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

8.52am That's it from us this morning. Hope you enjoyed the Rush! Tune in tomorrow for Thursday's edition. Ciao!

8.50am TRAFFIC UPDATE - Mt Ousley: that earlier five-car accident has cleared, southbound delays are easing.

8.49am STRANGE BUT TRUE: Barbie has gone medieval. Yep, a campaign launched today on the crowd-funding site Kickstarter offers instructions on how to create your own Barbie suit of arms using a 3-D printer. If you pledge $200 or more, you receive a pre-made order of the armor too.

8.48am So, rumours have been swelling for awhile about a merger between David Jones & Myer. Debate is set to heat up again this week when the companies release their financial results. I think the merger would be a great idea - they both do different things well and it would create a powerhouse department store. Plus, it would save the walk between them.

8.46am A great read from reporter Kate Walsh this morning on child anxiety and how parents can help.

8.44am BREAKING WORLD NEWS: Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a treaty making Crimea part of Russia again.

8.42am The trial of Hey Dad! star Robert Hughes is set to continue in the Downing Centre today.

8.40am This is classic - anyone with a dog can totally relate - they do NOT like that trip to the vet.

8.38am SPORT: Frustrated by his poor form, Cadel Evans has quit the Tirreno-Adriatico, with one stage remaining, in a bid to regroup for bigger goals ahead.

8.36am Like oysters? Then you'll want to head to the Narooma Oyster Festival on April 5 & 6 and indulge.

8.34am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Britney Spears' little sis got married over the weekend - and she had a HUGE cake. Like massive. Mmmmm cake.

8.32am POLITICS: Changes to a core migration act, which critics argue could allow Scott Morrison to “play God” and decide the fate of asylum seekers, have been investigated by a Senate committee. Read more here.

8.30am It's time for a rousing game of "anywhere but here" - inspiration this morning, courtesy of Instagram, in a hot air balloon watching the sunrise over Melbourne. Arrrr.....

8.28am Have you bought your tickets to Legally Blonde yet? They're on sale now via Ticketek - don't miss out, it's going to be a great show! It's on at the WEC on July 4 & 5.

8.26am LOCAL SPORT: Any shred of the notion ‘‘it’s only pre-season’’ will be forgotten when Wollongong Olympic meet Bulli in the Fraternity Club Cup final tonight.

8.24am CELEB NEWS: Home & Away star Ada Nicodemou is pregnant with baby number two. 

8.21am TRAFFIC ALERT - Mt Ousley: five-car accident near New Mt Pleasant Rd causing some dramas. Take it easy around there!

8.20am A little history for you this morning - today in 1932, the Sydney Harbour Bridge was officially opened.

8.18am Have you had your flu shot yet? Well, according to llawarra GP Dr Helen Rienits, you should. She says new flu strains are expected to circulate this season. Yuck!

8.16am BREAKING NATIONAL NEWS: A young Sydney man who was killed in January while fighting with terrorist organisations in Syria was an Australian soldier who went absent without leave more than three years ago.

8.14am TRAFFIC ALERT: UOW - as usual, there are major traffic queues outside the campus. Leave plenty of extra travel time.

8.12am Good lord these muffins look good. Lee & Me is serving up Bread & Butter Pudding muffins with brandy sauce. Excuse me while I drool on the keyboard...

8.10am I like a clean house. I keep things quite tidy and don't like bugs so this story seriously scared me. There is a BUTTLOAD of bacteria in our homes - and this advice to get rid of it is insane! Who has that kind of time!?

8.08am STRANGE BUT TRUE: Police are calling on a woman who relieved herself in a regional Victoria McDonald's restaurant drive-thru on Saturday night to hand herself in after a furore on Facebook.

8.06am People are VERY particular about their pizza - as Youtube user Stuntbear found out. He took a bunch of complaints from the Domino’s Australia Facebook page, and put them all into one epic ‘first world pizza problems’ compilation. NB The video hopes to raise money for charity - watch!

8.04am Today is National Ride2School Day! On your bike!

8.02am The Merc is launching a new page on April 15 called Kid's Corner. Send in pics of your little cherubs & we'll print them - email for more info.

8am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Cameron Diaz has been spotted skinny-dipping in the Carribean. And she looks AMAZE for a 41-year-old.

