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

8.19am That's it from us this morning as Emma Spillett attends to other duties. See ya tomorrow! 

8.16am NATIONAL: The Australian Council of Social Service is concerned that the Abbott government is seeking to gag the welfare sector after comments from Immigration Minister Scott Morrison that government funding should not be used to support advocacy groups. Get the full story here.

8.15am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban & their little cuties Sunday & Faith have touched down in Sydney this morning.

8.12am STRANGE BUT TRUE: A baker has expressed her concern over copyright issues when making Disney based cakes. Yep, I'm serious. Think twice before you make that Minnie cake.

8.10am Wollongong Central is set to be home to the newest JB Hi Fi concept store when the centre expands later this year. It will have all the usual JB Hi Fi stuff + electrical appliances like ovens, fridges, computers & cameras. Cool!

8.09am BREAKING: There are major traffic delays at Melbourne Airport after a taxi hit two people at the major entrance. Departures Drive has been closed to cars as police investigate the crash, causing major delays at the airport as people are diverted to alternative entrances. The crash happened just before 4am on Wednesday and the injured pair, two men aged in their 40s and 30s, have been taken to hospital.Police are investigating and have spoken to the taxi driver. ‘‘Departures Drive is expected to be closed for several hours and anyone heading to the airport this morning is asked to take this into account and allow extra time for their trip,’’ Victoria Police said in a statement. (AAP)

8.08am Hillary Clinton hasn't held back during a recent interview with Diane Sawyer. She even revealed that her family was "dead broke" when they left the White House in 2001.

8.06am LOCAL NEWS: Former Wollongong resident Xander Beccari, 24, will ride a bicycle from Brisbane to Wollongong later this month for spinal research. Click here for the full story.

7.58am Good morning! A big hello to all those just tuning in. We're in for a partly cloudy day with the chance of a shower or two this morning. A top of 19 is expected. All is clear on the roads & the trains too.

7.56am WORLD NEWS: The Irish government is launching a full-scale investigation into controversial Catholic homes for unmarried mothers, following revelations that up to 800 infants died in one such institution over a 35-year period.

7.54am TIARA ALERT: Kate Middleton has been spotted looking gorgeous in a black & white frock at the Maritime Museum in London.

7.50am LOCAL SPORT: The Wollongong Hawks will tip-off the new season when they host Townsville on October 10, with the NBL draw to be officially unveiled on Wednesday.

7.48am WHSPA presents The Pirates of Penzance. It’s on from June 19 to June 28. Shows at 7.30pm and 2pm on Saturdays. Tickets are selling fast - visit to book.

7.46am NATIONAL: A balmy winter across the eastern capitals and a tough federal budget are playing havoc with retailers, leaving them stuck with unwanted winter stock and shoppers missing from the stores. And any recovery for the industry that is worth $100 billion and employs more than 450,000 people, might not appear until later in the year as weather patterns return to normal and the uncertainty around how a new Senate will treat Treasurer Joe Hockey's budget measures becomes clearer.

7.44am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Halle Berry has reached a settlement with her ex baby daddy Gabriel Aubry after a bitter dispute. She's been forced to pay $16,000 a month in child support.

7.42am LOCAL NEWS: With four inspirational speakers many encouraging words were spoken at the INSPIRE Women's Conference organised by Margaret Biggs, of TIGS, and Virginia Wren, of Illawarra ITeC, last Friday. Click here for the full story.

7.40am We all want to live to be 100, right? Well, what is the secret to long life? Some of the world's oldest people say eating well & relaxing, others say no alcohol, plenty of water & a good cigar or porridge, garlic & prunes. Hmmmm.

7.38am WORLD NEWS: Brazilian authorities say floods have driven close to 13,000 people from their homes in the southern state of Parana. The state's civil defence department says in a statement that floods have hit 132 cities, including the state capital of Curitiba, a World Cup host city. It was unclear if the floods affected Arena da Baixada stadium, which will host the first of four games on Monday. The World Cup Organising Committee did not immediately respond to a request for information.

7.36am It's game three of the US NBA finals today & there's heaps of places to watch it around town. Dagwood will be screening the game, along with the Brewery. Head in for some lunch & a spot of basketball.

7.34am TRAFFIC ALERT - Lane Cove: Reports of heavy traffic east bound on the M2 at Lane Cove Road, following a car and bus accident. Expect delays.

7.32am BREAKING: A young Gold Coast mother who poisoned her healthy daughter with chemotherapy drugs is due to be sentenced in a Brisbane court today. (AAP)

7.30am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Whoa Hugh Jackman! Two days ago he was hosting the Tonys in all his handsome glory - now he's bald! Check out the pics on the link below - scary!

7.28am TV NEWS: Rik Mayall, of The Young Ones fame, died yesterday. NB he was a bit before my time but very funny I've been told - here's his top 5 finest moments, according to the SMH.

