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

8.56am That's it from me this morning, join me tomorrow for another edition of the Rush.

8.53am A gallery of the best movies of the '90s. Leo DiCaprio appears in quite a few, all baby-faced and floppy-haired.

8.50am NATIONAL NEWS Several bullets were fired at the property on Mainsbridge Avenue at Liverpool about 11.30pm on Monday. Seven people were inside the home at the time, but escaped unhurt - despite the bullets piercing the building’s walls. It was the latest in a long line of shootings in Sydney’s west and southwest. Specialist forensic officers have inspected the scene and officers from Operation Talon, which was formed in August 2013 to combat public place shootings in Sydney, are assisting the investigation. AAP

8.46am WORLD NEWS A Dutch teenager has been arrested after she allegedly tweeted a threat to American Airlines posing as an al-Qaeda member. SMH

8.42am Such blasphemy! But seriously, it's probably worth looking at cutting back if you're drinking more than three cups a day

8.38am 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

8.34am TRAFFIC ALERT Earlier delays at the airport tunnel at Mascot have now cleared.

8.30am So today is a celebration for a whole lot of weird things - it's one day without shoes day, take a wild guess day, bicycle day, library workers day and that sucks day. On a more serious note, it's also Equal Pay day.

8.26am Grumpy Cat took his fashion tips from Pharell, sporting a jaunty oversized hat on the MTV awards red carpet.

8.23am  The Washington Post and The Guardian have won the Pulitzer Prize in public service for stories based on secret documents handed over by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.

8.18am We continue our Easter-themed cute animal picture with a picture of a bunny who has stuffed two many marshmallows in his cheeks.

8.14am NATIONAL NEWS The bacteria that causes whooping cough has mutated and can now evade its vaccine, potentially putting thousands of kids at risk.

It's more important that ever that babies are immunised ASAP to prevent exposure to the disease from people whose vaccines have worn off. SMH

8.10am SPORT NEWS Sydney and Melbourne soccer players are in the midst of a fashion crisis.

Sydney FC have lodged a formal complaint to Football Federation Australia in response to an application from Melbourne Heart's new owners to rebrand the A-League team as a franchise of Manchester City, including a change of their playing strip from red and white to sky blue

For those who don't know team jerseys off by heart, Sydney's uniform is also sky blue. Fashion disaster!

8.06am Don't forget, the Mercury is now located in a new office. We moved from Auburn Street to Market Street over the weekend, so come to the AHM building if you're looking for us.

8.03am If you're after a fun way to get fit this winter, Hangtime Trampoline Park now has 'Bounce fit' classes. 

It's 8am, hope you are enjoying something delicious for brekky.

7.57am LOCAL NEWS Kiama Municipal Council has put more than $10,000 into the town's creative community with a number of cultural grants.

7.54am TRAFFIC ALERT A four-vehicle accident is affecting city-bound traffic in the airport tunnel at Mascot this morning. The site is being cleared, but drivers should expect heavy traffic conditions and delays.

7.50am 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.

7.47am BREAKING NEWS A fourth person has been charged in the death of Australian baseball player Christopher Lane in southern Oklahoma.

22-year-old Oddesse Barnes, of Duncan, had been charged with being an accessory after murder in the death of 22-year-old Lane, of Melbourne.

Two others teenagers have been charged with first-degree murder.

7.42am Some of Australia's best female musos have teamed up for a new breast cancer awareness campaign, turning the late Chrissy Amphlett's iconic track 'I touch myself' into an anthem for women's health.

Take a look at the video here.

7.38am WORLD NEWS A massive fire continues that started three days ago continue to burn in Chile's historic port city of Valparasio.

The blaze has already killed 12 people and destroyed a huge part of the town. Officials say it could yet be another two or three days before they succeed in extinguishing the fire. SMH

7.34am There are changed traffic conditions TOMORROW morning at Coalcliff. Filming (of what, I couldn't say) between 10am and 2pm on Wednesday will affect traffic in both directions on Lawrence Hargrave Drive between Paterson Road and Clifton School Parade. Motorists should slow down and be careful.

7.30am TIARA ALERT Apparently Kate Middleton is one of the few women who can successfully play sport in heels. She and Prince William indulged in a quick game of cricket yesterday as part of their NZ tour.

7.26am On this day in 1865, President Abraham Lincoln died  after being shot the previous evening by actor John Wilkes Booth. In 1965 the first Ford Mustang rolls off the show room floor, and in 1984 the inaugural World Youth Day was held.

7.22am LOCAL NEWS A Wollongong man who died of a lung infection caused by a fractured rib was assaulted multiple times in the weeks before his death, an inquest has heard.

Neighbours found Steven Barry Borg, 38, unresponsive in his Corrimal Street unit on January 22, 2011.

An autopsy found one of his ribs had been fractured, and, left untreated, it had caused a fatal lung infection.

7.18am Beyonce crashed her little sis' gig at Coachella on the weekend. I do love Queen B, but I kind of feel like she was stealing her sister's moment.

7.14am 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.

7.10am LOCAL NEWS The rundown strip of Burelli Street across the road from Greater Union Cinemas is set to get a revamp, with Wollongong City Council installing new bus shelters.

Four of the ageing bus shelters along Burelli Street will be replaced with well lit, more transparent shelters over the next two months.

