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

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

8.38am LOCAL SPORT: The litter mate of Wentworth Park track record holder Shakey Jakey will headline the heats of the Group 3 Dapto Maiden (520m) tomorrow.

8.36am TV NEWS: Don't forget The Bachelor is on tonight! 7.30pm.

8.34am These male make-up transformations doing the social media rounds are HILARIOUS! Check them out below - if only it was that simple!

8.33am JUST IN: Reports two people are dead, 8 injured and three trapped following a 5.1 earthquake in Ecuador’s capital Quito.

8.32am Want to head along to see Southern Stars at the WIN Entertainment Centre on August 29 & 30? We're giving away a family pass. Click here to enter.

8.30am POLITICS: The federal government denies a refugee resettlement deal with Cambodia is imminent but says it will not give refugees ‘‘economic upgrades’’ on where they end up. Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has dismissed reports he is due to fly to the southeast Asian nation this week to sign a deal to send 1000 refugees from the Australian-run detention centre on Nauru there. (AAP)

8.28am WORLD NEWS: A very sad survey coming out of the UK - one in 10 people in the UK do not have a close friend and even more feel unloved. Aww.

8.26am The Brewery is running Tex Mex nights every Thursday. Think nachos, tequila and Corona buckets to share. Yum!

8.25am NATIONAL: Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has dramatically stepped up Australia's condemnation of Moscow over the flight MH17 tragedy, accusing it of trying to use humanitarian help as a pretext for an occupation.

8.23am CELEB NEWS: A memorial has been set up for Robin Williams outside the San Francisco house used in Mrs Doubtfire.

8.22am STRANGE BUT TRUE: Do you remember the Prancercise lady?! You know we've talked about her before. Well, she's back! The leader of the, um, interesting fitness revolution, focused on horse-like moves, has a new YouTube video coming soon. Can't wait!

8.20am LOCAL NEWS: West Wollongong couple Harry Brian Crockett, 22, and Haylee Smith, 21, have narrowly avoided jail after instigating a drunken melee in Crown Street Mall on March 23.

*Reporter Bree Fuller has the full story here.

8.18am WORLD NEWS: A panel of medical experts has determined it is ethical to provide experimental treatments to patients infected with the deadly Ebola virus, the World Health Organisation says as the global death toll topped 1000.

8.14am Check out these vegetables transformed into little animals - amazing! Ta to my friend Franc for posting this one.

8.13am Mark August 25 on your calenders - it’s Emmy Award time!

8.10am SPORT: Rory McIlroy is crediting his recent golfing wins to dumping his fiance earlier this year. The Irish golfer broke up with Danish tennis star Caroline Wozniacki earlier in the year, and told reporters at the PGA Championship it has done wonders for his career. Ouch! Poor Caroline!

8.08am CELEB GOSS ALERT: This is disturbing - James Franco has swapped his perfectly nice man locks for a HORRIBLE bleached blonde look. Dear god, I hope it's for an acting role.

8.06am LOCAL NEWS: BlueScope Steel will begin blast furnace maintenance work today. It's warned nearby residents to expect loud noises and emissions from the plant.

*Click here for the full story.

8.04am NATIONAL: At least three government senators say they could support a push to revive changes to race hate laws abandoned last week by the government, in a move that will embarrass Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

8.02am Got a bad school formal shot? These will make you feel SO much better. These school dance photos from the US will make you CRINGE. (And feel a little better about that dodgy formal dress/tan/tiara)

8am STRANGE BUT TRUE: An Adelaide primary school selling Subway sandwiches in its canteen is creating debate around whether schools should be serving fast food to their students. Very interesting...

7.58am Good morning if you're just tuning in! We're in for a chance of showers this morning & a top of 16 degrees. All sweet on the roads & rail.

7.56am Have you booked your tickets to see High School Musical yet? It’s on at WHSPA from September 29 to October 5. Grab your tix here.

