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

8.34am That's it from us this morning as Emma Spillett attends to other duties. See you bright & early tomorrow morning!

8.32am STRANGE BUT TRUE: A woman has set her house on fire in the US, trying to kill a spider with a cigarette lighter. I have no words.

8.30am Look at this picture of an elephant just kicking back on the beach. Nice!

8.28am WORLD NEWS: Foreign ministers from Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany have been told to hold urgent talks regarding Kiev and separatists.

8.26am STRANGE BUT TRUE: A woman received some French fries with a side of cannabis when she stopped in for fast-food at a Sonic drive-in in the US.

8.24am LOCAL NEWS: While the Illawarra has been shivering through a cold snap over the past week, Weatherzone meteorologist Rob Sharpe said the region had enjoyed a relatively mild June with temperatures slightly above the long-term average.

*Get the full wrap-up on June temperatures here.

8.22am Stockland Shellharbour is running a Disney Princess & Prince activity zone. From 11am to 2pm daily until July 4.

8.18am TV NEWS: Popular series Community is returning for a sixth season on Yahoo Screen after it was cancelled by the NBC in May. Good news for fans!

8.16am SPORT: Todd Carney has taken aim at Cronulla boss Steve Noyce on the day the playing squad met for the first time and threw their support behind the fallen star. He told Channel Nine he felt let down by the Sharks – who he inked a rich five-year deal with last year – but was boosted by support of his teammates.

8.14am TIARA ALERT: Prince Harry is set to get a very large birthday present when he turns 30 in September. He'll receive a £10 million inheritance (AUS $18 million) on his birthday on September 15, thanks to his mother. Nice! I'm turning 30 in a few years, I wonder if that's a general rule?!

8.12am A little Tuesday funny for you...

8.10am Looking for something to do with the kidlets these school holidays? Check out our guide to all the actitivies in the Illawarra over the next fortnight. You'll never hear the words "I'm bored" again!

8.08am Milk first, then tea? Prick sausages to stop them from bursting? Fact or fiction? We've got the results - and they might scare you! For example, white chocolate is not actually chocolate...

8.06am The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual abuse inquiry into Marist Brothers continues today in Sydney. The spotlight returns to the Wollongong Diocese tomorrow.

8.04am TIARA ALERT: Pippa Middleton has given her first TV interview ever. She chatted about "that" bridesmaid dress, revealing the dress is sitting in her wardrobe at home.

8.02am SPORT: Rod Laver will have none of this talk about Aussie teen Nick Kyrgios as a future top-five player or major championship winner. "That's a mistake, people talking cheap news," said Laver. "Otherwise he's going to think, 'I don't have to work as hard now' and that's sort of the reverse you want him to be in. He has to try and practice even more and harder." Right, nothing like tall poppy syndrome to motivate a man!

8am LOCAL NEWS: As the new financial year begins on Tuesday, some of the Abbott government’s first budget measures will start trickling through.

*Get the low-down from reporter Kate McIlwain here.

7.58am OOPS: The BET awards honoured Lionel Richie with a life-time achievement award. But they spelt his name wrong during its presentation, flashing "Lionel Ritchie" on the screen. Epic, epic fail.

7.56am Good morning! Welcome if you're just tuning in. We're in for a sunny day with a top of 17 degrees. All good on our roads & for the run to Sydney. Apart from that delayed service, all is okay on the trains too.

7.54am TRAIN ALERT: The 5:57amKiama to Bondi Junction service on the South Coast line is delayed up to 20 mins due to an earlier train with a mechanical issue at Wollongong.

7.52am EW: One of Sydney's hottest venues has joined the ranks of the NSW Food Authority's "name and shame" list. The Grounds in Alexandria has been fined $880 for failing to take all practicable measures to eradicate and prevent the harbourage of pests. (SMH) Nooooooooooo.

7.50am This video is HILARIOUS. Check out these French bulldogs getting their wiggle on. Haha can't stop laughing!

