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

8.46am That's it for us this morning. Hope you enjoyed today's Rush. Tune in tomorrow for the TGIF Rush edition - yippee, we made it to the end of the week!

8.44am A little Thursday funny for you...

8.42am Legally Blonde is coming! MoonGlow Productions is set to stage the musical for the first time in Wollongong on July 4-5 @ the WIN Entertainment Centre. Tix are available via Ticketek - get in quick!

8.40am Looking for some inspiration for stuff to feed your kids? Check out this great article from reporter Lisa Wachsmuth on a new cookbook, launched in the Illawarra.

8.38am Kids say the darnest things - check out this gallery of hilarious kids' test answers. There are some absolute classics in here. My fave - child asked to answer "I earn money at home by..." Answer: "I don't. I am a freeloader." Lol.

8.34am WORLD NEWS: Animals are fleeing Yellowstone National Park in the US - could the park's supervolcano be about to blow?

8.32am A little history lesson this morning - here's a snap of Vincent Van Gough, age 19.

8.30am BREAKING: A woman will face charges after she was caught driving while unlicensed with five unrestrained children in her car. Police said the children, aged six to eight, were observed loose inside the car by Fawkner Highway Patrol officers near Coolaroo South Primary School yesterday. The 39-year-old woman’s Holden Commodore was impounded for 30 days. She will be charged on summons with unlicensed driving and five counts of driving with an unrestrained child. (AAP)

8.28am This sign is deeply concerning - as a one-time court reporter, I can attest that it is necessary.

8.26am Want to keep backyard chooks? Well, head to Mangerton this weekend for a Wild Rumpus skillshare class. It's on from 10am to 1pm - visit their website for more deets.

8.24am MUSIC NEWS: What is it with '90s bands reforming and touring? TLC (minus Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes who died tragically a few years ago) have been touring the US - would you see them if they headed to Aus? I would - I LOVED them.

8.22am WORLD NEWS: Italian police arrested two dozen separatists, including a former parliamentarian,yesterday on suspicion of gathering arms to violently split the wealthy northern region of Veneto from the rest of Italy.

8.20am STRANGE BUT TRUE: A Florida man has dressed as a werewolf and robbed a Forever 21 clothing store in the US. NB I wish I was joking.

8.18am LOCAL SPORT: Wollongong's David McKeon finished third in the 200 metre freestyle final at the national titles, to ensure he will compete at a second event at the Commonwealth Games.

8.16am It's Doris Day's 90th birthday today. Happy b'day Doris! And a big happy b'day to other April 3 babies.

8.14am MUSIC NEWS: Good news, we found the world's worst rapper! David Palmer, the grandson of a British House of Lords parliamentarian, has become an unlikely rapping sensation - but not in a good way. Check out the video below - I DARE you not to cringe.

8.12am NATIONAL NEWS: Department stores are back. They may have lost some of the early battles against online retailers, but new data suggests they may be winning the war. Credit card transaction data from the Commonwealth Bank has shown that stores such as David Jones and Myer, which combined have been trading for almost 300 years, are growing faster online than their web-only competitors.

8.10am STRANGE BUT TRUE: A US man has gone to hospital with a chainsaw blade embedded in his neck. Oh good god!? HOW, HOW!?

8.08am Ouch, oh ouch - a $400,000 Lamborghini Aventador was involved in a four-car crash on a Chelsea street in London on Monday. Hear that? That's the sound of car lovers everywhere crying.

8.06am SPORT: His future left up in the air by the stunning breakdown of a rich long-term deal with Canterbury, Andrew Fifita has one less option available to him after South Sydney declared they would not resume their quest to sign him.

8.04am STRANGE BUT TRUE: It was a very bad day for three Chinese models on Sunday - they stacked it while tottering down the catwalk in crazy outfits & super high-heels. Remember the SATC episode where Carrie falls over on the runway? Well, these ladies were also "fashion road kill". Check out the pics here.

8.02am Um, so these look AMAZING - choc-chip peanut butter bars. Yum.

8am TECH TALK: The price of apps on Apple's App Store will rise by up to 30 per cent in Australia. Read more here.

