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

8.54am That's it for this morning's edition of the Rush. Come back tomorrow to catch up on the latest news over your brekky.

8.50am LOCAL NEWS 500 year 9 and 10 students from 15 schools headed to UOW over the past two days to test their design and construction skills.

8.46am There's some great live music on at Three Chimneys tonight.

8.42am LOCAL SPORT With the finals beckoning - or end of season festivities being planned - victories are ever more important for sporting teams in the Illawarra. The Mercury has a mega gallery of all the action from the weekend.

8.38am LOCAL NEWS In great news for the tech-phobic in the Illawarra, printed timetables will soon be available again at train stations on the South Coast line, a Transport for NSW spokeswoman said.

8.34am Time for some cute animals in your morning. Here's a good samaritan horse

8.30am I think we might be in for a hot summer - today it's already expected to reach 25 degrees

Sarah Bell and Jesse O'Brien enjoy the warm weather at Wollongong Rock Pool. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

Sarah Bell and Jesse O'Brien enjoy the warm weather at Wollongong Rock Pool. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

8.26am Have a look at all the pretty dresses from last night's David Jones spring-summer collection launch.

8.21am Feeling like a walk down memory lane? Have a look at this gallery of Mercury photos from 2004.

8.16am Looking for something to do this weekend? Head along to see the talented Laura Jackson in Handle It, her one-woman show. It’s on at the Phoenix from August 1-3. Head to the theatre’s website to book.

8.08am TRAINS The 8.42 Moss Vale to Central train will operate as normal after a train requiring mechanical repairs along the Southern Highlands line has been fixed.

8.04am On this day in 1588 The Spanish Armada was spotted off England’s coast; Christchurch, NZ, was chartered as a city in 1856; in 1919 the German national assembly adopted the Weimar Constitution and in 1971 Apollo 15 astronauts became the first to ride in a lunar rover.

It's 8am. Illawarra roads and South Coast trains are all good. Wollongong is warming up to 25 degrees today - already it is 16.

7.56am The University of Wollongong will offer a bachelor of social science from 2015, after teen focus groups and past graduates showed demand exists for a dedicated degree.

7.52am THE SMH reports bronze medal weightlifter Francois Etoundi is the member of the Australian Commonwealth Games team detained by police over an alleged altercation at the athletes' village in Glasgow early on Wednesday morning. 

7.48am COMMONWEALTH GAMES Sisters Bronte and Cate Campbell farewell the games after great achievements in the pool.

7.43am Today is the 112th anniversary of the Mount Kembla mine disaster. A 96 Candles Ceremony will be held at Windy Gully Cemetery at 6.30pm tonight in memory of those lost. Visit for more information.

7.36am LOCAL NEWS Research into the super material graphene has entered a new phase at the University of Wollongong, following a $25 million funding injection and a new patenting agreement.

7.32am Ew. There’s an infestation of rats in the gardens around The Louvre in Paris. That’ll spoil your pleasant picnic. BBC

7.28am  Licked Gelateria in Kiama opens its door for the first time on Saturday. They’re even offering from gelato between 11am and 1pm to welcome their new customers.

7.24am COMMONWEALTH GAMES Australia still leads the total medal tally with 106 compared to England’s 102, but the Brits have managed to get more gold medals, with 37 to our 35.

7.20am July 31 is uncommon instrument awareness day. Break out your fluba, kazoo and spoons!

7.16am  A great photo from Lost Wollongong on the corner of Crown and Keira Streets in 1963. To say it looks a little different now would be an understatement.

7.12am LOCAL NEWS Controversial changes to the work-for-the-dole scheme would bury Illawarra businesses in an avalanche of paperwork because they would require the region's jobseekers to apply for more than 3.7 million jobs a year.

The changes, which require applicants to apply for up to 40 jobs a month, are due to be rolled out nationwide from July 1, 2015. Using the Illawarra's latest unemployment figures, the region's 7800 unemployed people would generate 312,000 applications each month under the new scheme.

7.08am The children’s chorus from the Wollongong Con will be performing with Opera Australia in Mozart’s The Magic Flute on August 8 & 9.

7.04am TV ALERT Offspring fans, did you catch last night's episode? What about the first episode of The Bachelor? It was obviously a very busy night for channel 10.

