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

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8.30am That's it from us this morning. Have a fantastic Friday & a wonderful weekend. See you next week!

8.10am WORLD NEWS: Anthem, the second biggest US health insurer by market value, said hackers obtained data on tens of millions of current and former customers and employees in a sophisticated attack that has led to a FBI probe. Read more.

8.08am Have you booked your tickets to see Once A Catholic at the Phoenix Theatre? It opens next weekend.

8.06am EDUCATION: Dodgy private colleges are making massive profits from taxpayers' money as a result of controversial vocational education reforms implemented across the country, a new study has found. Read more.

8.04am So I've decided I want a pig. And it's mainly because of this pig - Miss Prissy pig. She's so freaking adorable, I just want to squeeze her!


8.02am LOCAL NEWS: Primary schools in the Illawarra are relying on demountable classrooms to cope with an influx of enrolments.

*Reporter Brianna Parkins has the story.

8am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Blake Lively has shared the first Instagram photo of herself since giving birth and she's glowing. Gorgeous woman.

7.58am Good morning! Welcome if you're just tuning in. We're in for a partly cloudy day with a top of 23 degrees. All good on the roads & rails.

7.54am Want to whip up something a little bit different in the kitchen this weekend? Try this recipe for barbecued seafood - looks yum!

7.52am SYDNEY: An Irish tourist, allegedly punched on the head by his brother, has walked out of hospital, marking another step in his recovery.

7.50am Awww this little girl is SO CUTE. She donned a Wonder Woman costume to celebrate her last chemo treatment.

7.48am Don't cook tonight. Head to Flagstaff Hill and grab some yummy food at the international food markets. From 5.30pm.

7.46am People, meet Atchoum. He's the internet's hottest new cat because he looks like a cat sorcerer. See ya Grumpy Cat!

7.42am LOCAL NEWS: A Shellharbour City Council report on the arrival of a Qantas 747-400 will be presented at an extraordinary meeting of the council on Monday night.

*Reporter Alex Arnold has the story.

7.40am Do you suck at packing? I'm a hopeless over-packer. If you need help, read this - 10 items you should NEVER pack in your suitcase.

7.38am Want to be the best parent ever? Well, we can help - we're giving away two $500 party vouchers for Flip Out Warrawong. Enter here.

7.36am NATIONAL: South Australia could soon let go of the past, as its government considers changing time zones to bring clocks in line with other states. The state is currently 30 minutes behind many other states. Join us SA, you won't regret it.

7.34am Amen. My Friday mantra. Hehe. #notreally #pleasedontfireme


7.32am BREAKING: Gary Glitter has been convicted of a string of child sex offences that took place between 1975 and 1980.

7.30am Sofia Vergara just posted this super cute pic to Instagram of her with co-star "Lily". The pair are shooting a new ep of Modern Family.

7.28am Love steak but over boring ol' gravy? Try this steak recipe for something a little bit fancy.

7.26am LOCAL NEWS: A vacant block of land described as the largest single holding of residential land left in Figtree, has gone on the market.

*Property reporter Louise Turk has the story.

7.24am Another little Friday funny for you. I love to laugh at Kanye West.

7.22am Put Sunday, Feb 22 in your diaries - it's the last Hawks home game of the season. Tip-off is at 5pm.

7.20am POLITICS: Senior cabinet minister Christopher Pyne is unable to guarantee Tony Abbott will still be leader next week, only saying he "hopes" the Prime Minister still has the numbers in the party room.

7.18am CELEB GOSS ALERT: A week after giving birth, Shakira has shared a gorgeous picture of her newborn son. Celeb babies EVERYWHERE!

7.16am SPORT: Sydney's 2SM radio jockey John Laws has faced a backlash from his listeners after badgering Socceroos star Tim Cahill in a telephone interview on Thursday afternoon. Get the full story.

7.14am HEALTH: E-cigarettes generate toxic chemicals similar to those found in tobacco and may harm the lungs and immune system, new research suggests. The findings, from a study of mice, indicate that "vaping" is far from being a safe alternative to smoking tobacco.

7.12am Have you made plans for Valentine's Day yet? Why not treat your beloved to a heart-shaped waffle pop from Sugar Cube in Wollongong?

7.10am WORLD NEWS: Jordanian fighter jets flew over the hometown of a pilot killed by Islamic State after ending a mission against militants in Syria, a security official said. Read more.

7.08am Don't forget the Foragers Markets are on at Bulli on Sunday.

7.06am BREAKING: We're just hearing that Bobbi Kristina, Whitney Houston's daughter, has reportedly been taken off life support. How very very sad.

7.04am Ladies, some scary news. Flares are back. Oh dear god no.

7.02am LOCAL SPORT: Hawks coach Gordie McLeod is confident he'll have a full squad on the plane to Melbourne today despite Jahii Carson, Luke Nevill and Brad Hill all nursing injuries. Good luck boys!

7am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Ryan Reynolds has told a magazine that he "fell even more in love" with wife Blake Lively after she gave birth. Awwwww.

6.58am Good morning! Welcome if you're just tuning in. We're in for a partly cloudy day with a top of 23 degrees. All good on the roads & rails.

6.56am For Monopoly's 80th birthday, creators Habro put real money into 80 game sets distributed in France. Awesome!

6.54am MUSIC NEWS: Sia is set to perform at the Grammys on Monday night. But will we see her face? She almost always wears a brown paper bag over her head for photo shoots. Watch this space...