7.58am Apologies for the delay - tech glitch!

7.52am Good morning Illawarra & happy Thursday! Let's check the latest weather & traffic.

WEATHER It's going to be a partly cloudy day with a top of 26 degrees. Isolated showers are set to develop this afternoon, increasing to rain. We could get some thunderstorms this afternoon. Right now, it's 17 in Albion Park & 20 in Bellambi.

TRAFFIC Everything looks okay on the region's roads. There is an accident in Mascot (Botany Rd @ Baxter Rd) so just be careful around there.

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

7.50am Awww, check out these cats in a bunk-bed-type situation. Awwww, my heart is melting.

7.48am BREAKING: Firefighters have praised staff at renowned Sydney restaurant Rockpool, who evacuated the premises after a fire broke out in the kitchen. Twenty firefighters were called to the Hunter Street eatery after the blaze broke out last night. About 50 staff and 100 customers were evacuated from the restaurant area, with all of them accounted for (AAP)

7.46am LOCAL SPORT: We've got the latest Kick-Off video with sport boys Tim Barrow & Adam Pengilly. Click here for all the news on the Dragons.

7.44am STRANGE BUT TRUE: Starbucks has apologised to a Louisiana school teacher after caramel was drizzled in her latte in the form of ... satanic symbols. Seriously?! Why people why!?

7.42am In other TV news, the first season of the US remake of Rake will finish this weekend with no official decision about its future. Ouch.

7.40am TV NEWS: Have you watched the How I Met Your Mother finale yet? Either way, you'd know the ep has caused a LOT of controversy. But the show's star Josh Radnor says people are "missing the point."

7.38am Let's play "anywhere but here", yay! Today, I'd rather be roaming the streets of Paris, enjoying the spring sunshine with my love. Find me a baguette, pronto!

7.36am Jump for Jordan continues @ the IPAC today. Tickets are still available - visit the Merrigong website to book. It's on until Saturday.

7.34am LOCAL NEWS: A 39-year-old man was assaulted after a neighbourly dispute allegedly took a violent turn on Avondale Road, Dapto, on Monday evening.

7.32am Let's be honest, there are a RIDICULOUS amount of cat videos on the internet. But has anyone ever asked, how do cats feel about cat videos? Well, wonder no more - watch below. NB Look, not much happens, but it's pretty cute anyway.

7.30am BREAKING: The body of a 38-year-old man reported missing at sea, south of Perth, has been recovered and may have been bitten by a shark, police say. Yesterday, after extensive searches, Water Police divers found what is believed to be the man's remains close to the dive site in Dawesville.

7.28am 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.

7.26am MOVIE NEWS: Scarlett Johansson has a new movie out, Lucy. She plays a super-powered drug mule. Yep, you read it right. She's pretty tough - check out the trailer.

7.24am BREAKING: The death of a baby girl in western NSW is being treated as a possible homicide. A man, 35, brought the 11-month-old girl, who was suffering head injuries, to Blayney Hospital about 11am yesterday, police said. Doctors performed CPR on the infant but were unable to save her. Police were told the girl had fallen off a trampoline. A crime scene has been examined by a specialist forensic team, and the homicide squad has also been called in to help investigate. (AAP)

7.22am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Katy Perry loves tacos - so she made herself a giant, foam taco. Um, okay then.

7.20am TV NEWS: If you missed this one yesterday, Aaron Thomas, a 26-year-old former contestant on MasterChef Australia, has been accused of embezzling more than $US7 million ($7.57 million) from his own company to fund a lavish lifestyle for himself and his fiancee, Brazilian-born Thaiana Rodrigue.

7.18am LOCAL NEWS: Recheal Daley followed in her father's footsteps by becoming a NSW train driver - in her case the first female Aboriginal - and now her story has been captured in a children's book, written by Austinmer author Phoenix Van Dyke.

7.16am This video comes courtesy of reporter Josh Butler - watch dogs react to magic tricks. It's very funny - these dogs do not like seeing their treats disappear!

