check out the horrifying moment a pram left unattended rolls onto train tracks. Scary stuff!

8am POLITICS: The latest Newspoll implies the government’s recent focus on international issues like MH17 and Russia has boosted its standing amongst voters.

7.58am How many chucks could a woodchuck chuck? Well, not enough to get out of this hole - this little woodchuck got stuck in a sewer grate in Massachusetts. Poor poppet!

7.56am Good morning if you're just tuning in! We're in for a cloudy day with showers expected & a top of 14 degrees. All is good on the roads. There are delays on the South Coast line - leave extra travel time if you're heading south from Sutherland.

7.54am TRAIN ALERT: Passengers on the 7am Sutherland to Port Kembla train are advised to allow an additional 30 minutes travel time.

7.53am STRANGE BUT TRUE: Police were involved in a, um, slow-speed chase of a stolen ice-cream truck along the Pacific Highway. All cones were present & accounted for.

7.52am Lee & Me are looking for a barista. Think you can make coffee with the best of 'em? Apply at careers@leeandme.com.au.

7.50am LOCAL SPORT: They keep fulfilling their side of the bargain, but the Illawarra Stingrays are still sweating on results elsewhere in their quest to play finals football this season.

7.48am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Modern Family star Sofia Vergara has spoken out about new BF Joe Manganiello, saying that her mum approves. What's not to love!?

7.46am EDUCATION: Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion has vowed to impose sanctions on parents in remote indigenous communities whose children are not attending school.

7.44am MUSIC NEWS: Angus & Julia Stone's new album is a chart-topping success. Yesterday, the pair's self-titled album notched up another number one for the northern beaches duo who had already gone to the top of the Australian charts in 2010 with their second record, Down the Way.

7.42am Did you see the supermoon on Sunday night? If you loved looking at it over the Illawarra's skies, how about seeing it at landmarks like Stonehenge & over the Tower of London. Pretty cool huh? Click below.

7.40am Today is International Youth Day.

7.38am NATIONAL: A principal at an inner west primary school has been "extensively counselled" by the Department of Education after he made explicit sexual comments about children as young as five at staff meetings.

7.36am A little Tuesday funny for you - anyone else guilty of this? I know I am!

7.34am LOCAL NEWS: Wollongong City Council has made a pitch to business owners, encouraging them to allow artists to take up temporary residence in vacant shops in the CBD.

*Click here for the full story.

7.32am MH17: PM Tony Abbott has begun a day of meetings in the Netherlands by praising the Dutch soldiers who helped bring home the bodies of Australia's MH17 dead.

7.30am Look at this adorable shot of a cat & his little boy owner. Awwww.

7.29am TRAIN ALERT: The 06:51 Mortdale to Port Kembla service is delayed up to 33 mins due to a mechanical issue.

7.28am TV NEWS: The first teaser for Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul has just been released - and we've got it! Check it out below.

7.26am WORLD NEWS: The fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager on Saturday by a police officer in a St Louis suburb in the US came after a struggle for the officer's gun, police officials said, in an explanation that met with outrage and skepticism in the largely African-American community.

7.24am TIARA ALERT: Hold up, someone has slammed my precious Kate Middleton. A little article has been circulating, claiming Kate was undeserving of a spot on Vanity Fair's best dressed list hall of fame. CRAZINESS! She is an icon - THAT maternity dress, the red coat with matching pill-box hat? Rant over.

7.22am If you thought yesterday felt particularly chilly - you were right. At 12 degrees, it was the coldest day of the year for Sydney, while overnight rainfall was the heaviest since April. BRRRRRR.

7.20am CELEB NEWS: Courtney Love has admitted to losing $27 million throughout her career. $27 MILLION!? Her response: "I had to let it go".

7.18am People, I have a very important quiz for you to take this morning - it's life or death! Would you have survived the Battle of Hogwarts? Find out below.

7.16am NATIONAL: Australia’s secret refugee deal with Cambodia is about to be signed, amid growing opposition to the transfer agreement.

