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

Don't forget to refresh for updates. Got a traffic tip or a news bite? Email espillett@fairfaxmedia.com.au - we'd love to hear from you.

8.30am That's it from us this morning. Have a wonderful Tuesday. See you tomorrow!

8.20am SPORT: Rumours are swirling that Michael Clarke's teammates are moving on without him.

8.10am NATIONAL: The Abbott government's decision to slash the foreign aid budget is likely have a detrimental impacts on the world's poorest and most vulnerable women and children, an analysis shows. Read more.

8.08am Did you make it into our Shellharbour Australia Day gallery? Click here to spot any familiar faces.

8.06am People in the US are REALLY making the most of the snow!

8.04am LOCAL NEWS: A man holidaying on the South Coast has been bashed and sexually assaulted by two males near a caravan park, police say.

8.02am There is a lot of water on the roads so slow down!

8am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Emma Stone wore a suit to the SAG awards. And she rocked it, of course. That woman can do NO wrong on the red carpet.

7.58am Good morning! Welcome if you're just tuning in. We're in for a cloudy day with a top of 21 degrees. There is an 80 per cent chance of showers. All good on the roads & rail.

7.56am TRAIN ALERT - Thirroul: the lift between the concourse and platforms 2/3 is temporarily out of service.

7.54am Looking for somewhere fantastic to stay on your next holiday? Check out these hotels opening this year. Very cool.

7.52am Can you believe this bonsai tree is more than 800-years old?

7.50am NATIONAL: The Abbott government has lost a legal bid to force public servants to spend an extra week-and-a-half at their desks each year. A government push to allow its bureaucrats to cash out their annual leave and to strip parental leave entitlements from the award also fell flat before the Commission's full bench. (SMH)

7.48am Have you been snapped out & about in the Illawarra? Check out this week's socials gallery - you never know who you might spot!

7.46am All this drama over the campaign to get Taylor Swift into the Triple J Hottest 100 - honestly, isn't there bigger drama in the world?! Thoughts?!

7.44am LOCAL NEWS: Our first Illawarra bub born on Australia Day quickly earned an unusual nickname - Lamington.

*Reporter Lisa Wachsmuth has the story.

7.42am OMG, I cannot even talk about how FREAKING cute Hamish Blake & Zoe Foster's little boy Sonny is. Oh good lord, those eyes!

7.40am NATIONAL: Regulators need to stop online companies such as Uber and Airbnb – as well as people using their services – from dodging their tax obligations, says shadow assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh. Read more.

7.38am In case you missed it, here is the list of Illawarra residents who received Australia Day honours. Congrats - some very worthy recipients.

7.36am CELEB GOSS ALERT: McDreamy is back on the market! Patrick Dempsey & his wife are separating. And she's now going after him for spousal & child support.

7.34am Ladies, you'll love this - scientists have proved that every man needs a good night out with his friends. According to the research, male bonding is more likely to lower a man's stress levels than a night out with his partner, or time spent with the family. Read more.

7.32am WORLD NEWS: Alexis Tsipras, the 40-year-old leader of party Syriza, has been sworn in as Greek prime minister, the youngest in 150 years.

7.30am LOCAL SPORT: A year after moving to Wollongong, Jake Birtwhistle made it back-to-back Australia Day Aquathon successes with a hard fought win on Monday.

7.28am I love this - a friend posted it on Facebook and I think it perfectly sums up Australia for all our friends overseas.

7.26am NSW: Rosie Batty's elevation to Australian of the Year has intensified pressure on the NSW government, two months from an election, to overhaul its approach to tackling the "serious epidemic" of domestic violence. Read more.

7.24am Can you believe it's nearly February already!? Seriously, this year is flying by...

7.22am Want great skin? Then, check out these tips. Ssssh they're secret!

7.20am Don't forget the sunset cinema is still on at the Wollongong Botanic Gardens from Thursday to Sunday. It's Night At the Museum: Secret of the Tomb this Friday.

7.18am SPORT: Have you been watching the Australian Open? There's been some GREAT tennis. Looking forward to seeing Kyrgios take on Andy Murray.

7.16am Australian Tegan Martin is out of the running to be crowned Miss Universe. The student from Newcastle made it to the top ten but bowed out when the contestants were culled to the final five. Boo!

7.14am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Modern Family star Sofia Vergara debuted THIS sparkler at the SAG Awards. Hello engagement ring!

7.12am NATIONAL: The Prime Minister has dismissed as "electronic graffiti" a medium that his own government and corporate Australia spend millions of dollars a year monitoring and engaging in - Twitter & Facebook. Read more.

7.10am LOCAL NEWS: Immigration is investigating allegations foreign workers in Bomaderry are being underpaid, but has refused to confirm how many 457visas are being used in the Illawarra.

*Reporter Andrew Pearson has the story.

7.08am OMG this looks DISGUSTING - it's KFC's new Double Down Dog. It's a hot dog wrapped in fried chicken and covered in cheese. I. have. no. words.

7.06am Don't forget school zones are back this morning.

7.04am Speaking of celebrities, did you watch the SAG awards yesterday? We've got all the looks from the red carpet here.

7.02am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Kate Hudson has flashed a bit of her bootie while out with mum Goldie Hawn at the Versace show in Paris. She looks AMAZING!

6.58am Good morning! Welcome if you're just tuning in. We're in for a cloudy day with a top of 21 degrees. There is an 80 per cent chance of showers. There is a car broken down on the Hume Highway (near Picton Rd) in Wilton, which has closed the southbound lane. Otherwise, all good on the roads & rail.

6.56am Did you check out Humber over the weekend? It officially opened its doors on Sunday for breakfast & lunch. It looked PACKED when I wandered past...