7.58am An Aussie cafe has imposed a surcharge if customers use their phone while ordering. (Mamamia) Thoughts? It is very rude but I must admit, I do use my phone occasionally...

7.56am BREAKING WORLD NEWS: A massive international online child pornography ring, with links to victims in Australia and New Zealand, has been dismantled in the US. Authorities say it is one of the largest operations of its type ever uncovered, and that they had arrested and charged 14 suspects in the secret, members-only online network, which had more than 27,000 subscribers.

7.54am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Could singer Jordin Sparks and singer Jason Derulo be walking down the aisle soon? Awww, they'd have such talented children.

7.52am Good morning & happy Hump Day! If you're just rolling out of bed, rise & shine! Here's the latest weather & traffic to ease you into the day.

WEATHER Goodbye sunny weather :( We're in for a partly cloudy day with a top of 25 degrees. Isolated thunderstorms & showers are set to develop later this morning so keep your brolly handy. Right now, it's 14 in Albion Park and 18 in Bellambi.

TRAFFIC Everything looks clear on the region's roads. There is a two-car accident at Kareela (Princes Hwy @ Bates Dr) affecting southbound traffic.

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

7.50am So some guys got together and made a GoPro video of "Superman" flying. It's pretty sick. Check it out below. NB It's already had 2 million+ hits.

7.48am Did you watch The Face on Fox8 last night? I haven't watched it yet - would love to hear your thoughts!

7.46am NATIONAL NEWS: Police will spend a third day searching a rural QLD property for the remains of several babies believed to be buried there. Officers began searching the property, near Gin Gin, southwest of Bundaberg on Monday, but so far no bones have been found. (AAP)

7.44am So, ice-cream cleanses. Yep, it's a thing now - you spend four days eating raw gourmet sorbet and NOTHING else. I think I would puke. Does it work? Find out here - maybe one not to try at home!

7.42am LOCAL NEWS: Unanderra trucking company McCabe Transport will have 235 fatigue-related charges heard in a Sydney court, following a successful court application to have the case moved.

7.40am Don't forget the MS 24-hour mega swim is on this weekend at URAC. Great way to get fit & raise money for charity.

7.38am RADIO NEWS: Chaser member Julian Morrow claims the Kyle and Jackie O radio show invited him to make jokes about missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on air yesterday. NB Too soon guys, too soon.

7.36am Have you entered the Merc's footy tipping comp? It's not too late to sign up - even if it's purely for bragging rights.

7.34am CELEB NEWS: Surprise! Wayne Knight aka Newman from Seinfeld is NOT dead - despite reports. Have a look at some other celebrities who have reportedly died, only to miraculously re-live - Jeff Goldblum anyone?!

7.32am NATIONAL NEWS: The shooting of a mentally ill university student by police followed directly from a “rash and unconsidered” decision by an officer to chase the young man which began a “cascading of disaster”, the coroner’s court has heard.

7.30am You've probably heard of TED talks - they're kind of like inspirational videos. This one, from Amanda Palmer, a performer/musician, has spoken about the art of asking. And it's fascinating. Check it out here.

7.28am STRANGE BUT TRUE: Thieves have stolen part of an ancient fresco from Pompeii, breaking in to a closed area of the UNESCO World Heritage landmark and chipping off a portrait of a Greek deity. NB I have an interesting story about Pompeii - see me personally for details, it's not one to share publicly!

7.26am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Gwyneth Paltrow and hubby Chris Martin have dropped $14 million on a new beach pad. Check it out below.

7.24am BREAKING: Chinese families have reportedly threatened a hunger strike over the lack of details on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight.

7.22am TRAIN ALERT - South Coast Line:

7.20am LOCAL NEWS: If you are walking, sitting, dining or just spending time in Wollongong's CBD over the next few days, chances are your movements will be tracked and counted by Wollongong City Council.

7.18am POLITICS: Prosecutors and union whistleblowers have urged a magistrate to jail disgraced former federal MP Craig Thomson for using union funds to pay for sex and other personal expenses. Read more here.

7.16am Check out this amazing video of the SCG being transformed from a cricket ground into a baseball field. Wow! Don't forget the baseball is on this weekend. Batter up!

