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

​Don't forget to refresh the page for updates. Spotted a traffic problem? Got an event coming up? Would love to hear from you - espillett@fairfaxmedia.com.au

8.30am That's it from us this morning. ​Have a wonderful Thursday. See you tomorrow! - Emma.

8.28am Heston Blumenthal fans will have to go into an online ballot for the chance to experience his famous Fat Duck menu in Australia. Oh, you and 40,000 others. Yep, that's how many inquiries have been lodged for the eatery.

8.26am LOCAL SPORT: As he prepares to end a 14-month hiatus from the ring, Wollongong middleweight Steve Psaras believes he has a trump card in his corner in former world champion and boxing legend Shannan Taylor.

8.24am STRANGE BUT TRUE: French actor Gerard Depardieu has admitted he can drink 14 bottles of wine a day. Good lord! I'd be dead.

8.22am POLITICS: Senator Jacqui Lambie is once again at loggerheads with her leader Clive Palmer, who has distanced PUP from her inflammatory assertion that Australians who back sharia should "get out" of the country.

8.20am Wollongong police would like the public's assistance in locating two framed South Sydney rugby league jerseys that were stolen from a property in Woonona between 9.30am Monday and 9.40am Tuesday this week.

8.18am Three Chimneys is launching Friday night drinks. Happy hour between 5pm & 7pm, cheap cocktails, $5 brews & wines, canapés & prizes. Nice one!

8.16am LOCAL NEWS: Allegations of stolen money between former friends prompted a dramatic home invasion at Barrack Heights in which a man had a gun pointed at his chest.

*Court reporter Shannon Tonkin has the full story.

8.14am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Rumours are swirling that singer Avril Lavigne & Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger have called it quits after 14-months of marriage.

8.12am NATIONAL: The federal government is considering fining social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter if they refuse to remove material deemed harmful to young people from their sites.

8.08am TECH TALK: Telecommunications giant Telstra has boosted its security procedures following revelations it was using flimsy identity checks to protect customers' private data. NB good, good, very comforting.

8.06am Another little pre-Friday funny for you. I wish my job was to come up with entertaining memes.

8.04am The Australian dollar has fallen to a fresh low - below US90c. Ouch!

8.02am Okay, so let's talk about almond milk. I've never tried it but apparently, people are NUTS (ha!) about it - sales of almond milk now outstrip soy in the US. But what does it taste like in coffee? Find out here.

8am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Joel Madden has spoken out about his family life, admitting his wife & kids are his "guiding light." Awww.

7.58am Good morning! Welcome if you're just tuning in. We're in for a mostly sunny day with the chance of a late shower & a top of 17 degrees. All fine on the roads & rail.

7.56am Husband and wife Andrej and Jazz Gacesa, both 33, opened the doors to their brand new cafe and restaurant, Graze, in the Crown St Mall on Wednesday. Yay, new places to eat!

7.54am Everwondered what your dog is thinking? I'm pretty sure Greg, our dog, thinks: eat, sleep on beanbag, try to get into house. Well, an Aussie scientist has unlocked a window into the psyche of man’s best friend, revealing that, just like humans, every dog has its own unique outlook on life.

7.50am RADIO: The third independent editorial audit of ABC content has found that the public broadcaster's local radio stations are in touch with the concerns of the community.

7.48am STRANGE BUT TRUE: An American man has been arrested after he was caught trying to swim across a river from South Korea into North Korea, because he wanted to meet Kim Jong-un, officials in Seoul said yesterday.

7.46am CELEB GOSS ALERT: John Travolta has addressed THOSE gay rumours from his former pilot, who claimed they were romantically involved.

7.44am LOCAL NEWS: Double lung transplant recipient Justin Burns, from Windang, is hoping to shine a light on organ donation when he takes part in the 2014 Australian Transplant Games later this month.

*Health reporter Lisa Wachsmuth has the story.

7.42am Did you catch The Wharf Revue at the IPAC last night? Looks like it's a very funny show. It's on until Saturday, tickets still available via Merrigong.

7.40am WORLD NEWS: Murdered British tourist David Miller struggled violently with his attacker or attackers in the sea on a scenic Thai resort island to protect his fellow victim Hannah Witheridge, forensic tests indicate

7.38am MUSIC NEWS: Mariah Carey has announced plans to tour Australia. She'll play six shows from November 2. Tickets go on-sale Sept 26.