7.06am It was a good night for TV last night, with the first ep of the last season of Mad Men airing as well. Reviews so far have been mixed.

7.03am So Game of Thrones was crazy last night! I won't say anymore here, but for those who have seen 'The Lion and the Rose', there is a recap here (obviously, SPOILER ALERT) and a spot to leave all your theories.

7am Morning all! There are still delays on the South Coast Line between Bomaderry and Kiama, the roads between Nowra and Sydney are still clear, and right now in Wollongong it's 16 degrees.

6.56am STRANGE BUT TRUE The Chana family is being, of Mizoram in India, are being courted by local politicians the Indian election approaches. And for good reason - head of the "Chana" sect Ziona Chana has 39 wives, 94 children and 33 grandchildren. They all live with him in his 100-room, four-story house perched among the hills of Baktwang village in the Indian state of Mizoram.

The Indian election is expected to the be the biggest exercise in democracy in history. In all, 815 million people are eligible to vote between April 7 and May 12. SMH

6.50am As the last remains of the once lively Oxford Tavern will soon turn to rubble, the Mercury is calling on readers to submit their memories of the pub. Send your photos and memories to or share them online or through our mobile app.

6.45am The MTV movie awards were on yesterday. The Hunger Games, Catching Fire won (somewhat predictably) best film, and the best male and female performance awards went to its two leads, Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson. Oh, and Zac Efron had his shirt ripped off. Take a look a the full list of winners here.

6.41am There's a stack of celebs that share their birthday with anyone born today. Actresses Emma Watson, Emma Thompson and Maisie Willis (aka the formidable Arya Stark), actor Seth Rogen and Leonardo da Vinci all blow out their candles today (or did hundreds of years ago).

6.37am Check out these awesome pics of Oak Flats cosplayer Eve Beauregard . The 20-year-old has turned her love of dressing up into a successful full-time job, travelling to conventions around the world dressed as her fave comic stars.

6.33am Don't forget double demerits begin at midnight tomorrow night and continue over the Easter long weekend. Operation Tortoise is targeting motorists flouting road rules, with double demerit point penalties applied to anyone exceeding the speed limit or not wearing their seatbelt.

For all other offences, motorists will receive an extra demerit point on top of the usual amount.

6.30am It's still another 11 hours away, but there's a total lunar eclipse tonight. The moon will turn red as it rises at sunset, at about 5.23pm.

it will stay in the earth's shadow until 6.25pm and then slowly start to move out and lose its copper-red colour and will disappear from view at 7.33pm.

Unfortunately the clouds might decrease visibility, but the Sydney Observatory said the best places to view it would be spots close to the coast with a clear view to the east. SMH

6.26am This is a cool pic - by today's standards, the Titanic was teeny 

6.22am Donna Tartt, author of the best-seller Goldfinch, has won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

6.19am April 15 marks a year since the Boston Marathon bombings. While this year's run won't begin until tonight our time, tributes to remember the victims are already appearing online.

6.15am The Dragons went down to the Storm last night, losing 28-24, after being 14 points ahead in the last 14 minutes. Bad luck, guys.

6.12am WORLD NEWS Oscar Pistorius was accused of using emotional outbursts to avoid difficult questions, changing his defence and screaming at his girlfriend to “get the f--- out” of his home the night he shot and killed her in what was a torrid sixth day of evidence at his murder trial.

Chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel appeared to tie Pistorius in knots as he continued to explore the fine details of his story, submitting to him his version was so improbable it was simply “not true.” SMH

6.09am Let's take a look at national headlines, courtesy of the SMH

*Bill Shorten will announce sweeping Labor Party reforms that empower rank and file members, rein in powerbrokers' say over candidates and call for fewer factional bosses to be pre-selected for the Senate.

*A body believed to be that of missing French tourist Aurelie Lhorme has been found at the base of a cliff on South Australia's far west coast.

*Federal cabinet is expected to meet on Tuesday to approve Badgerys Creek as the location of Sydney's second airport.

6.05am Here's what's making news in today's Mercury

*Wollongong councillor Vicki Curran has called on the NSW Ports Consortium to pay for public infrastructure upgrades, such as the Maldon-Dombarton rail link, needed as part of the proposed Port Kembla harbour expansion.

*Kanahooka's mother Gloria Nascimento could feel her late daughter Cassie watching over her as she accepted the NSW Barnardos Mother of the Year award on Monday.

*University loans may attract interest fees, and targets for students from disadvantaged backgrounds may be scrapped, in a move Greens senator Lee Rhiannon has labelled an "enormous setback" to institutions such as the University of Wollongong.

*A Warrawong couple have been arrested and more than $30,000 cash seized during a vehicle stop by Highway Patrol officers.

6.02am Let’s take a look at what’s happening on the roads and in the skies this morning

WEATHER Partly cloudy today across the Illawarra, with top temps of about 21 degrees and possibly a few showers on the coast. Right now its almost 16 degrees.

TRAFFIC It’s a clear run from Nowra to Sydney this morning, with the exception of ongoing roadworks at Gerringong and the top of Mount Ousley. 

TRAINS There are delays on the South Coast line. Passengers travelling between Bomaderry and Kiama on the South Coast Line are advised to allow additional travel time due to urgent equipment repairs at Berry. Buses may also supplement some services.

6am Good morning and welcome to Morning Rush. I'm Kate Walsh and I'll be joining you until the Easter weekend.


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