7.54am LOCAL NEWS: Kiama MP Gareth Ward did not contest a ballot to become the NSW government whip at a Liberal party room meeting on Tuesday morning.

*Reporter Kate McIlwain has the full story here.

7.52am CELEB NEWS: A visibly shaken Conan O'Brien broke the news of Robin Williams' death to his studio audience overnight. He described the loss as "absolutely shocking and horrifying, and so upsetting on every level."

7.50am The Abbott government could be considering changes to its paid parental leave scheme in a bid to avoid a Senate defeat. The coalition is considering scaling back payments to wealthier new parents to develop new programs that help with childcare. Some of the scheme’s funds could be redirected towards a broader childcare policy. (AAP)

7.48am STRANGE BUT TRUE: People, I bring you the face-kini. Yep, it is exactly as it sounds - a bikini for your face. It's very popular in China & used to shield oneself from the sun. Ever heard of a hat?!

7.46am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Oh dear Britney Spears. A raw version of her single Work B**ch has hit the social media sphere - and it ain't pretty. Thank god for auto tune!

7.44am Love curry but don't know your korma from your vindaloo? Here's some great Indian curry recipes to try in your kitchen tonight. NB we accept left-overs!

7.42am NATIONAL: A majority of Liberal MPs are ready for a conscience vote on gay marriage, a crossbench senator who is drafting a same-sex marriage bill says. Liberal Democratic Party senator David Leyonhjelm is rushing to draft a private member’s bill to legalise gay marriage and is urging Prime Minister Tony Abbott to let his colleagues vote however they want. (AAP)

7.40am OMG it's World Elephant Day! Yay. Here's a lovely snap of an elephant to mark the occasion.

7.38am Did you play sport over the weekend? We might have snapped your picture! Check out our wrap-up gallery of the weekend's sporting matches.

7.36am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Rumours are abounding that Kim, Khloe & Kourtney Kardashian have refused to film another season of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Say it isn't so?! Could it be?!

7.34am NATIONAL: Baby killer Keli Lane's last hope of overturning her murder conviction will be heard in the highest court in the land on Friday.

7.32am Had a bad night's sleep? NB I actually had a really deep sleep last night, pretty sure I was snoring. Anywho, here's six tips to "look awake" in the morning, even if you feel like poo.

7.30am Five kisses a day, a three and a half year age gap and a romantic meal once a month are among the key ingredients for a successful relationship, a survey has found. Other crucial factors to keep your other half happy include admitting blame after an argument, sharing household chores and sex twice a week. Good to know!

7.28am Love Oktoberfest? So does The Little Prince. It's hosting a beer dinner to celebrate on September (um?!) 30. See below for more details.

7.26am LOCAL NEWS: The number of Illawarra residents darting in front of trains at level crossings is probably much higher than reported, NSW TrainLink chief executive Rob Mason says.

*Reporter Glen Humphries has the full story here.

7.24am WORLD NEWS: The shooting death of unarmed teen Michael Brown in St Louis that has outaged communities in the US has also triggered a Twitter hashtag drawing attention to a perception gap around the images of black youth in the United States.

7.22am A little history lesson for you this morning - the Australian Red Cross Society was formed 100 years ago today.

7.20am Want to win a VIP pass to the Froth & Bubbles festival at the WEC on August 24? Click here for your chance to win tickets, dinner & accommodation.

7.18am NATIONAL: Several Coalition MPs have spoken out about the federal government's plans to force internet service providers to store Australians' internet data for two years, warning there is a potential for the changes to breach the rights of individuals to privacy.

7.16am MOVIE NEWS: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot debuted over the weekend. It busted the box office, bringing in nearly $94 million globally. There's already plans for a sequel in 2016. Check out the trailer below.

7.14am New tickets have just been released for the Sydney season of Wicked. It kicks off at the Capital Theatre on September 20. Les Miserables is also on its way to Sydney. Pre-sale is on for American Express customers until Aug 24.