7.14am Looking to shake up your breakkie routine? Sick of Weetbix or Vegemite toast? Try these delish smoothie recipes - and serve them in a jar 'cause it's like, so, hipster.

7.12am Have you been collecting the eggs in our Easter Egg Hunt? Don't miss out - here's how to enter.

7.10am BREAKING: Up to 300 workers at Boeing's Port Melbourne site will lose their jobs by the end of the year.The aerospace company said it was always the intention to cut its workforce once aircraft programs "stabilised at full production rates."

7.08am CELEB GOSS ALERT: So Zac Efron recently broke his jaw - now In Touch Weekly mag has claimed the break came during a drug binge. Oh dear.

7.06am Looks like the guys at Dolphin Watch Cruises - Jervis Bay had a GREAT time yesterday. They spotted dolphins & seals, nice!

7.04am WORLD NEWS: This raw footage shows the chaos that ensued when an earthquake struck Chile yesterday. Six people have died in the quake & tsunami that followed.

7.02am LOCAL NEWS: Sports competitions held at the Shellharbour City Stadium will continue at alternate venues while the stadium undergoes a $1.45 million roof replacement.

7am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Yet another celebrity has turned purple. The Hills star Lauren Conrad has dyed her hair a striking shade of lavender. NB This is AWFUL - I don't get it!?

6.58am NATIONAL NEWS: For the first time, the NSW Police Force has used DNA testing to screen its newest crop of 189 student police against its crime database.

6.56am Struggling to get out of bed this morning? You're not alone...

6.54am Good morning Illawarra & happy Thursday! If you're just waking up, let's get you out of bed with the latest weather & traffic.

WEATHER It's going to be a partly cloudy day with a top of 26 degrees. Isolated showers are set to develop this afternoon, increasing to rain. We could get some thunderstorms this afternoon. Right now, it's 16 in Albion Park & 20 in Bellambi.

TRAFFIC Everything looks okay on the region's roads. There is a truck breakdown in Rockdale (Princes Hwy @ Bay St) that has closed one citybound lane so just be careful around there.

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

6.52am Don't forget the Novotel is going blue this week for Autism Awareness month - along with several Illawarra schools.

6.50am CELEB GOSS ALERT: what drove Gwyneth Paltrow & Chris Martin apart? Well, apparently they were butting heads over how to parent their kids and her strict diet rules.

6.48am WORLD NEWS: Russian President Vladimir Putin has formally divorced his wife Lyudmila after more than 30 years of marriage, Kremlin spokesman said on Wednesday, following a surprise breakup announcement last year. (SMH)

6.46am LOCAL SPORT: Wollongong Hawks sensation Rotnei Clarke caused a boilover when he captured the NBL Most Valuable Player award for the 2013-14 season. Hawks coach Gordie McLeod won the Lindsay Gaze Trophy as the NBL Coach of the Year and import Kevin Tiggs was named NBL Sixth Man of the Year, which recognises the league's top bench player. Well done Hawkies!

6.44am BREAKING: Nine News is reporting that the Malaysian PM has arrived in Perth to meet with flight MH370 search crews.

6.42am MOVIE NEWS: The long-awaited Lego Movie hits cinemas today! It looks very funny - I must admit, I have a soft spot for Lego, I don't know why, I just really enjoy them - anywho, here's a trailer for the film - go & see it!

6.40am TV NEWS: Did you watch MKR last night? I missed it, noooo! **SPOILER ALERT** The knockout rounds begun & Josh & Danielle were kicked out. Here's a recap if you didn't watch.

6.38am MUSIC NEWS: Poor Miley Cyrus - her heart is breaking after the death of her beloved dog Floyd.

6.36am LOCAL NEWS: Improving rail travel times to Sydney is a focus of the NSW Government's Illawarra Regional Transport Plan. But there is not a lot of detail on how this will be done - or how much shorter the trip will be.

6.34am CELEB GOSS ALERT: OK! Magazine is reporting that Kelly Osbourne is in rehab again. This would be her fourth stint in rehab for drug abuse.