7.14am LOCAL SPORT: It's Sensational Sunday this Sunday, March 23 and the Kembla Grange Turf Club is giving away a car! That's pretty cool. Grab your coupon in the Merc to win. We'll also have a two-page race-day lift-out in Saturday's paper & more info in Monday's paper.

7.12am TV NEWS: Bye bye Deal or No Deal - that's right, it's goneski. Long-time host Andrew O'Keefe has apparently confirmed that the popular quiz show is dead and buried.

7.10am CELEB GOSS ALERT: So the Half of Two & a Half Men grew up - and he has a beard! Actor Angus T Jones has a new look & a new mission to promote his religious calling. Bless. Plus, he has also dished on his less-than-amicable departure from the show.

7.08am Did you watch MKR last night? I missed it! Thank god for Facebook - would have had NO idea what was going on!? *SPOILER ALERT: Harry & Christo went home. Finally. They were sweet but really, they were pretty bad cooks. Anywho, here's a re-cap if you missed it.

7.06am This week is Seniors Week and the theme is Love Life. So give a senior in your life a hug & tell them you love them!

7.04am Check out these dolphins spotted playing off Jervis Bay yesterday - gorgeous! NB Hopefully they're not the same dolphins who collided with the surfer. That story really freaked me out!

7.02am LOCAL NEWS: The alleged secret lovers at the centre of the Katie Foreman murder trial lied to police about their communication with each other in the months before the young solicitor was killed, a court has heard.

7am URAC is set to host a 90s inspired Fluoro Fitness class on April 9 from 7.30pm. How fun! Boogie to your fave 90s hits & get fit!

6.58am Who can relate to this puppy today!? Anyone else struggle to get out of bed?

6.56am LOCAL NEWS: Bogan characters from a viral animated video inspired by Dapto Railway Station are fast gaining cult status.

6.54am Do you love tea & alcohol? Well it wasn't long before someone found a way to combine the two. Alibi in Wollongong has tea-infused booze on offer. Delish.

6.52am Good morning & happy Hump Day! If you're just rolling out of bed, rise & shine! Here's the latest weather & traffic to ease you into the day.

WEATHER Goodbye sunny weather :( We're in for a partly cloudy day with a top of 25 degrees. Isolated thunderstorms & showers are set to develop later this morning so keep your brolly handy. Right now, it's 13 in Albion Park and 18 in Bellambi.

TRAFFIC Everything looks clear on the region's roads & for the drive to Sydney or Nowra.

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

6.50am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Rapper Chris Brown is in trouble again - an LA judge has ordered he stay in jail until a probation violation hearing next month, expressing concern about his ability to stay out of trouble. Brown, 24, was arrested last Friday after being dismissed from a Malibu rehab facility. He told a group session at the centre that: "I am good at using guns and knives." 

6.48am So protein balls are all the rage. Personally, I love them - they give you that afternoon sugar hit without the guilt. Well, kind of. Here's a great recipe for the beloved balls.

6.46am WORLD NEWS - Kiev: A Ukrainian serviceman was killed yesterday at a Ukrainian base that came under attack in Crimea's main town Simferopol, the first death on the peninsula from a military clash, since the region came under Russian control three weeks ago.

6.44am Don't forget the Great Illawarra Walk is on this weekend - get those joggers out ready to pound the pavement!

6.42am Happy birthday to Maroon Five frontman Adam Levine - he turns 35 today. A big happy b'day to all March 19 babies.

6.40am Our Hawks are playing their last home game of the season on Friday night - and it's do or die. Grab your tickets to cheer the boys onto glory!

6.38am BREAKING WORLD NEWS: A man is reportedly in a critical condition with burns after a news helicopter crashed this morning in Seattle.

6.36am A giant fish tank at the T-Rex Cafe in Orlando's Downtown Disney area cracked open Monday afternoon, sending diners scrambling from their seats and workers rushing to save the fish. Check out the moment the tank burst below.


6.34am Can you help Illawarra resident Carol-lee? She wrote to us: "On Sunday, between 11am and noon while parked at Stockland Shellharbour, someone broke into my car, stealing my laptop with precious photos and videos of my terminally ill and disabled child. I was parked on the top level in a disabled space right near the escalators. If anyone has any info, please call the police and quote case number E54667679. The laptop is a black Toshiba inside a black and dark red laptop bag. I’m desperate for its return."

