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

8.40am That's it from us this morning. Hope you've enjoyed today's edition of the Rush. See you tomorrow! Go the Blues!

8.38am SPORT: Lleyton Hewitt's out in the first round of the French Open. See how it went down here.

8.35am Planning a trip O/S? Don't forget your passport, you sunscreen & to learn how to swear in several languages. Here's a helpful how-to.

8.32am NATIONAL: The upcoming G20 Leaders’ Summit in Brisbane will be celebrated with a commemorative 70 cent stamp. .Australia Post will launch a stamp featuring Brisbane’s skyline in a transparent sphere with ‘‘G20 Summit 2014’’ written underneath. It will be available from June 3. (AAP)

8.30am STRANGE BUT TRUE: The annual Boring Conference is on again in London this weekend. I kid you not. Topics include domestic inkjet printers of 1999, ice-cream-van chimes and the widely disliked font Comic Sans. Scarily, the event is sold out.

8.28am Looking for a fun night out? The Social is hosting Fiesta Thursdays, serving up a range of sangria specials to go with tasty $5 tapas plates. You can also head there for an after-work drink every Tuesday to Friday - enjoy $5 house beer & wine from 5pm to 7pm.

8.26am Research to be released today by the University of Queensland shows the biggest health risk for women over the age of 30 is inactivity. That's scary, isn't it?!

8.22am CELEB GOSS ALERT: On Monday, we told you that Emma Watson graduated from Brown University over the weekend. What we didn't tell you is that she sat next to an undercover armed guard during the ceremony.

8.20am Roo Theatre is hosting its Roo Revue this weekend - 27 years of memories in one show! Sounds good - visit their website for more info.

8.18am Thailand's political crisis has helped boost Bali tourism, with Australians leading a surge in visitors to the holiday island in 2014. Thailand reportedly suffered a nearly five per cent drop in tourists in the first four months of 2014 compared to 2013. Meanwhile, the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association reports overseas visitors to Bali have grown about 10 per cent.

8.16am STRANGE BUT TRUE: Every year, competitors flock to Gloucestershire in the UK for the annual cheese-rolling contest. Yep, cheese-rolling. You grab a wheel of brie & throw that sucker down a hill. This year's winner doesn't even like cheese!

8.14am MUSIC NEWS: Popular Australian rapper 360 has announced the biggest national tour of his career to follow the release of his third album Utopia in June. He'll be at the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney on September 5. Tickets go on sale Fridat at 9am.

8.12am LOCAL NEWS: IRIS Research provided a snapshot of the local economy in its Federal Budget 2014-15 review, showing the property market in the Wollongong area rebounding strongly and the unemployment rate increasing only slightly.

8.10am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Ghostbusters star Bill Murray has crashed a bachelor party in the US, giving the groom & his groomsmen some advice. Nice! NB Bill Murray seems like a cool guy, he's always doing funny stuff like this.

8.08am SPORT: Bookmakers have dubbed Australia's World Cup chances as something worse than "not a chance in hell." Boo. I hate all this Socceroos hating.

8.06am Dear lord, it's also World Sunscreen Day today. Of course!

8.04am NATIONAL: An 80-year-old former Victorian teacher and school principal has been jailed for molesting three primary school girls in 1978. A magistrate told Trevor Crocker on Monday he had taken advantage of his position and the trust the girls put in him "in a vile way". (The Age)

8.02am WORLD NEWS: The United States says it will reduce its troop presence in Afghanistan to 9800 this year and bring its military intervention to an end by the end of 2016. (AAP)

8am STRANGE BUT TRUE: A photographer has created a series of images of chipmunks with Star Wars figurines. Um, okay then.

7.58am Morning! Happy hump day if you're just tuning in! We're in for a mostly sunny day with a top of 22 degrees. All is clear on our roads and for the run to Sydney. All is sweet on the trains too.

7.56am LOCAL NEWS: Students at Woonona East Public School have received a crash course in self-defence, after three incidents of men in vans approaching children in the suburb.