7.12am TV NEWS: Dr Who fans weren't seeing things yesterday - there really was a Tardis in Sydney. Doctor Who himself, Peter Capaldi, dropped into Sydney, joking about the perils of joining the long-running British science-fiction series as the 12th incarnation of the Time Lord.

7.10am Okay, so. Crop-tops are all the rage, see red carpets, shops, the gym. But if you don't have rock hard abs, they're no good. Or are they? Here's a bit of a guide to rocking a crop-top - without exposing your muffin top. NB gents, stop reading now.

7.08am NATIONAL: A nun is among a group of praying protesters who have been arrested at Treasurer Joe Hockey's electorate office in Sydney. The group, part of the Christian movement called Love Makes A Way, entered Mr Hockey's North Sydney office at 10.30am on Tuesday to hold a prayer vigil and demand a commitment on children in immigration detention centre.

7.06am Wakakirri, the primary school eistedfodd, is on tonight at the WIN Entertainment Centre from 7.15pm.

7.04am LOCAL NEWS: A Lake Illawarra woman accused of recruiting a 14-year-old to steal thousands of dollars worth of goods from Illawarra retailers has failed to appear in court.

*Reporter Bree Fuller has the full story here.

7.02am Holy crapola these look good - I bring you Nutella brownie bites. Yum.

7.01am I love this - US Weekly magazine has put together a great gallery of the 23 lessons we can learn from Robin Williams' movies. Relive all his best films & roles below.

7am Good morning if you're just tuning in! We're in for a chance of showers this morning & a high of 16 degrees. All sweet on the roads & rail.

6.58am LOCAL SPORT: With the Dragons drifting from the NRL finals picture, Paul McGregor made his first selection shake-up as coach after Adam Quinlan was rested for Saturday's showdown with Canberra.

6.56am MH17: PM Tony Abbott has reaffirmed his pledge to leave none of Australia's crash victims abandoned in a foreign field but some of the dead may lie there for months to come.

6.54am OMG people I've found something to combat all the ugly, sad news in the world this morning - PANDA TRIPLETS! Enjoy.

6.52am NATIONAL: Australian combat forces could return to Iraq within weeks under plans being discussed with our allies, PM Tony Abbott said in London overnight. However, Mr Abbott took pains to emphasise it would be a limited mission to “prevent genocide”

6.50am A new study has revealed that bosses would rather hire a man in his 20s or 30s than a woman of the same age as they're concerned the woman will leave their job to pursue family life. Ouch for my gender, ouch!

6.48am Don't forget free trivia is on at the Brewery tonight.

6.46am Looking for something to do on Friday night? Why not head to the Seacliff Restaurant for its How to Host a Murder dinner? NB I've never been to one of these & they look like so much fun. See below for more info.

6.45am Roo Theatre’s production of The Mikado opens on August 30. The theatre is looking for volunteers to help with front-of-house. Email admin@roo-theatre.com.au if you can assist.

6.44am POLITICS: Tasmanian PUP senator Jacqui Lambie says she "feels sorry" for Joe Hockey, accusing his colleagues of abandoning the Treasurer as he attempts to sell his unpopular budget.

6.42am CELEB NEWS: Hundreds of fans & tourists have gathered at the Hollywood Walk of Fame to pay tribute to Robin Williams.

6.40am LOCAL NEWS: NSW TrainLink isn't looking to follow the lead of Sydney Trains and cut ticket-seller positions on the South Coast as part of the Opal card roll-out.

*Reporter Glen Humphries has the full story here.

6.38am WORLD NEWS: South Africa plans to evacuate hundreds of rhino from the famed Kruger National Park to safe havens out of horn smugglers' reach. Poor rhinos!

6.36am Keen to learn how to make pasta? Well, get in quick - spots for Wild Rumpus' pasta making class this Friday are filling fast! Click below for details.

6.34am Alibi is running a $10 beer & pizza/pasta special every Wednesday night. They’ll also be screening some classic films. Cool!