7.36am The guys at Diggies are cooking up breakfast this morning & it looks yum. Head down there for some sunshine & a bite to eat.

7.34am Here's some daily history for you. On this day in 1837, Tiffany and Co. (first named Tiffany & Young) was founded by Charles Lewis Tiffany and Teddy Young in New York City. Thank you Mr Tiffany, thank you.

7.32am LOCAL NEWS: There were dramatic scenes at Kiama council’s administration building on Wednesday afternoon when Cr Neil Reilly was replaced as deputy mayor by Cr Warren Steel after a recount of Tuesday night’s ballot.

*Reporter Alex Arnold has the story here.

7.30am NATIONAL: Prime Minister Tony Abbott has thrown his support behind the legalisation of cannabis for medical purposes. Here's the full story.

7.28am STRANGE BUT TRUE: A man with Aspergers has spent 15 years turning his home into one big playground for cats. And it's pretty cool.

7.26am SPORT: The Wests Tigers yesterday informed coach Mick Potter his contract won't be renewed for next season. Ouch.

7.24am Have you bought your tickets to High School Musical yet? The show opens at WHSPA at the end of September. Grab your seats here.

7.22am Arr fashion week. A time for designers to show off clothes we could never afford or wear in life. Collections always contain THOSE outfits that could never actually be seriously worn in public - check out these numbers.

7.20am This is great - can you spot the imposter? I certainly can't!

7.18am NATIONAL: Smorgasbords of roast dinners, comforting casseroles, pastas and delectable desserts in mining camp mess halls are proving a real-life health crisis for fly-in, fly-out workers, new research shows.

7.16am Lady Gaga looks to be having a lovely time in Athens. She is seriously the only woman who could rock a shell bra. Apart from the Little Mermaid.

7.12am NSW: Cancer advocates will appeal to the High Court to overturn a controversial decision that human genes can be controlled by private companies.

7.10am Kids say the darndest things. And give some pretty cheeky answers!

7.08am LOCAL NEWS: A Lake Heights man accused of running a drug den out of his parents’ garage apparently botched his first batch, claiming it ‘‘turned out like salt’’, a court has heard.

*Court reporter Shannon Tonkin has the story.

7.06am SPORT: The Sydney Swans play Friday night - up the Swannies! But veteran player Adam Goodes has remained tight-lipped on his playing future.

7.04am The next Wild Rumpus Maker's Market is on November 16 at Anita's Theatre. Can't wait! Interested stall holders have until Sept 26 to apply.

7.02am There is new information on the ongoing baby Gammy saga this morning - allegations have surfaced of a frenzied scramble to offload the child when he was born, including offering him to a Victorian couple and suggesting he should be abandoned on the steps of a temple.

7am In another strange-but-true this morning, this dude has been spreading the love in NYC by high-fiving people signalling for cabs. As you do.

6.58am Good morning! Welcome if you're just tuning in. We're in for a mostly sunny day with the chance of a late shower & a top of 17 degrees. All fine on the roads & rail.

6.56am STRANGE BUT TRUE: A high school student in Sydney's west has had the razor taken to his exam results over a new haircut. Dominic Kiehn, 17, has been penalised 20 per cent on his chemistry exam after showing up to All Saints Catholic Senior College in Casula with a haircut that breached the school's uniform policy.

6.54am Keen to whip up something yummy in the kitchen? Try this recipe for chocolate fudge tarts. Holy crap these look good!

6.52am LOCAL NEWS: Kiama MP Gareth Ward has denied community consultation surrounding the naming of the new railway station at Dunmore was "a sham process".

*Reporter Alex Arnold has the story.

6.50am TV NEWS: The Block Glasshouse foreman Keith Schleiger believes some of the show's previous contestants would have lost the plot if they had to deal with the delays of this series. He has praised the current contestants on the reality renovation show for keeping cool heads in very trying circumstances.

6.48am Looking for something to do tonight? Alibi has live music from 7pm to 9pm. Check out Robbie Gyngell tonight & singer/songwriter Nathan Flint tomorrow. Sounds good.

6.46am A little Thursday funny for you. Enjoy.