7.48am LOCAL NEWS: The key suspect in the murder of a woman in Victoria was arrested in Eden yesterday afternoon. Scott Allen Miller, 42, was arrested by detectives on the Far South Coast and taken to Eden Police Station, where he was assisting police with their inquiries last night.

7.46am RED CARPET: We've got all the looks from Sunday's BET awards in the US. Check out celebs Kerry Washington, Nicki Minaj and Ashanti in a range of cleavage-filled & cut-out frocks.

7.44am POLITICS: Support for the Coalition continues to drop, as new polls put the Abbott government 10 points behind its election-winning vote. Ouch.

7.42am SPORT - World Cup: It's still nil all in the 83rd minute of the match between Germany and Algeria. Tough! And in other World Cup news, disgraced Uruguay striker Luis Suarez has apologised to Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini for the bite that got him banned for four months and expelled from the World Cup. Here's the full story.

7.40am TIARA ALERT: Prince Harry has been snapped dancing to Katy Perry's hit Firework with some Chilean children during his tour of South America. Adorable!

7.38am BREAKING: An eight-year-old boy has died after being found in a dam at a farm east of Grafton. The child had been with his family on the property at Tucabia, about 25km east of Grafton, when they noticed he was missing at about 2.30pm yesterday. Family members found the boy in a dam about 10 minutes later. CPR was initiated and continued until paramedics arrived but he died in hospital a short time later. (AAP)

7.36am If you missed it this morning, Rolf Harris has been found guilty of 12 counts of indecent assault. He will be sentenced on Friday. 

7.34am MOVIE NEWS: Carrie Fisher's daughter Billie Lourd is set to play young Princess Leia in the new Star Wars film. Yep, it's been reported the 21-year-old aspiring actresshas already joined her mother on-set in the UK.

7.32am SPORT: Canterbury centre (and Kiama lad!) Josh Morris passed a fitness test yesterday to secure his return to the NSW team for Origin III at Suncorp Stadium next Wednesday night.

7.30am LOCAL NEWS: Corrimal cartoonist Paul Dorin has put a lot of "blood, paint and tears" into the 21 pairs of celebrity jeans he's painted for Jeans 4 Genes. This year, he took on actor Jonah Hill's pants.

*Here's the full report from Lisa Waschmuth.

7.28am NATIONAL: Welfare groups have warned the government that increasing controls around how people spend their welfare payments could backfire, arguing existing controls have already cost the Commonwealth $1 billion without producing concrete results, stigmatising people on low incomes in the process.

7.26am It's National Pretzel day in the US. A shout-out to our court reporter Shannon Tonkin who is over there enjoying her h-moon. Have a pretzel for us!

7.24am The Brewery is hosting soul, funk & jazz tunes every Friday night. Nice! Sounds like a lovely chilled out environment for an after-work bevvie. From 7pm.

7.22am CELEB NEWS: If you missed this yesterday, reality TV star/fashion icon Olivia Palermo got married on the weekend in New York. She wore shorts. Beautiful shorts, but shorts.

7.20am Happy new financial year! It's officially tax time, yippee, my favourite holiday! It's also the start of Dry July. Good luck to all those taking the pledge.

7.18am LOCAL SPORT: A convincing 3-0 win over Blacktown Spartans has the Illawarra Stingrays in prime position to slide into a finals birth.

7.16am WORLD NEWS: Israeli military searchers have found three bodies, believed to be those of the missing Israeli teenagers who disappeared more than two weeks ago in the occupied West Bank, the Israel Defence Forces said yesterday.

7.14am Oh good lord, I've found a picture of a happy caterpillar. Not a hungry caterpillar but a HAPPY caterpillar. SO CUTE.

7.12am MOVIE NEWS: Transformers: Age Of Extinction is ruling the box office. The fourth installment in the morphing robot series earned $US100 million in North America during its opening weekend, making it the biggest debut for a movie this year.

7.10am NATIONAL: The federal government is examining ways to make it easier to prosecute Australian jihadist fighters returning from the Middle East, amid growing fears of the creation of a mini-state in the region that could export terrorism.