6.32am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Khloe Kardashian v Sunrise. That's the latest goss doing the rounds - she abruptly ended an interview yesterday when Sam Armytage asked her about niece North. She claims the line was disconnected, they say she hung up on them. Hmmmm....

6.30am NATIONAL NEWS: Gerald Ridsdale, one of Australia's worst paedophile priests, told one of his victims ''it was the Lord's work'', a court has heard. He appeared in County Court on Tuesday after pleading guilty to 30 charges involving sex offences against 11 boys and three girls between 1961 and 1980.

6.28am LOCAL NEWS: The NSW government has abandoned its financial responsibility for the area surrounding Lake Illawarra, heaping millions of dollars in additional burdens on to cash-strapped Wollongong City Council.

6.26am STRANGE BUT TRUE: Speaking of the missing plane, yesterday Courtney Love claimed she had found it. Oh, and she doubts aliens took it. Yep. Moving on...

6.24am WORLD NEWS: The hunt for the missing Malaysian Airlines plane has continued - an Australian-led search has begun in a massive stretch of ocean west of Perth but is likely to take weeks, authorities have said. Click here for all the latest from the search effort.

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

6.20am I am OBSESSED with the Real Housewives of Melbourne - I cannot get enough. I watched the episode last night where the ladies went to Thredbo and Janet went on a date - too funny. Anybody else watching?

6.18am CELEB GOSS ALERT: So, slight problem on Miley Cyrus' Bangerz tour - her tour bus has caught on fire. Oh dear!

6.16am BREAKING WORLD NEWS: A news helicopter has crashed in Seattle, bursting into flames.

6.14am SPORT: Nine News is reporting that the NRL is set to start testing players for prescription drugs, in a bid to rid the game of Stillnox.

6.12am CELEB NEWS: Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger is "struggling to understand" the sudden death of his long-time partner L'Wren Scott. He cancelled his show in Perth yesterday . The Stones have since postponed their Aussie tour.

6.10am WORLD NEWS: The Oscar Pistorius trial has continued in South Africa - a ballistics expert is set to continue to reconstruct the fatal shooting in court today.

6.08am A little funny to get your hump day off with a laugh. Who doesn't love a cat joke?!

6.06am Let's check out the national headlines, courtesy of the SMH:

*ICAC has heard a company linked to the Obeid family with high-profile Liberal Party figures on its board gouged millions of dollars from the state-owned Sydney Water.

*The O’Farrell government appears unlikely to support Labor Party amendments to its controversial mandatory sentencing laws to curb alcohol-fuelled violence.

*Child poverty is on the rise and fewer of us are donating to charity, according to a report that calls into question Australia’s self-perception as the land of the fair go.

*A large and exhaustive analysis by a team of international scientists has found no evidence that eating saturated fat causes more heart attacks and other cardiac events.

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

*The University of Wollongong and bus company Premier Illawarra have appealed to the state's transport department to expand the free Gong Shuttle service.

*A petition created by a Wollongong woman to have the names of sex offenders placed on a publicly available register has attracted more than 400 signatures in under 24 hours.

*A dozen police cars including the dog squad were forced to break up an out-of-control St Patrick's Day party which attracted more than 300 university students in Keiraville on Monday night.

*A Dapto doctor accused of sexually assaulting a patient during a routine consultation revealed in a recorded conversation he was aroused when he "examined" her.

6.02am If you're just rolling out of bed, rise & shine! Here's the latest weather & traffic to ease you into the day.

WEATHER Goodbye sunny weather :( We're in for a partly cloudy day with a top of 25 degrees. Isolated thunderstorms & showers are set to develop later this morning so keep your brolly handy. Right now, it's 14 in Albion Park and 18 in Bellambi.

TRAFFIC Everything looks clear on the region's roads & for the drive to Sydney or Nowra.

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

6am Good morning Illawarra and happy hump day! We've made it to the middle of the working week, yippee! Not long now until the weekend. Stay with your host, Emma Spillett, this morning for all the latest news etc.


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