7.26am NATIONAL: America is still the greatest country on earth but should view the rise of China as a compliment rather than as a threat, Tony Abbott has counselled on his first visit to the US as Prime Minister. The moral gee-up came as he prepares to meet US President Barack Obama in Washington this week in talks expected to cover defence, security, economic and environmental issues.

7.24am STRANGE BUT TRUE: Rapper Lil' Kim gave birth to a lil' (ha!) girl this week. She called her Royal Reign. Yep, you read it right. Sigh.

7.22am LOCAL NEWS: The Australian Youth Climate Coalition at the University of Wollongong has given locals a voice in a national campaign, hoping to ignite immediate action against climate change. The UOW group has collected more than 200 signatures on a petition to be presented to Illawarra MPs.

-Alice Matthews has the full report here.

7.20am Some mums have made a parody of Iggy Azalea's hit song Fancy - I'm So Pregnant. Hilarious! A must-watch.

7.18am Disney on Ice skates (haha!) into the WIN Entertainment Centre on Friday night. Yay! Must admit, I have a soft spot for Disney on Ice - I love ice skating, it's my secret shame :(

7.16am WORLD NEWS: A B-52 bomber broke up in the sky over North Carolina, and one of the two bombs on board was in the “armed” setting by the time it hit the ground near Goldsboro, North Carolina, according to a newly declassified report published on Monday by the National Security Archive.

7.14am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Katy Perry has a new man - and things are getting serious! They went on a lovely holiday together. Oooo.

7.12am STRANGE BUT TRUE: Medical authorities have suspended the license of a Seattle anesthesiologist for allegedly sending explicit “selfies” and exchanging sexy text messages during surgeries. Apparently he sent a text saying: “I’m hella busy with C sections.” Nice.

7.10am On this day in 1964, the Beatles touched down in Darwin at 3am.

7.08am TV NEWS: The Voice judge has given a brutal assessment of the reality format, saying the best singer in the competition has no chance of winning the contest. Ouch.

7.06am LOCAL NEWS: A gorgeous story this morning from reporter Louise Turk - when it comes to music, the Carolan family of Gwynneville have enough numbers to form their own mini string orchestra. Six of the nine Carolan children learn music and performed individually in this year's Wollongong Eisteddfod. Wow!

7.04am MUSIC NEWS: Destiny's Child have reunited! Yep, Beyonce, Kelly Rowland & Michelle Williams have recorded a new track together. Awesome! Bootylicious II?

7.02am NATIONAL: The trial for Brisbane real estate agent Gerard Baden-Clay over his wife's murder kicked off yesterday - on the night his wife disappeared, Baden-Clay promised his mistress he would soon be with her, a court has heard. Click here for all the latest from the trial. 

7am I love this - here's some mugshots of our favourite fairytale heroines. Certainly puts them in a different light!

6.58am Good morning! A big hello to all those just tuning in. We're in for a partly cloudy day with the chance of a shower or two this morning. A top of 19 is expected. All is clear on the roads & the trains too.

6.56am WORLD NEWS: Angelina Jolie is set to kick off a four-day summit today, involving more than 100 countries discussing ending sexual violence during conflict.

6.54am SPORT: The Blues line-up for Origin II has been announced - but coach Laurie Daley is far from settled on his starting 13, despite naming an injury-free team for next Wednesday's ANZ Stadium encounter.

6.52am LOCAL NEWS: A Woonona woman will avoid time behind bars for a vicious assault on a 12-year-old girl in broad daylight in Wollongong's CBD.

-Court reporter Shannon Tonkin has the full story here.

6.50am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Oh James Franco - he's penned a short story about one Lindsay Lohan, denying the pair ever slept together & calling her "damaged". Oh dear.

6.48am MUSIC NEWS: Anyone remember Rick Astley? Never Gonna Give You Up - oh, the best! Well, he's touring! Tickets available via Ticketek. Here's a little taste of his best!

6.46am STRANGE BUT TRUE: Snow White was supposed to be just 14-years-old in the Disney film. What was she doing shacking up with seven dwarves & kissing princes!?

6.44am NATIONAL: Questions about whether union money was used to pay for renovations at the house of former prime minister Julia Gillard in the early 1990s could be answered by the words of two builders and a former union official who will appear at the royal commission into trade unions this week.

6.42am Dolphins are still playing along the South Coast! The team at Dolphin Watch Cruises in Jervis Bay spotted more than 100 dolphins on a cruise yesterday. They were seen feeding at Plantation Point - cool!

6.40am BREAKING: Concerns have been raised for the health of the Pope after he cancelled two days of engagements.

6.39am LOCAL NEWS: Women's prisons in NSW are awash with illicit drugs that are fuelling ''drug parties'' and fatal overdoses, an inquest has revealed. The death in custody of mother-of-three & Wollongong woman Tracy Brannigan from a heroin overdose should serve as a watershed moment that exposes the ''callous indifference'' of correctional services and staggering drug abuse within prisons, prisoner advocate Brett Collins said. Get the full story here.

