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

8.52am That's it for today, make sure you join me tomorrow for another edition of the Rush.

8.47am Twitter's head of social innovation Claire Diaz-Ortiz live-tweeted her birth over the weekend, sparking a debate on the limits of over-sharing. Personally, I'm impressed there are no typos when she was in the middle of a contraction. What do you think? TMI?

8.43am Does comedy need to be offensive to be funny? Have a read of this piece on why comedy needs to push boundaries.

8.38am TRAIN ALERT Passengers travelling on trains on the Eastern Suburbs & Illawarra Line are advised to allow additional travel time due to a medical emergency at Redfern.

8.34am Apparently today is international Be Kind to Lawyers Day, as well as international Draw A Picture of a Bird Day. Combine the two and draw a pic of a legal eagle! Boom, boom, tish!

8.30am I find this very hard to believe - Australia's beer consumption has more than halved since the peak of the mid-1970s and is now at its lowest level since 1945-6, according to annual Australian Bureau of Statistics figures. Maybe wine is just more popular now?

8.26am I almost forgot to post a cute animal picture. Better late than never - here is a gorgeous baby monkey sucking his thumb.

8.22am STRANGE BUT TRUE Police in St Kilda texted a 22-year-old woman to hand herself over to police after she failed to stop during a car chase early on Tuesday morning. 

The woman has since been charged with reckless conduct endangering persons, evading police, driving in a dangerous manner and at dangerous speed, and other traffic offences. SMH

8.18am NATIONAL NEWS Prime Minister Tony Abbott has secured a historic trade deal with Japan worth billions of dollars over the next 20 years, unlocking the previously impenetrable Japanese domestic market for Australian producers.

It comes ahead of the recently concluded free trade agreement with South Korea, which will be signed in Seoul on Tuesday.

8.08am Former North Korea resident Yeonmi Park has told Fairfax's Daily Life about life there. It's a bit of a harrowing road - "I had to be careful of my thoughts because I believed Kim Jong-il could read my mind" she says. Read the full account here.

8.05am Legally Blonde is coming! Moonglow Productions is set to stage the musical for the first time in Wollongong on July 4-5 at the WIN Entertainment Centre.

8.01am Fancy learning how to make your own cheese? Wild Rumpus is holding a cheese making class this Sunday at the Thirroul railway hall from 9am to 3pm. Visit Wild Rumpus for details.

7.56am Lake Illawarra police have renewed an appeal for help to identify the person who threw a rock at a car in Primbee on Saturday night.

The incident happened about 9.30pm when a silver Commodore wagon was heading north on the Primbee deviation.

The 39-year-old driver heard a loud bang as he passed the intersection of Lakeview Parade, but continued driving until he reached a car park on King Street, Warrawong.

He then drove back and allegedly saw four boys, described as being about 14 years old and wearing dark clothing, who ran from the area.

Anyone with information relating to the incident should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

7.51am BREAKING Two young boys were found wandering alone on the Pacific Highway after a man who was believed to be their father was struck by a train and killed on the central coast.

A passing motorist called police after finding the boys, aged five and six, beside the highway at Wyong about 9pm on Monday.

The boys were believed to be with their father when he was struck by a train and killed about 700 metres north of Wyong Railway Station.

Police have urged anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page. SMH

7.48am TRAFFIC ALERT Be careful driving along Springhill Road, Corrimal Street and Harbour Street in Wollongong this morning - a power outage has left the traffic lights blacked out. Crews are working to fix the power failure.

7.45am Former PM Julia Gillard has written a Game of Thrones recap for The Guardian. I'm not sure whether this is awesome or weird.

7.39am Connections: Form & Function lunchtime lecture series with Ron Mathers is on at between 12.30pm to 1.30pm this Thursday at Wollongong City Gallery. Free, all welcome.

7.35am NATIONAL NEWS A man arrested on the NSW mid-north coast over the murder of a French student in Brisbane will be extradited back to Queensland. Benjamin James Milward, 25, was arrested by NSW police in Coffs Harbour on Monday afternoon in connection with the bashing death of Sophie Collombet 11 days ago. He is due to appear in Coffs Harbour Local Court on Tuesday so Queensland police can apply to a magistrate to have Milward brought back to Queensland to be charged.AAP

7.30am RUNWAY NEWS While the clothes making their way down the runways are obviously the main event at Fashion Week, the audience is usually just at stylish. Check out this gallery of some of the street style on show this week.

7.26am The Kiama Family History Centre’s 25th anniversary Family, Social and Local History Expo is on at the Kiama Pavilion on Saturday between 9.30am and 4pm.

More than 30 family history societies, local history societies and museums from throughout NSW and Queensland will be present at the expo.

7.23am NATIONAL NEWS A baby girl has been abandoned on the doorstep of a home in western Sydney. A resident of the home on Kirkham Road at Auburn answered the doorbell about 10pm on Monday to find the infant lying on the doorstep, police said. The girl, who is of Asian appearance, is believed to be about one year old and is in good health. She was wrapped in a green blanket with the picture of an owl embroidered on the front. Police are urging anyone with information to come forward as they try to locate the baby’s parents. AAP

7.20am Arcadians is set to launch a quest to find a new Phantom of the Opera. Auditions will be held from April 28 to May 1. For more information, visit

7.17am TRAFFIC ALERT The earlier traffic jam on the M4 has cleared.

7.14am Having trouble getting motivated this morning? Not sure which item on your list to tick off first? Take some inspiration from the schedules of brilliant people. Not too sure I'd take up Victor Hugo's habit of a public ice bath in the morning though...

