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

8.53am That's it from me this morning, join us tomorrow for another edition of The Rush.

8.48am The ABC has relaunched its digital radio station as Double J, a sister station to Triple J, hosted on weekdays by Myf Warhurst. SMH

8.45am TRAIN ALERT Passengers travelling on the T4 Eastern Suburbs & Illawarra Line should allow additional travel time due to urgent signal repairs at Erskineville.

8.44am The Rolling Stones will be back in Australia at the end of the year, after postponing their tour last month following the death of Mick Jagger's girlfriend L'Wren Scott.

Dates are yet to be confirmed.

8.40am Loving the spread on offer at this morning's Mount Ousley Public School staff meeting.

8.36am 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.

8.33am LOCAL NEWS Jurors in the Katie Foreman murder trial have been told they must not use Bradley Max Rawlinson's decision not to give evidence against him when determining his guilt or innocence.

Rawlinson and a woman, Michelle Sharon Proud, are on trial accused of murdering Ms Foreman by helping to organise for her house to be set on fire in the early hours of October 27, 2011.

8.27am If this is true, I find it very, very funny. I am not a Kimye fan

8.24am A major review of the practice by the National Health and Medical Research Council has concluded there is no reliable evidence that homeopathy can treat health conditions. SMH

8.20am Rumours that Ian Thorpe could lose the use of his left arm after contracting a serious infection are "nonense", according to his manager, James Erskine.

Mr Erskine said the swimming great was unlucky to have contracted a serious infection that’s laid him up in hospital.

Thorpe is receiving treatment in a Sydney hospital for the infection contracted after undergoing a series of surgeries on his shoulder at a hospital near his home in the Swiss town of Ronco Sopra Ascona. AAP

8.16am TECH NEWS An Israeli start-up company has invented a device that promise to charge your phone in 30 seconds. I'll admit to anxiety when that little green battery at the top of the screen goes from green to red, so this would be a godsend. Check out the details here.

8.12am LOCAL NEWS A University  of Wollongong academic has released a book on hot topics such as euthanasia, IVF and abortion to help people make better informed decisions about their views.

Associate Professor Sarah Ferber said she presented a range of perspectives in her book Bioethics in Historical Perspective, released on Tuesday, to help readers draw their own conclusions.

8.07am 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.

8.03am 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.

8am WORLD NEWS The search for the missing Malaysian Airlines plane continues. Take a look at this SMH article which explains some of the possible scenarios of how the plane hit the water, and what they would mean for the search.

7.57am We're going cute animal video this morning, rather than a pic. This French Bulldog is not tired, and puts up a fascinating argument as to why it's not time for bed just yet.

7.53am 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.

7.50am LOCAL NEWS Shellharbour City Mayor Marianne Saliba said she was left "gobsmacked" by Kiama MP Gareth Ward's comments opposing Shellharbour City Council's proposed $57 million hub project.

Last week, Mr Ward "condemned" Ms Watson for using Parliament to "intimidate and bully the community in relation to the Shellharbour City Hub project".

7.46am STRANGE BUT TRUE Deadly piranhas were the unlikely cause of a badly backed-up English sewer, according to water company inspectors.

The carnivorous fish, whose native habitat is in the warmer waters of the South American Amazon river basin, turned up dead in a sewer in Shropshire in central England, where Severn Trent Water inspectors found them causing a significant blockage.

A company spokesman said the piranhas were among a batch of dead fish recently discovered in the Madeley area of Telford after residents complained of problems.

"It appears that a nearby resident had been disposing of dead fish, including piranhas, down the toilet and they had blocked the sewers," Severn Trent Water said in a statement. SMH


7.42am Game of Thrones has been approved for two more seasons. While this is awesome news, I'm not sure if it's all that surprising. There are five published books, more to come, and the show is the most pirated of all time.

7.36am 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

7.32am Feel like breaking out your best bright and tight outfit? The University Recreation and Aquatic Centre is holding a Fluoro Fitness Party fundraiser tonight at 7.30pm.

Don your best ‘90s outfit, whether that’s leg warmers, high cut leotards or a hyper colour tee and move your way through an aerobics class set to ‘90s classics, complete with disco lights and glow sticks.

All money raised goes to Lifeline South Coast.

Entry is by gold coin donation and you must be 14 years and over to participate. Registration opens at 7pm.

7.28am Today is Winston Churchill Day, marking the day in 1963 when he became an honorary citizen of the United States of America. It's also Cherish an Antique Day, so give your nanna's old sideboard a cuddle.

7.24am A selfie from space. How can we ever compete?

7.20am Whisky is no longer an older man's drink. Reporter Dominic Geiger headed along to the Scotch Malt Whisky Society's Wollongong whisky tasting and was pleasantly surprised to find the crowd was a mix of men and women, with many in their 20s.

7.17am BREAKING NEWS A woman has died and a man has been rushed to hospital after a car crash in Sydney’s northwest. The pair were travelling in a small hatchback along Mona Vale Road at Terrey Hills when the car left the road and crashed about 4.15am Wednesday, police said. The woman died at the scene while the man was taken to hospital. His condition is unknown. AAP

7.15am 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.

7.12am So apparently devilled eggs are making a comeback. Gross.

7.09am NATIONAL NEWS Up to six Navy sailors have been sacked or ordered to justify their jobs over racist and anti-Muslim Facebook posts

Chief of Navy Ray Griggs said in a statement on Tuesday that the investigation had found that “a number of personnel have … been found to have made inappropriate comment on social media or to have an affiliation with different social media groups that are not consistent with our values”. SMH

7.04am The fabulous novel Burial Rites, the debut book of Australian author Hannah Kent, has been shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize).