6.38am TV NEWS: Jimmy Fallon, you are amazing - he managed to get Jennifer Lopez into some super tight pants & a bowl haircut on his show. She's got some pretty sweet moves too. Check them out!

6.36am WORLD NEWS: Five US Special Operations service members and at least one Afghan soldier were killed when a US Air Force B-1 bomber unleashed an airstrike on their position in southern Afghanistan, in one of the deadliest instances of friendly fire in more than a decade of war, Afghan and US officials said on Tuesday.

6.34am MUSIC NEWS: General tickets are now on-sale for the Eagles tour down under. Get in quick, these babies won't last long!

6.32am SPORT: The World Cup is just days away from kicking off (pardon the pun) but it seems the only people in the world predicting anything but a quick Australian exit from the World Cup are its players. Will they prove us wrong? We all seem to think they're just not good enough...

6.30am Fried chicken or puppies on a grate? You decide...

6.28am TV NEWS: Seven's period drama A Place To Call Home has been prematurely axed mid-way through its second season, although the remaining episodes will go to air. The show has struggled to find an audience this year, with last Sunday's episode pulling 855,000 viewers.

6.27am LOCAL NEWS: Wollongong police are warning northern suburbs residents to be on the lookout for con artists after two men and a woman offered to cut down a tree on an 86-year-old man's Fernhill property. Click here for the full report.

6.26am Looks like it's going to be a fun night at Three Chimneys tomorrow - the Penny Hartgerink trio is playing, along with Mark Storey & Robbie Gyngell.

6.24am This is a picture of a horse carrying three lambs. I just. I can't speak. ADORABLE!

6.23am NATIONAL: The taskforce dealing with sexual and other abuse in the military has referred 22 cases to NSW police possibly involving claims such as rape, assault and death threats. NB Did anyone catch Monday's Four Corners episode, looking at alleged abuse in the military? Fascinating stuff.

6.21am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Could we have a new celebrity couple on our hands? Rumours are abounding that Jake Gyllenhaal and Rachel McAdams are dating. Ooooo.

6.19am Don't forget we're crossing every hour to Pulse 94.1FM with all the latest from the Rush.

6.18am WORLD NEWS: A gunman has shot and killed a student at a high school in a quiet Columbia River town in Oregon shortly after classes started and was found dead himself as police arrived, authorities said. 

6.16am TIARA ALERT: Prince Philip has celebrated his 93rd birthday - the Queen hosted a garden party at Buckingham Palace for him. Nice!

6.14am LOCAL NEWS: Unanderra's Zachary Matheson weighed a tiny 960 grams at birth, so when his mother's cat had kittens he begged and pleaded to keep the runt of the litter. Over the last three years Zachary, who has autism, has formed a strong bond with "Junior" and is devastated after the cat went missing two weeks ago.

-Reporter Lisa Waschmuth has the full story here.

6.12am WORLD NEWS: Rolf Harris was a “sinister pervert” with a “demon lurking beneath his charming exterior” who considered underage girls as sexual objects, prosecutor Sasha Wass, QC, has told a jury in summing up her case against the 84 year-old Australian entertainer. The jury is likely to retire next week. Click here for the latest on the trial.

6.11am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Miranda Kerr & Orlando Bloom's son Flynn is CUTE - and he made his modelling debut in Vogue magazine in a shoot with his mama. Very sweet.

6.09am And in national news (via the SMH):

*The jury in the trial of the alleged Lin family murderer has been discharged following the emergence of new evidence that may ‘‘change the shape and content’’ of the case.

*The Tax Office is targeting the family of corrupt Labor kingpin Eddie Obeid for a slice of a $30m coal deal at the centre of an historic corruption inquiry.

*The federal government’s Commonwealth Scholarship Scheme will benefit elite universities at the expense of institutions that attract students from poor, disadvantaged and regional backgrounds, a leading vice-chancellor says.

6.07am Here's what's making news in your Mercury today:

*Police are investigating whether wet weather was a factor in the death of a 28-year-old woman who lost control of her car while driving south on Appin Road about 3pm on Tuesday.

*The illegal transportation of feral pigs from regions west of the escarpment into the Illawarra is a "historical and ongoing practice", according to the region's lands services organisation.

*The government's proposal to sell 49 per cent of electricity providers including Endeavour Energy - which covers the Illawarra - should set "alarm bells ringing", according to opponents of the plan.

*Opposition spokesman for the Illawarra Ryan Park is pushing for progress on Bulli Hospital's centre of excellence for aged care.

6.05am Let's kick things off with the weather & traffic.

WEATHER We're in for a partly cloudy day with the chance of a shower or two this morning. A top of 19 is expected. Right now, it's 13 degrees.

TRAFFIC All looks clear on our roads & for the run to Sydney.

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

6am Good morning! Happy hump day. Apologies for the slightly slow start this morning - some technical issues here at Rush central.


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