6.52am SYDNEY: A bus driver who killed a pedestrian in Sydney's CBD after taking his eyes off the road to wave at a colleague has avoided jail, with a magistrate finding prison wouldn't benefit the victim's family. Read more.

6.50am STRANGE BUT TRUE: A Game of Thrones-themed pop-up restaurant is set to open in London. The menu? Fear & bloodshed.

6.48am LOCAL NEWS: A Wollongong man has been charged for housing a 1.5-metre crocodile in a mate's garage at Dapto.

The croc.

The croc.

*Court reporter Shannon Tonkin has the story.

6.46am Don't forget the Towradgi Beach Hotel Beer, Food & Wine festival is on this Sunday. So many delicious things in one place!

6.44am TV NEWS: The cast of Saved By The Bell have reunited on Jimmy Fallon's Tonight show for a hilarious skit. Well, except Screech - he's far too busy stabbing people in bar fights. Allegedly.

6.42am NATIONAL: Unemployment is the biggest threat to radicalisation in Australia, senior Muslim leaders have warned, and bored teens are joining terror group Islamic State simply to have something to do.

6.40am Ah baby names, the ire of many parents. In 2015, it's set to be all about military names, royal names & natural names i.e. River, Sage, Rain. Read more.

6.38am A little funny for your Friday morning...

6.36am MUSIC NEWS: Tim Farriss says he is overwhelmed by the support he has received since his accident. The INXS guitarist severed a finger on Australia Day after catching his hand in an electric anchor winch while working on a boat. He may never play guitar again.

6.34am LOCAL NEWS: The mother of a Berkeley toddler who died from untreated head and stomach injuries blamed his older sister for a series of bruises discovered on the boy's body during a post-mortem examination.

*Court reporter Shannon Tonkin has the story.

6.32am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Kim Kardashian posted this ADORABLE picture of North West in a tutu playing the piano yesterday. So cute.

6.30am Have you been snapped out & about in the Illawarra? Check out this week's social photos - you never know who you might spot!

6.28am Looks like small bar The Little Prince is launching a new menu. Anyone for crab toasts?! Yum.

6.26am Don't forget the sunset cinema is on tonight at the Wollongong Botanic Gardens. Fingers crossed the rain stays away!

6.24am NSW: A former police officer who had sex with a woman and allowed her to handle his gun at a police station has been sentenced to 20 months' imprisonment but is being assessed for an intensive correction order.

6.22am Ah sugar - so sweet, yet so bad for you. Here's five ways to reduce sugar in your diet with some easy swaps. No more dried fruit!

6.20am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Johnny Depp & Amber Heard have reportedly married. The couple tied the knot yesterday in LA & will celebrate this weekend.

6.18am LOCAL NEWS: North Wollongong Hotel has landed itself in hot water after its advertising promoting DJ act Starf---ers drew complaints.

The troublesome ad.

The troublesome ad.

*We've got the full story here.

6.16am BREAKING: Parts of the University of South Carolina, in the US, are reportedly in lock down after a shooting.

6.14am The Merc office was abuzz yesterday with news that Uber was delivering kittens, yes KITTENS, to workplaces. For $40, Uber will drop the kitties off & let you play with them for 15 minutes. I WANT ALL THE KITTENS.

6.12am TV NEWS: Over four seasons of Glee, Dot-Marie Jones has played tomboy football coach Shannon Beiste. But when Coach Beiste returns to the musical television show on February 13, she'll become the first regular transgender character to feature on Glee. You go Glee!

6.10am WORLD NEWS: Pope Francis has ordered Roman Catholic bishops around the world to co-operate as a matter of priority with a commission he set up to protect children from sexual abuse by clerics, even if it unearths new scandals. Read more.

6.08am CELEB NEWS: Family and friends are reportedly saying goodbye to Bobbi Kristina, Whitney Houston's daughter, amid fears she will not recover. Bobbi was found unconscious in a bath tub earlier this week.

6.06am And in national news, via the SMH:

*Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull directly confronted Prime Minister Tony Abbott in a crunch meeting about the government's woes before Wednesday's cabinet meeting.

*A sick prisoner whom Andrew Chan cradled in his arms minutes after learning he had lost his clemency plea has offered to die in the place of the man once described as the godfather of the Bali Nine.

*Families in NSW are abandoning public schools in favour of private education, with new figures showing a 10 per cent surge in non-government school enrolments as public school enrolments stagnate.

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

*There was overwhelming support for Humber’s bar licence from police, the council, community and even the state’s top liquor bureaucrat at a public forum to debate the venue’s merits on Thursday. Read more.

*Key development land in Crown Lane has been put on the market, continuing the city’s revitalisation around GPT’s $200 million Wollongong Central shopping centre.

*Kiama MP Gareth Ward has declared Shellharbour City Council "dysfunctional" and "out of control" after the council this week voted to hold a referendum on having a popularly elected mayor and increase the number of councillors.

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

WEATHER We're in for a partly cloudy day with a top of 23 degrees. Tomorrow will be fairly similar with a top of 25 degrees but Sunday is set to be sunny & 28 degrees, yay!

TRAFFIC All good on our roads & for the drive to Sydney.

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

6am Good morning Illawarra! Happy Friday & TGIF. Cannot wait for the weekend! Stay with your host, Emma Spillett, this morning for all the latest news etc.


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