6.54am NATIONAL: Afghanistan's new President has urged the West to stay involved in his country – including militarily - longer than the planned withdrawal date at the end of next year in a meeting with Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop.

Julie Bishop visiting troops in Afghanistan.

Julie Bishop visiting troops in Afghanistan.

6.52am Are you hugger? You should be - here's five benefits of hugging. Aw.

6.50am Congrats to all those who participated in the Australia Day aquathon yesterday - I heard it was damn cold in the water!

6.48am Eaten too much this long weekend? Want to detox with some health foods? Try this recipe for choc protein balls. Delish.

6.46am WORLD NEWS: Ten people were killed and another 13 people were injured after a Greek fighter plane crashed during NATO training in Spain on Monday, a spokesman for the defence ministry said.

NATO authorities say a Greek F-16 crashed after losing power on take-off at a training centre in Albacete, Spain. This file photo shows a Taiwan Air Force F-16 fighter jet. Photo: AP

NATO authorities say a Greek F-16 crashed after losing power on take-off at a training centre in Albacete, Spain. This file photo shows a Taiwan Air Force F-16 fighter jet. Photo: AP

6.44am If you're looking for a longer read this morning, check out this great piece from reporter Brianna Parkins on life inside a brothel.

6.42am NSW: Owners of apartments in blocks with swimming pools and spas could be barred from selling or letting their properties if these pools do not meet safety standards, under new regulations due to come in this autumn. (SMH)

6.40am CELEB GOSS ALERT: If you missed this one over the weekend, Sonia Kruger has given birth to a baby girl, Maggie. She returned to work on Channel Nine's Mornings on Monday (via phone) to gush about her little one.

6.38am I know it's only Tuesday but mark it in your diaries - Berry Show is on this weekend.

6.36am This front page is causing some MAJOR drama - photo shopped much? Check out Princess Kate's crazy eyes! What the!?

6.34am LOCAL NEWS: For most new citizens at Wollongong City Council's Australia Day citizenship ceremony, a certificate and miniature flags sufficed as souvenirs, but not for Junior Mushaba. Instead, the 18-year-old flung his arm around a surprised Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery and snapped a selfie to commemorate his first few seconds of Australian citizenship.

*Reporter Brianna Parkins has the story.

6.32am MOVIE NEWS: Nicole Kidman looks set to prove her critics wrong, with her performance in the new Aussie thriller Strangerland drawing a rapturous reception from audiences at the Sundance film festival in Utah. Read more.

6.30am Did you see the SMH's front page yesterday? Cartoonist Cathy Wilcox explored Australia Day via the alphabet. Very clever.

6.28am Looking for some inspiration in the kitchen this week? Check out this weekly meal planner - it's chock full of recipes.

6.26am NATIONAL: Incensed Coalition MPs are demanding Tony Abbott consult more thoroughly as a bitter public and party-room reaction to an Australia Day knighthood for the Queen's husband threatens to widen into outright hostility towards the leadership. Could this be the nail in Tony's political coffin? Mark Kenny from the Heraldexamines the decision.

6.24am WORLD NEWS: The Church of England has consecrate its first female bishop.

6.22am TRAIN ALERT: The 06:23 Thirroul to Port Kembla service on the South Coast Line is cancelled due to a mechanical issue.

6.20am The CEO of Mattel has resigned, amid struggles to sell Barbies. The toy maker's net income has tumbled 59 per cent in the three months ending Dec 31. Ouch.

6.18am Aww, isn't it nice when cats & dogs get along!?

6.16am LOCAL NEWS: The owner of a Shoalhaven supermarket was reportedly taken against his will and later dumped beside a road during one of two robberies in the area on Monday night.

*Reporter Andrew Pearson has the story.

6.14am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Lindsay Lohan has been accused of photoshopping her latest Instagram pic. Users drew attention to the angular edges of her bum and the unnatural curves of the objects behind her - a frequent giveaway of a digitally altered image. What do you think?

6.12am Good morning to all those teachers heading back to school today after a LONG break!

6.10am MUSIC NEWS: Chet Faker took out the coveted No.1 spot in a record-breaking outing for Triple J's annual Hottest 100 music poll with his song Talk is Cheap.Here's the top 10. How many did you pick!?

6.08am WORLD NEWS: One of the convicted killers of little boy James Bulger, Jon Venables – now aged 32 - has uploaded his profile to a dating site, searching out love and companionship.

6.06am And in national news, via the SMH:

*Australian golfer Robert Allenby ran up a $US3400 bar tab at a Honolulu strip club the night he claims he was bashed, robbed and abducted, according to a US report.

*Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, the Bali Nine members on death row, are unlikely to learn this month whether they will face the firing squad in the second round of executions to be held in Indonesia this year.

*Australians suffering from chronic pain may get more relief from their symptoms using cannabis than they do from some conventional medications, researchers have found. Read more.

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

*Australia Day crowds at Wollongong Harbour argued over the best thong throwing techniques, covered their ears to cannon fire and enjoyed food as ethically diverse as Australia’s migrant culture.

*A Sydney duo allegedly stole a $7000 jet ski from outside a Lake Illawarra home for a ''joy ride'' before leading police on a drug-fuelled pursuit, a court has heard. Read more.

*Disadvantaged families in the Illawarra are struggling with back-to-school blues as the cost of educating children balloons to more than $2000 a  child a year.

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

WEATHER Well, things have definitely cooled down. We're in for a cloudy day with a top of 21 degrees. There is an 80 per cent chance of showers.

TRAFFIC All good on our roads & for the drive to Sydney if you're heading back to work or school today.

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

6am Good morning Illawarra! Happy Tuesday, hope you had a wonderful long weekend. I had to work boohoo. Anywho, stay with your host Emma Spillett this morning for all the latest news etc.

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