6.32am NATIONAL NEWS: A man who was rescued while dangling precariously from his paragliding gear entangled in branches on the side of a sheer cliff is in critical condition at Royal North Shore Hospital. A witness said the man, who has fractured knees and deep lacerations to his arms and legs, may have clipped a tree with his paraglider, causing him to crash into the cliff at Warriewood on Sydney's northern beaches.

6.30am Ball Park Music are set to play at the Unibar tonight from 7.30. Tix are in short supply - get in quick!

6.28am STRANGE BUT TRUE:  A 68-year-old man punched a woman who reportedly cut him off in the drive-thru lane at a McDonald's in Winter Haven, Florida, according to police. NB Some people REALLY like McDonalds...

6.26am TV NEWS: Jimmy Fallon is at it again - this time, he's got Samuel L Jackson performing slam poetry about the TV series Boy Meets World. Wha?! Watch - it's great.

6.24am LOCAL NEWS: Bradley Max Rawlinson spun a web of lies about his apparent love-filled relationship with Katie Foreman to try and distance himself from his own involvement in her murder, a court has heard.

6.22am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Oh Johnny Depp you unconventional son-of-a-gun. He's been spotted wearing a sparkler on his ring finger - apparently it's a "chick's ring" to signify his engagement to model Amber Heard.

6.20am Don't forget we're crossing every hour to Pulse 94.1FM with the latest from the Rush.

6.19am WORLD NEWS: We've got the latest on the missing Malaysia Airlines jet - Malaysian police have cleared the 227 passengers on board the missing Malaysian airliner of suspicion of hijacking but the plane’s crew, including pilots, are still under investigation.

6.16am TV NEWS: Nicole Ritchie is heading back to reality TV. It won't be The Simple Life aka her dodgy show with Paris Hilton, but it will focus on her life & many, many amazing outfits.

6.14am Check out this awesome pic - LAX photographed the exact same spot in the sky over an 8-hour period. Look at all those planes!!

6.12am WORLD NEWS: At least seven people have died and 19 others have been injured when a massive World War II bomb exploded at a scrap metal warehouse in Bangkok as workers tried to cut it open, officials say. 

6.10am It's Peanut Butter & Jelly day in the US! Celebrate here with a PB & jam sandwich. I can't imagine anything more gross, but each to their own!

6.08am Let's check out the national headlines, courtesy of the SMH:

*Treasury boss Martin Parkinson has said Aussies should expect an increase in GST if the budget is to have any hope of returning to surplus.

*Sixteen-year-old Kudra Falla-Ricketts didn’t realise how much of a stir her April Fools’ prank had caused, until she was hauled into her school principal’s office.

*Four years after an androgynous Sydneysider first applied to the NSW Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages to be registered as ‘‘sex: non-specific’’, the High Court has determined that the Registrar must do exactly that.

*Jordan McLean will serve a seven-game suspension after he was found guilty of a dangerous throw charge on Newcastle’s Alex McKinnon that has left him with a spinal injury.

6.06am Here's what's making news in your Mercury today:

*The company behind the decommissioned wave power generator rusting off the coast of Port Kembla has gone into receivership, creating more doubts about when the structure will be removed.

*Residents of the southern end of Kembla Street have finally won hope of some relief, with Wollongong City Council committing to clean out and concrete part of the clogged creek that many blame for making floods worse.

*EnergyAustralia is selling land near its Tallawarra Power Station for development. Read more here.

*The Supreme Court trial of four men accused of planning and carrying out the 2007 Splashes nightclub shooting has begun in Sydney, with jurors told the alleged catalyst for the killing was an unpaid debt that spiralled into a feud between two Wollongong families.

6.04am If you're just waking up, good morn! Let's get you out of bed with the latest weather & traffic.

WEATHER It's going to be a partly cloudy day with a top of 26 degrees. Isolated showers are set to develop this afternoon, increasing to rain. We could get some thunderstorms this afternoon.

TRAFFIC Everything looks okay on the region's roads & for the run to Sydney.

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

6am Good morning Illawarra & welcome to Thursday! We're nearly at the end of the week - yippee! Anyone else jumping for joy!? Stay with your host, Emma Spillett, this morning for all the latest news etc.


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