7.10am LOCAL NEWS West Wollongong parents Susanna and Darren Walker are backing a call for a national plan to support sufferers of rare diseases, such as their girl Sarah.

The six-year-old schoolgirl was born with a rare type of childhood interstitial lung disease (chILD) that prevents her from taking enough oxygen into her lungs and from clearing carbon dioxide from her body.

Mrs Walker supports a push by Sarah's respiratory physician Professor Adam Jaffe and other experts for a national plan for rare diseases to ensure families can access help they need.

7.05am 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.

7.02am This is cool - album covers in the context of the street they were shot. Naturally, The Beatles' Abbey Road cover is included.

6.57am TRAFFIC ALERT Steer clear of the M4 this morning, a truck fire has blocked city-bound lanes up to 10 kilometres.

6.54am NATIONAL NEWS Robert Hughes was yesterday found guilty of nine charges, two counts of sexual assault and seven counts of indecent assault

As the verdict was read, the Hey Dad! actor jumped up and shouted "I am innocent!", breaking the composure he retained throughout the trial.

He returns to court today to hear the jury’s verdict on two counts of committing an indecent act. SMH

6.49am Speaking of Easter, check out these delicious choccie recipes - even a macaron Easter bunny. I know you may not even have considered breakfast yet, but it's never too early to start thinking about chocolate.

6.46am Easter is coming and we’re running an Easter Egg Hunt. The promo will run from April 1 to 19. 20 Easter Egg images will run in the paper - some days there may be one, other days there could be several! Once you’ve found the image, post them in or fill out an online entry form. Entrants have the chance to win one of five $200 chocolate hampers.

6.43am Happy B-day to all the April 8 babies. You share your celebrations with actress Robin Wright Penn and fashion designer Vivienne Westwood.

6.39am LOCAL NEWS Public libraries are in a fight for survival and their current funding model is ‘‘broken beyond repair’’, according to Graham Smith of the NSW Public Library Associations.

He was in Wollongong on Monday calling for a small funding increase to ensure the future of libraries around the state.

6.36am Having just returned from a trip overseas, these tips on how to get more space on a flight would have been handy a few weeks ago, especially with an incredibly tall boyfriend. We did get lucky on the way home though - an almost empty flight meant we could stretch out and sleep across the middle four seats!

6.32am The University of Wollongong has released what it believes to be the first aerial video of the Illawarra. Have a look - it's pretty cool to see how the city looked almost 80 years ago.

6.28am Game of Thrones season 4 premiered last night - watched it yet? If you have, or if you just like to read spoilers, check out this recap of the latest episode.

6.24am It's Fashion Week in Sydney again. Along with all the pretty clothes, celeb sightings abound. Actor Gerard Butler was spotted at yesterday's Ellery show - who would've thought he was a fan of women's high fashion?

6.20am The Mercury’s sport journos will be launching some new columns this year. Watch out for some great new content.

6.17am TIARA NEWS The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, or Kate and Wills as I prefer to call them, are busy jetting around New Zealand with baby George on their latest royal tour, before they head to Australia. But is it time to end our obsession with the royals? David Morris, national director of the Australia Republican Movement, thinks so. Check out his piece on the SMH website here.

6.14am SPORT NEWS Former leading whistleblower Tony De Las Heras believes NRL referees would be able to properly police a blanket ban on lifting tackles, which could be in effect as early as next season.

The NRL competition committee is likely to ponder the crackdown  when it meets at the end of the season following Newcastle's Alex McKinnon fracturing both the C4 and C5 vertebrae in his neck as a result of a lifting tackle.

6.10am Here are the national headlines, courtesy of the SMH

*Bali nine heroin courier Renae Lawrence has alleged Schapelle Corby admitted her guilt and said the fateful 2004 drug run that saw her locked up for 10 years was actually her fourth trip to Bali as a courier.

*The state opposition has warned household power bills will go ''through the roof" following the O'Farrell government's announcement on Monday that the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal would no longer set power prices.

*Peaches Geldof, daughter of Bob Gelfod and the late Paula Yates, has been found dead this morning. She was 25, and leaves her young sons Astala and Phaedra

*A US pinger locator has detected signals consistent with those emitted by an aircraft black box, indicating a potential breakthrough in the month-long search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

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

*Wollongong councillors have rejected calls to sell off some of the region's waterfront public housing land at Monday night's Wollongong City Council meeting, labelling the move a "heartless raid on public assets".

*About 80 staff were evacuated when a conveyor belt at the Maldon Cement Works caught fire on Monday morning.

*A bushwalker who planned to trek from Barren Grounds Nature Reserve in the Southern Highlands to Kiama has paid tribute to police who rescued him after he became lost on Sunday.

*Illawarra Labor MPs Sharon Bird, Ryan Park, Stephen Jones and Anna Watson met leaders from the NSW Teachers Federation and the Australian Education Union in Wollongong on Monday to discuss changes to TAFE funding models.

6.03am Let's take a look at the roads and the skies this morning

WEATHER We're in for a cloudy morning with cloud throughout the day and the chance of some light showers. Temperatures will peak at about 22 degrees.

TRAINS There is good service on the South Coast Line.

TRAFFIC It's looking nice and cruisy from Nowra to Sydney this morning. Take head of ongoing roadworks at Gerringong and at the top of Mount Ousley.

6am Happy Tuesday! Welcome to the Morning Rush. I'm Kate Walsh, filling in for Emma today and tomorrow.


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