7.14am LOCAL NEWS: Businesses in Corrimal have a battle on their hands trying to draw attention away from the Wollongong CBD.

*Reporter Glen Humphries has the full story here.

7.12am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Kourtney Kardashian & boyf Scott Disick were robbed of $4000 while staying in the Hamptons. The money was taken from a briefcase that belonged to them.

7.10am Have you seen the #fatkini popping up? "Fat activists" have been using the fatkini hashtag to show that everyone can look good in a swimsuit and more and more women are getting on board. You go girls! Here's the full story.

7.08am LOCAL SPORT: Canberra centre Jarrod Croker says he hopes Raiders fans will get stuck into his former teammate Josh Dugan when he returns to GIO Stadium for the first time this Saturday.

7.06am So Popera Productions has announced plans to stage Little Shop of Horrors at the IPAC in January next year. Click below for all the details.

7.04am TV NEWS: Veteran actor J. J. Murphy has collapsed and died just four days into filming his first scenes for Game of Thrones. He was 86.

7.02am Daffodil Day is on August 22. Head along to stalls in malls across the Illawarra & pick up some fresh daffies or a cute teddy & show your support.

7am WORLD NEWS: British private investigator Glenn Mulcaire hacked the voicemails of Kylie Minogue's siblings, Dannii and Brendan, so News of the World could write intimate details about the pop star's cancer treatment in Melbourne in 2005. Details of the hack were revealed in one of two new books published after the phone-hacking trial.

6.58am In some other movie news this morning, get ready for Nicholas Spark's newest romance, The Best of Me. It hits cinemas on October 30. Check out the trailer (starring James Marsden) below.

6.56am Good morning if you're just tuning in!  We're in for a cloudy day with showers expected & a top of 14 degrees. All goods on the road & rail.

6.54am MOVIE NEWS: Daniel Radcliffe needs to learn not to bite the hand that fed him. He's announced that he "hated" watching the sixth film, Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince, because he was "very one-note" and "complacent".

6.52am LOCAL NEWS: The NSW government has declined to commit to placing Opal card machines on hub stations such as Thirroul and Helensburgh.

*Reporter Glen Humphries has the full story here.

6.50am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Miley Cyrus has got herself a new pet. Welcome to the world Bubba Sue, a teeny tiny piglet. Yep, a piglet.

6.48am GOLD COAST: The Gold Coast man at the centre of an investigation into the death of a New Zealand tourist has not reportedly provided his version of events to police, nearly four days after she fell from his 14th floor balcony.

6.46am Ever wanted to keep bees? Well, head along to Wild Rumpus' keeping backyard bees workshop on September 6 to learn more. Details below.

6.44am Illawarra savvy snappers, we want your photos. The Mercury is putting together its 2015 calendar, showcasing the beauty of the region. Send your photos to competitions@illawarramercury.com.au by August 22 for a chance to win $500 & a spot in the calendar.

6.42am Have you been watching The Bachelor? You know my feelings on the show (love, LOVE). Make sure you vote on the Love Leaderboard for the bachelorette you think has stolen Blake's heart. Jessica is currently in the lead.

6.40am WORLD NEWS: A truck driver accused of a five-year indiscriminate shooting spree on German motorways to teach other road users a "lesson" went on trial yesterday. Prosecutors say the man, identified as Michael Harry K., was a "frustrated loner" and claim he fired more than 700 times at trucks and cars, leaving several people injured, until his arrest in June 2013.

6.38am LOCAL SPORT: The Wollongong Hawks have been dealt a heavy blow with centre Larry Davidson suffering a potentially long-term knee injury.

6.36am MUSIC NEWS: Missy Higgins is set to tour. She's heading on the road in September/October. Pre-sale starts today at 1pm (password: ticketek). General sales start August 14 at 9am.

6.34am POLITICS: Former Reserve Bank board member Warwick McKibbin has suggested a new election may be needed to resolve the Senate impasse holding up key budget savings, as he lashed the political populism of the Greens and Palmer United Party.

6.32am Sportsgirl has opened at Stockland Shellharbour. Rejoice!