-Reporter Kate Walsh has the scoop here.

7.54am Former High Court Justice Michael Kerby's book Dirty Secrets launches today. Should be a VERY compelling read for law & order fans.

7.52am WORLD NEWS: A powerful tornado has ripped through North Dakota, injuring nine people.

7.50am POLITICS: Voters are maintaining their rage over the federal budget, a big majority branding it unfair and believing it will increase cost-of-living pressures and make it harder for the young to find jobs. Seventy per cent of voters do not believe the budget shares the burden of spending cuts, benefit changes and tax increases equally, says the Ipsos I-view Omnibus survey taken in the last week. (SMH)

7.48am Awww look at these little orphan otter pups. They've got a new home in Oregon, US, and they look so happy!

7.46am MUSIC NEWS: Tickets for Queen's Aussie tour go on-sale from 10am this morning. Get in quick - these puppies will sell fast!

7.44am A little exercise funny for you this morning - the age-old fight between food & exercise. Bitter, bitter dispute.

7.42am NATIONAL: Sydney's record-breaking run of warmth on the cusp of winter is putting many European capitals in the shade and prompting at least one council to extend its lifeguard season into June for the first time. We've had our 12th day in a row of weather over 20 degrees. Nuts!

7.40am LOCAL SPORT: St George Illawarra captain Ben Creagh said the Dragons players must shoulder responsibility for Steve Price's demise, as they try to bounce back from a horror month against South Sydney on Monday.

7.38am TV NEWS: Rumours are already swirling as to who will replace Georgie Gardner on the Today Show. Natasha Belling is a front-runner or perhaps Sunrise's Melissa Doyle?

7.36am Today is National Burger Day. Enjoy a burger guilt-free! It's also (ew) global Menstrual Hygiene Day.

7.34am BREAKING: A search for two bushwalkers missing in the Kosciuszko National Park was called off in the early hours of Wednesday when severe electrical storms swept over the area and the wind chill dropped to -10 degrees.

7.32am LOCAL NEWS: An innocuous Wollongong City Council debate over how best to capitalise on the city's growth quickly descended into schoolyard name-calling on Monday, as councillors clamoured to slag off Shellharbour.

"I found the place a soulless, airless, noisy, claustrophobic dungeon and if GPT set up something like that, I'm leaving town."

Wollongong councillor David Brown

-Council reporter Kate McIlwain has the full story here.

7.30am This cat is playing jenga. PLAYING JENGA. That is all.

7.28am If you haven't seen this yet, check it out - some clever soul has created the "18 things every UOW student knows" Buzzfeed page. And it's very true & very funny. All UOW alumni will relate. Enjoy.

7.26am I was going to brand this celeb goss but do we consider Brynne Edelsten a celeb? Either way - she's come out against her ex-husband's new GF - and there is some serious mud-slinging going on between these two.

7.22am NATIONAL: The Abbott government redirected funds from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse to meet a third of the cost of its royal commission into the former government's home insulation scheme. (SMH)

7.20am This is great - this photographer made this year's Oscar nominees pose with images of their younger selves. And most of them have aged quite well - check it out below.

7.18am SPORT: The Parramatta Eels are investigating the systematic tampering of memberships in the lead-up to last year’s Parramatta Leagues Club elections and a break-in and suspected theft of their records. Up to 150 memberships were covertly entered into their database and backdated by three years in a ploy that gave those members automatic voting rights. Ouch.

7.17am LOCAL NEWS: Dozens of voices will come together as one for social justice in June, as a community mass choir forms for Refugee Week.

-Reporter Josh Butler has the full story here.

7.16am Has anyone been to Vivid Sydney yet? I keep seeing pics and it just looks fantastic - here's a shot from Twitter. These rabbits are awesome!

7.14am Driving along the Princes Highway in Fairy Meadow yesterday, I spotted a new cafe/bar - Two Doors Up. Looks really cool! Check 'em out on Facebook - they haven't got a liquor license yet but here's hoping.