6.44am NATIONAL: An aid organisation has rejected the Abbott government's multimillion-dollar pledge to help fight the Ebola epidemic, saying more personnel and equipment are urgently needed instead.

6.42am In some other celeb news this morning, George Clooney is not paying for his upcoming nuptials, despite being a gazillionaire. The couple are following tradition & the bride's parents are footing the bill.

6.40am Have you voted in our Shoot the Hairdresser competition yet? View the entries here & register your vote quick smart.

6.38am WORLD NEWS: Xi Jinping, China's president has asked Chinese people travelling aboard to stop eating so many instant noodles. Lol!

6.36am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Ryan Gosling & Eva Mendes reportedly both cried after seeing their baby girl for the first time. Sniff, sniff.

6.34am NSW: Missing three-year-old William Tyrell could not have survived alone in the bush if he wandered off from his grandmother's house on the NSW mid-north coast last week, survival experts have told police.

6.32am LOCAL SPORT: St George Illawarra star Trent Merrin admits he has no idea if he and Brett Morris will be teammates at the Dragons next season.

6.30am STRANGE BUT TRUE: A classical flautist was performing in a music comp when a butterfly landed on her face. Amazingly, she didn't miss a note.

6.28am OMG it's National Guacamole Day! Yay, I love guaco. Here's how to create the perfect guacamole, according to Neil Perry. 

6.26am This makes me very sad - cereal, the breakfast of champions, is becoming stigmatised. People don't want to eat it anymore. NOOOO!

6.24am CELEB NEWS: More news has emerged about the operation that ultimately caused comedian Joan River's death. Apparently the doctor who did the operation took a selfie during the procedure. WHA?!

6.22am MUSIC NEWS: So U2's free album, available via iTunes, has turned out to be an epic fail. The album is okay but people are NOT happy (me included!) about the album just appearing in their iTunes. It's an invasion of my private, music space!

6.20am LOCAL NEWS: An eight-month-old Woonona boy found next to his mother, who may have been dead for days before her body was found, has been moved to Sydney Children’s Hospital.

*Get the full story here.

6.18am TV NEWS: Did you love 7th Heaven? Let's face it, it was a pretty cute show back in the day. Well, the cast recently had a little reunion - awww.

6.16am BREAKING: Police are currently raiding properties across Sydney as part of a counter-terrorism operation. Get updates here.

6.14am WORLD NEWS: Scots have been threatened with a health service crisis, financial panic and a defence nightmare if they vote to go it alone, as the independence campaign enters its final 24 hours. NB what do you think?

6.12am NSW: Rumours are circulating this morning that two brothers, missing near Byron Bay, may be hiding out at a cult with their father.

6.10am TV NEWS: Did you watch The Bachelor last night? #dirtystreetpie aka Laurina FINALLY went home! Also, Sam was treated to a fairytale date, including jewels, and Jessica continued to gush like a weirdo on the group date.

6.08am How could I go past starting today's Rush with a cute animal shot!? Here is a baby wombat for your enjoyment.

6.06am And in national news, via the SMH:

*Churchgoers in Sydney's west have been left shaken after a stranger shouted death threats from a car bearing the Islamic State flag.

*Sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise and syphilis has hit an all-time high.

*The Sydney man who left six-year-old Kiesha Weippeart to die after she was bashed by her mother should have his sentence cut because his offer to help police led the mother to admit she was guilty, a court has heard.

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

*EXCLUSIVE: A Cordeaux Heights man has been arrested for the second time over the 2012 shooting death of Darko Janceski.

*Illawarra mines will be largely unaffected by China's plans to reduce coal imports.

*One in five people believe a woman is responsible for her own rape if she's drunk, 9 per cent say a man is less responsible for domestic violence if he is drunk, and two in five think it is fine to secretly monitor a woman's movements.

6.02am Let's kick things off with the latest weather & traffic, shall we?

WEATHER We're in for a mostly sunny day with the chance of a late shower & a top of 17 degrees. Those winds are set to hang around too.

TRAFFIC All good on the region's roads & for the drive to Sydney and beyond.

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

6am Good morning Illawarra, happy Thursday! Hope you're having a good week. Thanks to Josh Butler for holding down the fort while I had a much-needed RDO yesterday. Stay with me this morning for all the latest news etc.

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