6.30am STRANGE BUT TRUE: A Texas mum claims she was thrown out of a pizza restaurant for changing her baby on a table. Thoughts?

6.29am TV NEWS: Tara Brown’s interview with the biological parents of baby Gammy has drawn widespread praise from 60 Minutes viewers. Her probing one-hour discussion with David and Wendy Farnell sparked 11,000 tweets while the program aired. Sheesh!

6.28am The Living Room on Keira St has some SERIOUSLY amazing food. Check out this delish platter, featuring sliders, skewers, dips & wedges. Yum!

6.26am LOCAL NEWS: High-profile builder Jason Gow and his company Gow Construction Pty Ltd have been found guilty of improper conduct and fined collectively $12,000 by the Department of Fair Trading.

*Click here for the full story.

6.24am This guy came up with a really sweet way to propose to his girlfriend. He used Coke bottles with the words printed on the labels, spelling out "beautiful Eloise, will you marry me?" Spoiler alert: she said yes.

6.22am NATIONAL: Politicians and Muslim community leaders have labelled it sickening, deplorable and shockingly evil. But Khaled Sharrouf's brother believes Australia should simply "forget" about a photo of his young nephew holding the severed head of a Syrian soldier.

6.20am Check out this amazing photo of the full moon over Kiama lighthouse by the Illawarra Stormchasers team. Nice work guys!

6.19am Don't forget we're crossing every hour to Pulse 94.1FM with all the latest from the Rush.

6.18am RADIO NEWS: Cracks appear to be emerging in the breakfast show pairing of Kyle Sandilands and Jackie Henderson, after Henderson apparently walked out on Sandilands during this morning’s broadcast. Ouch!

6.16am RED CARPET: Did you watch the Teen Choice Awards yesterday? If you missed it, we've got all the pics from the red carpet below. NB it seems crop-tops & colour were all the rage!

6.14am WORLD NEWS: Islamic State has crushed a pocket of resistance to its control in eastern Syria, crucifying two people and executing 23 others in the past five days, a monitoring group said yesterday.

6.12am STRANGE BUT TRUE: This is one talented nine-year-old. Cory Nieves is the CEO of a cookie company called Mr Cory's Cookies. He started the business in 2009 - now, thanks to Instagram, it's gone viral.

6.10am SYDNEY: A man has been shot dead at Leichhardt in Sydney's inner-west. Witnesses on Lords Road told police they heard five gunshots before seeing a man stumble into George St and collapse. Click here for all the details.

6.08am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Beyonce has had enough of those pesky divorce rumours. She took to Instagram, snapping a pic of herself in a t-shirt with the word "Carter" (her hubby's surname) on the back to make it clear she's still Jay-Z's girl.

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

*Hundreds of thousands of bank customers stand to benefit from a class action over credit card late fees, to be lodged today

*The United States is working to integrate Australian warships into its ballistic missile defence systems in north-east Asia, as it strives to bolster the credibility of American power in the region.

*A Sydney mother became so obsessed with making her two young daughters famous she sent lewd naked photos of them to a dance teacher because she believed it would advance their careers, a court has heard.

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

*More people ignore the warning lights at the Bellambi station level crossing than any other on the regional rail network.

*They headed out in darkness to a duck pond with a jet-ski, hoping to have a quacking good time. But a group of young men have raised the ire of Helensburgh residents, who have labelled the stunt "stupid" and "disrespectful".

*The mother of bashing victim Simon Cramp has welcomed the focus on "coward punches" this Brain Injury Awareness Week.

*The Health Services Union is demanding action after a spate of attacks on staff at Bulli Hospital in the last month

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

WEATHER We're in for a cloudy day with showers expected & a top of 14 degrees. Expect some winds this morning. Right now, it's 3 degrees in Bellambi & 4 in Albion Park (with wind chill!)

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

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

6am Good morning Illawarra & happy Tuesday. Hope you're rugged up on this chilly morning - it is COLD out there. Stay with your host, Emma Spillett, this morning for all the latest news etc.

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