6.33am GOLD COAST: A former girlfriend of Gable Tostee, the man at the centre of an investigation into the death of Warriena Tagpuno Wright who fell from his 14th floor Gold Coast apartment, says she thinks he would "never" hurt a woman.

6.32am LOCAL SPORT: State of Origin centre Josh Dugan is ready to use a hostile reception in Canberra on Saturday as motivation to break the long-standing Raiders' hoodoo.

6.30am CELEB NEWS: The Laugh Factory in LA, where Robin Williams performed during his career, posted a moving tribute to the funny man. Its sign read: "Robin Williams. Rest In Peace. Make God Laugh". Perfection.

6.28am STRANGE BUT TRUE: Paris Hilton (she of reality TV fame) is paid $374,000 AN HOUR to DJ in Ibiza. Per hour. My jaw just hit the floor. Twice.

6.26am Illawarra savvy snappers, we want your photos for our 2015 calendar. Send in your pics of the region at its best for your chance to win $500 & a coveted spot in the calendar. Click here to enter.

6.24am NATIONAL: ASIO boss David Irvine says Australian jihadists have carried out some of the "worst of the worst" extremist atrocities in Syria and Iraq and warns this could inspire young followers at home.

6.23am WORLD NEWS: Heavy flooding has hit the city of Detroit in the US, with 13cm of rain falling in one day. That's a LOT of rain.

6.22am Don't forget we're crossing every hour to Pulse 94.1FM with all the latest from the Rush.

6.20am Poor ol' Brynne Edelsten. She's still at war with her former husband Geoffrey who now wants her to change her name. The 71-year-old has been quoted as saying: "stop using my last name, Brynne. You are only using it to get publicity and attention, it’s desperate.” Ouch!

6.18am NATIONAL: Schapelle Corby is under fire for "having no job". It's been reported that she spends her time in Indonesia reading and going to the beach.

6.16am LOCAL NEWS: An East Corrimal man caught speeding more than 30km/h over the limit on Appin Road in April has been slammed by a Port Kembla magistrate.

*Reporter Bree Fuller has the full story here.

6.14am Dozens of celebrities have shared their sadness over Robin Williams' death. Good Will Hunting co-star Ben Affleck said he was "heartbroken." So very sad.

6.12am WORLD NEWS: An elderly Spanish priest infected with Ebola has died in a Madrid hospital, five days after being evacuated from Liberia.

6.10am The drama around the baby Gammy case continues - Channel Nine has denied withholding money that 60 Minutes had offered to obtain its high-rating interview with the Australian biological parents of the bub.

6.08am CELEB NEWS: The cause of Robin Williams' death has been determined - the actor hung himself in his California home. Devastating.

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

*The Baird government faces two damaging by-elections after former Liberal MPs Andrew Cornwell and Tim Owen resigned from Parliament following damning evidence at a corruption inquiry.

*Advocates for survivors of child sex abuse have cautiously welcomed the Catholic Church’s proposed compensation scheme for victims of institutional abuse.

*Tony Shepherd was one of a group of ‘‘bigwigs’’ trying to drive up traffic forecasts on the ill-fated Lane Cove Tunnel project, the Supreme Court has heard.

*Australia and the US will join forces to appeal for a strong international effort through the UN to combat the worrying presence of foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria.

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

*Shellharbour City Council will soon own up to 10 poker machines through The Links, Shell Cove after a major backflip by councillors.

*If you feel unsafe in your own suburb or when you visit Wollongong's city centre, the council wants to hear about your concerns.

*As a 7 per cent jobless rate looms for the Illawarra, federal Labor MPs believe the government should reinstate the local employment co-ordinator.

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

WEATHER It's a teeny tiny bit warmer, yippee! We're in for a fairly gloomy day with a chance of showers this morning. Temps are set to hit 16 degrees.

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

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

6am Good morning Illawarra! Happy hump day - it's the middle of the working week. Hope you're having a good one. Stay with your host, Emma Spillett, this morning for all the latest news etc.

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