7.12am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Seems things are finally over between Justin Bieber & Selena Gomez - he's got a new lady love. Or two. Who can keep up!?

7.10am Our petition calling for life supervision for the Bulli Rapist has reached 1500 signatures. Wow! We'd love more signatures - visit here to sign up.

7.08am This article is really worrying - a national survey found one third of Australian children struggle to identify fruit and vegetables, and were confused about where produce came from. For example, 27 per cent of kids are convinced yoghurt grows on trees. Good lord, what are these kids learning!?

7.06am Tee hee hee, I love this - not a cappucino but a CAT-uccino. Hehehe.

7.04am MUSIC NEWS: Jay Z is being sued for $7 million by a man who claims he created the Roc-a-Fella logo in 1995 and Jay Z now owes him for it.

7.02am LOCAL NEWS: The Illawarra community will be left to shoulder the "time bomb" of deteriorating asbestos buildings if the federal government axes the agency charged with asbestos safety and management, Throsby MP Stephen Jones has warned.

-Bree Fuller has the full story here.

7am Great shot this morning near Flagstaff Hill in Wollongong - stunning.

6.58am WORLD NEWS: Malaysia has released raw satellite data used to determine that missing Flight MH370 went down in the southern Indian Ocean -information demanded by passengers' relatives who are frustrated over the failure to find any wreckage.

6.56am Good morning! Welcome if you're just tuning in. We're in for a mostly sunny day with a top of 22 degrees. All is clear on our roads. There is a truck breakdown @ Engadine (Heathcote Rd approaching Princes Hwy) - one southbound lane is shut so could be some delays through there. All is sweet on the trains.

6.54am This picture of a dog in a baby onesie is everything. I just, I can't, I have no words, it's just so adorable. I don't know whether this makes me want a baby or a dog or a dog dressed in baby clothes. Or all three.

6.52am NATIONAL: The state's public schools will face random audits and will have to meet the same standards as private schools to ensure staff are qualified, buildings are maintained and the curriculum is being delivered. Read the full report on this NSW first here.

6.50am MUSIC NEWS: TheFoo Fighters have hinted at a tour of Australia and New Zealand. In a post on their Facebook page, the US rockers made the hint alongside a link to a newsletter for their new record, Album 8, which they say is due in the northern hemisphere's autumn. (AAP)

6.48am If you're not into Origin, why not head along to see Celtic Thunder at the WEC tonight? The group returns to Wollongong with its latest show, Mythology. Tickets $99 - $299 from

6.46am WORLD NEWS: A 25-year-old woman was stoned to death by her family outside one of Pakistan's top courts on Tuesday in a so-called "honour" killing for marrying the man she loved, police said. (SMH)

6.44am This video has been doing the rounds for awhile - it's had 40 million views on YouTube - but thought I'd share it. It's an African tribal cover of Let It Go from Frozen. Wow.

6.42am STRANGE BUT TRUE: Good ol' Miley - you can always rely on her for a strange but true post. She's gone topless (of course!) and straddled a horse statue in a leaked copy of her new single cover.

6.40am LOCAL NEWS: A Wollongong relief teacher has been charged after allegedly indecently assaulting a girl at a high school.

6.38am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Okay, I've lasted a whole 38 minutes without talking about the Kim Kardashian/Kanye West wedding. Here's the first official pics - looks very nice, very lovey. And that is all I will say on the matter.

6.36am NATIONAL: A Swansea Heads couple returned home last night  to find their three-storey home sliding into a large sinkhole which had opened up in their front yard. Here's the full story. NB How terrifying, can you imagine!?

6.34am This one comes courtesy of my beloved fiancee - he knows my obsession with cat videos and this one is HILARIOUS. Watch this kitten just fall asleep - oh god, too funny.

6.32am MUSIC NEWS: Proving the theory that all publicity is good publicity, Solange Knowles' music sales went up by 233 per cent after the "elevator incident" with bro-in-law Jay-Z. Sheesh!