If you haven't read it yet, give it a go. It's wonderful.

7am Comedian and actor Anh Do took home two prizes at the Thirroul Seaside and Arts Festival last weekend for his portrait of local shopowner Paul Hickman. It netted him a $1250 prize, which he decided to to donate to his local surf club.

6.56am Easter is about more than just the choccies - there are cute animals too!

6.53am This picture pops up on social media all the time, but my desire to head there never lessens. Beautiful.

6.49am  LOCAL NEWS When Thu Hoang's children flew the nest, she turned to the Illawarra Indo-Chinese Aged Group to stave off her loneliness.

The Vietnamese club for the elderly offered her friendship and comfort.

The group will celebrate its 30th anniversary with lunch, games, music and dancing in Gwynneville's Senior Citizen Hall on Wednesday.

6.45am NATIONAL NEWS Michael Maloney, who was killed instantly when he was struck by a north-bound commuter train at Wyong on Monday night, was a father on nine.

Mr Maloney and two of his sons were taking a short cut back across the railway line to their home when tragedy struck.

Police are preparing a report for the coroner.

6.41am LOCAL NEWS Kiama teenager Ashleigh Collins took part in last year's Kiama Relay for Life as a "survivor", believing she had beaten the rare form of bone cancer that had attacked her pelvis before invading every vertebrae in her spine. She has urged people to join her in this year's relay in Kiama on May 3 and 4.

6.37am I realise this pic may be a bit too greasy-looking for 6.30 in the morning, but you should know where your favourite junk foods come from. How else will you fully appreciate their terrible deliciousness?

6.33am NEWS The mother of the 18-month-old girl abandoned on a western Sydney doorstep has been taken into custody by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. The 24-year-old woman turned up at a police station on Tuesday afternoon and police say they have established that she is the child’s mother. The child, named Mai, was found by an Auburn resident on his doorstep on Monday night. AAP

6.29am April 9 babies are blowing out their candles on the same day as Playboy founder Hugh Hefner. Lucky you. Also celebrating today is actor Dennis Quaid, Sex and the City's Cynthia Nixon and Isaac Wright, who plays Bran in Game of Thrones.

6.25am Dreaming of a tropical getaway as you look out at the dreary weather this morning? Bali always seems a popular spot for Aussies to unwind, but it's a place you love or hate. Check out Tracey Spicer's take on the island as a holiday destination.

6.21am LOCAL NEWS Illawarra ambulance officer Andrew William Kelman pleaded guilty to cultivating cannabis plants when he appeared in Wollongong Local Court on Tuesday. He will reappear in court on May 20.

6.18am The Melbourne-Sydney rivalry is set to get stronger, as the Bureau of Statistics predicts Melbourne's population will outstrip Sydney's in 2053, taking the crown as Australia's biggest city. At the risk of being unpopular, I like Melbourne way better than Sydney. Thoughts?

6.15am LOCAL SPORT NEWS Five Illawarra-based athletes will head to New Zealand later this month as part of the Australian Team competing at the Oceania Judo Championships.

6.11am LOCAL NEWS Illawarra Coal has announced 36 jobs will be cut as part of an ‘‘organisational review’’ of the business.

The company, which is owned by BHP Billiton, employs about 2200 workers and operates three underground coalmines in the region – Appin, West Cliff and Dendrobium, as well as two coal preparation plants.

6.08am A quick squiz at national news, courtesy of the SMH

*In a speech to the CommsDay telecommunications conference in Sydney today, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull will warn major changes to the implementation of the national broadband network will be needed to avoid huge cost blow-outs and up to 300,000 homes missing out on high-speed internet.

*The Royal Australian Navy biggest ever warship - the HMAS Canberra - is being put through its paces in Sydney Harbour by builder BAE Systems and the ship’s new crew, led by inaugural commanding officer, Captain Jonathan Sadleir.

*Swimming great Ian Thorpe is in a Sydney hospital after contracting two potentially deadly infections and will never swim again competitively, according to his agent.

*Oscar Pistorius broke down in court on Tuesday, as he took to the witness box to recount the moments leading up to the fatal wounding of Reeva Steenkamp.

6.05am Here’s a look at headlines in today’s Mercury

*Matthew Charles Welch has been sentenced to a maximum 17 years jail, with a non-parole period of 12, after inflicting horrific injuries on his elderly parents during a brutal, seven-hour attack at their Mount Pleasant home in April last year. His parents were 83 years old at the time.

*A Greens-backed Senate inquiry into the TAFE system, planned for Tuesday in Wollongong, was cancelled at the last minute because not one of the Coalition's 34 senators was available to attend.

*Wollongong City councillors have unanimously supported a plan to increase the number of cyclists on the city’s streets, saying it was recognition that cycling was an important way to reform the health and environment of the city, but have raised concerns over how the five-year plan will be funded.

*The eight-year Wollongong City Council saga over a rezoning proposal to allow a large retail precinct to be built on industrial land at Kembla Grange is set to drag on, with developers pledging to push ahead despite a lack of support.

6.02am A quick look at what's happening on the roads and in the skies this morning

WEATHER Another cloudy one today - when will the sun make an appearance?! There’s a chance of rain from late afternoon and temps will peaks at 22 degrees in Wollongong.

TRAFFIC It’s a clear run from Nowra to Sydney at this early hour. Remember ongoing roadworks at Gerringong and Mount Ousley.

TRAINS There is good service on the South Coast Line

6am It's hump day! Welcome to Wednesday's Morning Rush. I'm Kate Walsh and will be filling in for Emma today.


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