7.08am This slow-motion video of babies trying lemons for the first-time is adorable. These bubs react with everything from glee to horror - too cute!

7.06am Have you seen South Coast woman Turia Putt on the cover of the Australian Women's Weekly? A stunning woman with an amazing spirit.

7.04am LOCAL NEWS: A teenager has admitted to damaging a 100-year-old Boer War monument in Caroline Chisholm Park, Shellharbour Village, at the weekend.

*Police reporter Dominic Geiger has the full story here.

7.02am Have you bought your tickets to Legally Blonde yet? The show opens at the WEC on Friday. It's going to be super fun! Tix available via Ticketmaster.

7am Happy Canada day! It's Canada's national day today.

6.58am Good morning! Welcome if you're just tuning in. We're in for a sunny day with a top of 17 degrees. There is a two-car accident at Nowra (Princes Hwy near Moss St) affecting northbound traffic. Otherwise, all good on our roads & for the run to Sydney. All sweet on the trains too.

6.56am STRANGE BUT TRUE: An Australian entrepreneur has invented an iPhone app that can find your lost sunglasses. Yep, I kid you not. Using Apple's iBeacon technology and the world's tiniest solar panel, the owner is able to track where they last had their sunglasses via an iPhone app. Plus, it automatically sends a series of alerts if you leave them behind. Nifty!

6.54am NATIONAL: Accused murderer Gerard Baden-Clay will resume his evidence in court today as he continues to defend claims he murdered his wife.

6.52am Shellharbour Libraries Food for Fines amnesty kicks off today. People can donate food to the library and in exchange, their late fines will be waived. Time to dig out those overdue books!

6.50am A little Tuesday funny for you. A wanted poster for a pigeon - a person who "chilled" with this pigeon at the lake claims the pair "really hit it off". Hmm.

6.48am LOCAL SPORT: Rising costs left Group Seven management no option but to find a new home for this year's grand final. Group Seven's 2014 premiership decider will be played at Collegians Sports Centre in Figtree.

6.46am STRANGE BUT TRUE: Could your doona be making you sick? Doctors have claimed doonas can cause everything from dandruff to slow metabolism and insomnia. Some have even linked doonas to sleepwalking, nightmares, mental illness, infertility and ADHD. But they're so warm & snuggly!

6.44am WORLD NEWS: A flight from Chicago bound for California made an emergency landing in Kansas on Sunday after a slide deployed midair. Passengers said they feared the worst. "There was a hiss and they just had a panicked look,” passenger Diane Modini told a local TV station. “The whole back cabin where they sat was full of the chute.” NB dear Lord, I may never fly again.

6.42am OMG. This guinea pig is everything. I die from the cuteness.

6.40am Notice that your garbage truck looks a little slicker this morning? Hehe. Wollongong Council has a new fleet of garbage trucks hitting the road today. Sleek!

6.38am TV NEWS: Two new international remakes of Modern Family are being launched - Chile's Familia Moderna and Greece's Moderna Oikogeneia - and the studio is keen to make more. Have a look at the families - spooky!

6.36am CELEB NEWS: Robert Downey Jnr's son has been arrested on cocaine possession. The 20-year-old was spotted smoking something out of a pipe. Police then found cocaine on him. He was arrested & jailed. Oh dear ...  following in daddy's footsteps?

6.34am LOCAL NEWS: Plans for an apartment and retail complex in Keiraville mark a new way forward after nearly a decade of controversy about what should be built on the village's former service station site, residents say.

*Council reporter Kate McIlwain has the full story here.

6.32am NATIONAL: Former NSW Director of Public Prosecutions Nicholas Cowdery has accused the government of "political grandstanding" over its decision to review the state's fledgling bail laws just a month after they took effect. Mr Cowdery said the review of the new bail regime, announced by Premier Mike Baird on Friday, was "completely inappropriate and unnecessary". Get the full story here.

6.30am Craving chocolate? Want to whip up a little something? I give you Nutella cheesecake. OMG this looks to DIE for.