6.30am LOCAL SPORT: Paul McGregor’s unexpected, and temporary, ascension to the Dragons head coaching role will force a reshuffle in the NSW coaching ranks after Origin I tonight.

6.28am TV NEWS: Okay, so you all know how excited I was about last season of The Bachelor Australia. Well, I'm SUPER excited for this year's season. We've already got a new Bachelor - he's a male topless waiter. Hello Blake Garvey!

6.26am NATIONAL: Attorney-General George Brandis is preparing to water down a controversial plan to scrap sections of the Racial Discrimination Act that restrict racist insults and hate speech, after an avalanche of submissions signalled concerns over the changes.

6.24am In some other celeb news this morning, Modern Family star Sofia Vergara has ended her engagement to Nick Loeb. She's just too busy. Good news for all those male Sofia fans - she's back on the market!

6.22am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Home Alone star Macauley Culkin has a band. It's called the Pizza Underground. But that's not the goss - the group got pelted with beer cans for their dodgy rendition of Lou Reed's Perfect Day. Here's the group in a better performance - they actually "pizza-fy" their songs. Weird.

6.20am LOCAL NEWS: A laser that will more precisely remove cancerous tumours in the mouth and throat, cutting surgical and recovery times, may soon be available for patients at Wollongong Hospital.

-Health reporter Lisa Waschmuth has the full story here.

6.18am Don't forget we're crossing to Pulse 94.1FM every hour with all the latest from the Rush.

6.16am SPORT: State of Origin game one is on tonight - but apparently there's scientific proof it's rigged. Read here. Go the Blues!

6.14am STRANGE BUT TRUE: A handwritten note containing only the word "the" is worth a whopping $10,000 on ebay. NB There's nothing special about it, it's just a note. What the!?

6.12am TV NEWS: I FINALLY have Channel Nine (yippee!) but missed When Love Comes to Town last night. And what a night to miss - one of the girls quit the show in tears, saying the experience just wasn't for her.

6.10am WORLD NEWS: Rolf Harris has painfully confessed to intimate details of his affair with a “flirtatious” friend of his daughter – and another with a lodger living at his family home. But he has firmly denied sexually assaulting the friend of his daughter, saying their relationship began when she was at least 18, and each encounter was consensual. Get the full update on the trial here.

6.08am TIARA ALERT: If you missed this one yesterday, Duchess Kate Middleton's bum was snapped by paparazzi & then printed in dozens of papers - the Royals are displeased.

6.06am And in national news:


- Federal treasurer Joe Hockey is insisting he won’t flinch on budget cuts.

- Starbucks has decided to pull the pin on Australia, and sold the rest of their 24 cafes and shops.  


- NSW has seen an unprecedented rise in early detection and treatment of cases of HIV.

- Ticket sales, book sales, show sales and crowd numbers all reached record-highs at last week’s Sydney Writer’s Festival.

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

*It's been confirmed that a train station in Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian's Sydney electorate has jumped the queue for station lifts, and the people of Unanderra aren't happy. Read more here.

*"I hit him and I'm going to jail," Jason Alfred Cavanough said after a physical altercation with his uncle which eventually resulted in his uncle's death, Wollongong District Court heard.

*An escaped companion dog called Miss Lilly has been freed from the pound and reunited with a seven-year-old Warilla boy with special needs, after a rousing community fund-raising effort. Here's the full story.

*GPT has advised Wollongong shoppers to "watch this space", after councillors at Monday night's meeting urged the shopping centre developer to include free parking in its new $200 million mall.

6.02am Let's have a look at the latest weather & traffic.

WEATHER We're in for another mostly sunny day with a top of 22 degrees. We had a little bit of rain overnight but nothing around today. How amazing is this nearly winter weather!? Right now, it's 8 at Albion Park & 13 at Bellambi.

TRAFFIC All looks clear on the region's roads & for the run to Sydney.

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

6am Good morning & happy hump day! It's the middle of the week, we're slowly creeping towards the weekend. Stay with your host, Emma Spillett, this morning for all the latest from the outside world.


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