It's 7am. Illawarra roads and South Coast trains are looking good. Right now it's 15 degrees.

6.56am Breakfast boring you already? Keen for a night on the town? 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

6.52am So eating half an avocado is bad for you? There goes my favourite toast spread. Take a look at this list of foods that while good for you, ain’t so swell if you over-indulge.

6.48am HP fans will know it’s also Neville Longbottom’s birthday. Let’s take a moment to appreciate how quickly the stars of the films grew up. 

6.44am Celebrating their b-day today are Modern Family’s Rico Rodriguez (Manny), actor Wesley Snipes and Harry Potter author JK Rowling. Incidentally, it’s the boy wizard’s birthday too.

6.40am Damaging winds averaging 50 to 70 km/h with gusts to 100 km/h are forecast for the Illawarra and South Coast today, chiefly in the afternoon. Make sure you secure any easily blown away items.

6.36am LOCAL NEWS The mother of a Bankstown man missing for more than a month has expanded her search to the Illawarra, desperately pleading with locals to keep an eye out for her son.

Nick Veljanovski, 28, of Bankstown, was last seen last in Allus Street, Yagoona, about 8am on Wednesday, June 11.

6.32am WORLD NEWS Three heavy artillery shells hit a United Nations school in the early hours of Wednesday, killing 19 and wounding at least 100. The shelling came despite 17 warnings about the position of the shelter to the Israel Defence Force, according to officials in United Nations Relief and Works Agency. SMH

6.30am The Brewery is running Tex Mex nights every Thursday. Think nachos, tequila and Corona buckets to share. Yum!

6.24am Hazard reduction burns will be conducted this Saturday along Heathcote Road between the Princes Highway and New Illawarra Road. Motorists travelling south will be diverted by New Illawarra Road and Bangor Bypass, while northbound drivers should also take these routes.

6.20am CELEB GOSS Orlando Bloom and Erica Packer have reportedly been seen holiday in Spain together. Rumours the ex-hubby of Miranda Kerr and ex-wife of James Packer are seeing one another have been swirling around for a while.

6.16am LOCAL SPORT He didn't disclose a name, but Wollongong coach Gordie McLeod confirmed the Hawks are in advanced discussions with a potential US recruit.

6.12am COMMONWEALTH GAMES Athletics Australia has suspended head coach Eric Hollingsworth after an outburst criticising Sally Pearson for not attending the team’s training camp.

6.08am Let’s take a look at the headlines nationally and around the world, courtesy of the SMH

*The ebola outbreak in west Africa poses a "very serious threat" to Britain, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond says, as England's public health authority warned the virus was out of control.

*A man detained by police over an altercation at the athletes' village in Glasgow is believed to be a member of the Australian Commonwealth Games team. 

*Glen Turner, a 51 year-old Environment and Heritage compliance officer, a loving father-of-two from Tamworth, was allegedly shot in the back as he served a notice on 79 year-old farmer Ian Turnbull on Tuesday for illegally clearing vegetation on his Croppa Creek property, 55 kilometres north of Moree.

6.05am Here’s a look at the top stories in today’s Mercury

*The height of the killer of Darko Janceski was queried at Kiama Local Court on Wednesday. Matthew Paul Wiggins is accused hooting Darko Janceski three times while he was standing in the front yard in April, 2012.

*The first details of The Meatery have emerged, the carnivorous sounding eatery will soon replace Wollongong’s once-popular beachfront restaurant Rocksalt Bar & Grill, which went into liquidation early this year.

*A driver and passengers on a Nowra bus had a lucky escape after a window shattered after being hit by a rock the size of a small tennis ball on Tuesday night.

6.02am Let’s take a look at the roads and skies this morning

WEATHER We’re apparently headed for a top of 25 today! You wouldn’t think we were still in the depths of winter. There will be some gusty winds around during the day. Right now it’s 13 degrees.

TRAFFIC Everything is fine and dandy on the roads so far. There are still ongoing roadworks at Gerringong and the top of Mount Ousley, and Keira Street between Market and Crown Streets remains closed for the GPT development.

TRAINS There is good service on the South Coast Line. Buses will replace the 6.09am Moss vale to Goulburn and 7.40am Goulburn to Central trains on the Southern Highlands Line due to a train requiring mechanical repairs at Moss Vale.

6am Good morning and welcome to Thursday, July 31.