6.28am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Nicki Minaj has taken a swipe at our girl Iggy Azalea. During her acceptance speech at Sunday's BET awards, Nicki hated on "new female rappers who don't write their own lyrics." Ouch. Can't we all just get along?

6.26am SPORT - World Cup: France beat Nigeria overnight 2-0. Germany & Algeria are currently playing. The score is nil all so far.

6.24am Happy Birthday ABC! The TV station is celebrating its 82nd birthday.

6.22am And in some other music news this morning, Kylie Minogue has announced plans to tour. Her Kiss Me Once tour will kick off next year. Tickets go on-sale on Monday via Ticketek.

6.20am MUSIC NEWS: Western Sydney pop/dance crew Justice Crew have equalled a long-held record for the most successful Australian single since the ARIA charts began. The 2010 Australia's Got Talent winners topped the singles chart for the eighth consecutive week with Que Sera, equalling the record set by Austen Tayshus nearly 31 years ago with Australiana.

6.18am TIARA ALERT: Prince Harry things his nephew, little George chubby cheeks, looks like Winston Churchill. I can kiiind of see it. A little bit. Kinda.

6.16am LOCAL NEWS: The most lethal drugs are the legal ones, according to the state's oldest practising drug and alcohol nurse, Thirroul's Jan Ryan. The 77-year-old, who will retire on Friday, has helped people with addictions to cocaine, heroin, crystal meth and more, yet she said alcohol and tobacco remained the two biggest killers.

*Get the full story from health reporter Lisa Waschmuth here.

6.14am The Wiggles have announced a second Wollongong show. They're also performing at the WIN Entertainment Centre on December 16. Tickets go on-sale via Ticketmaster tomorrow at 9am. Get in quick!

6.12am NATIONAL: The Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse says it needs another two years, and more than $100 million, to do its job.

6.10am WORLD NEWS: The murder trial of Paralympian Oscar Pistorius has resumed with experts saying they had found no sign of mental illness after a month of psychiatric tests. 

6.08am TIARA ALERT: Kate Middleton has added a second private family kitchen to the couple's Kensington Palace apartment. Because one kitchen just isn't enough! She's also installing a new kitchen in the couple's Norfolk country house.

6.06am And in national/world news (via the SMH):

*Rolf Harris has been found guilty on 12 charges of indecent assault against four girls, from 1968 to 1986.

*Todd Carney has effectively been banned for life by the NRL after the competition's governing body declared it was "highly unlikely" the sacked Cronulla five-eighth would be allowed back.

*Pressure on bank tellers to push customers into Commonwealth Bank financial products such as insurance and managed funds is causing stress, depression and bullying, according to an explosive new survey of staff.

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

*Ted Smith isn't sure if it's the rich red soil, Robertson's sub-alpine climate or just a little bit of magic in the Illawarra escarpment air that makes his truffle farm so successful - but whatever the secret, it's working. Late last week, Mr Smith and his wife Barbara unearthed the largest truffle grown in Australia from their Yelverton Truffles property.

*Sarah O'Meara lived every mother's worst nightmare when she got a phone call to say there had been a car accident and her young son was badly hurt. Get the full story here.

*For so many years the fourth wheel to Melbourne's big three it was all about Gareth Widdop at WIN Stadium on Monday night as the 24-year-old Englishman came back to haunt his old club in the Dragons 24-12 win over the Storm.

*Parents with children attending Warilla Child Care Centre have expressed their distress over the potential closure of the facility at the end of the year.

6.02am Let's kick off the morning with the latest weather & traffic.

WEATHER We're in for a sunny day with a top of 17 degrees. Those winds are still around but they are set to ease off this arvo. Right now, it's a balmy (not!) 6 degrees at Bellambi and 4 at Albion Park.

TRAFFIC All is good on our roads & for the run to Sydney. Don't forget Keira St is now closed to traffic.

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

6am Good morning Illawarra, happy Tuesday! Man alive it is cold out there! Stay with your host Emma Spillett this morning - I'll try to warm your up with my sparkling wit!


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