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

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8.30am That’s it from us this morning. Have a fantastic Wednesday. See you tomorrow!

8.24am WORLD NEWS:A South Carolina judge has sentenced fugitive mother Dorothy Barnett, who kidnapped her baby daughter two decades ago and lived a secret life in Australia, to 21 months’ jail. Read more.

8.22am Arrrrr look at this baby seal, oh so cute!

Post by seal.

8.12am Mark Feb 22 at 5pm in your diaries – it’s the last Hawks home game.

8.10am The team over at Three Chimneys have been baking again – this time, they’ve whipped up some yummy coffee cream & walnut scones.

three8.08am BREAKING:Two men have reportedly been arrested in Sydney in connection with an alleged beheading plot.

8.06am Port Fairy in Victoria has been dubbed Australia’s most liveable town.

Port Fairy, Victoria

8.04am TV NEWS: Have you been watching MKR? Canberra mum & daughter Gina & Anna made some SHOCKING food & were eliminated. If you missed it, here’s a recap.

8.02am LOCAL NEWS:Four Illawarra companies are among those interested in removing the defunct Oceanlinx wave generator off the coast of the coal-loader at Port Kembla.

*Reporter Glen Humphries has the story.

8am CELEB NEWS:IsHome and Awaystar Steve Peacocke poised to follow in Chris Hemsworth’s footsteps?Peacockehas been cast in a new film based on the bookTaliban Shuffle.It also stars Tina Fey & Margot Robbie.Nice!

7.58am Good morning! Welcome if you’re just tuning in.Today, we’re in for another partly cloudy day with a slight chance of a shower this morning. Expect a top of 26 degrees. All good on the roads & rail.

7.56am TRAFFIC UPDATE -Unanderra:All eastboundlanes have reopened on Five Islands Rd,approaching the F6,after that earlier accident.

UNANDERRA: All e/b lanes have reopened on Five Islands Rd approaching the #M1PrincesMwy following an accident.

— Live Traffic NSW (@LiveTrafficNSW) February 10, 2015Pitch Perfect. The sequel is set to hit theatres in May. Can’t wait!

7.46am Austinmer Rock Pool is set to close again on Monday for further repair work. The pool is expected to re-open on Feb 23.

7.44am TRAFFIC ALERT – Unanderra:a two-car accident is blocking two lanes eastbound on Five Islands Rd approaching the F6.Expect delays.

UNANDERRA: A 2 car accident is blocking 2 lanes e/b on Five Islands Rd approaching the #M1PrincesMwy. Expect delays.

— Live Traffic NSW (@LiveTrafficNSW) February 10, 2015Taken 3 on Thursday night.

7.34am Haha this is too good – this dog is just catching up before the release of 50 Shades of Grey this week…

507.32am EDUCATION:As the Abbott government hopes to get its controversial higher education reforms through to the upper house, the Senate could be looking for an alternative. Debate on the legislation to deregulate university fees will continue in the lower house today. (AAP)

7.30am Okay, time for a game of “anywhere but here”. Today I’d rather be winning some $$$ at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. Sigh.

Sweet Charity is coming to the IPAC. It’s on from March 11-15.

7.26am HEALTH:Damage to the brain’s outer layer caused by smoking may be reversible after quitting, but it could take years,a study says.

7.24am ARRRRR TINY HAMSTER IS BACK! You remember him – the little guy that eats little tacos and pizza!? Well he went on a tiny Valentine’s Date. OMG I AM DYING….

Post by hamster.

7.22am Today is a sad day for ice-cream -Aussie icon Dairy Bell will close its factory doors by the end of the month. 🙁

7.20am Good news for Eurovision tragics – Australia is joining the Eurovision Song Contest. YES!!!!!!!! Who cares that it’s not in Europe!?

Australia is joining the Eurovision Song Contest. We know it’s not in Europe. We don’t care. http://t.co/jwI46MPhU1pic.twitter苏州美甲美睫培训学校/wjrnwXAjl3

— Digital Spy (@digitalspy) February 10, 2015Post by wyatt.

7.14am POLITICS:Tony Abbott needs to let his ministers do more talking and better understand his opponents’ perspectives if he is trulyto reset his leadership, negotiation experts say. Read more.

7.12am Don’t forget there is HEAPS of solid music theatre opening in the region this week – Evita at Roo Theatre, Once A Catholic at the Phoenix and A FairyGrimm Cabaret at Workshop Theatre. Phew!

7.10am Happy birthday Jennifer Aniston! The actress turns 46 today. Happy birthday to other Feb 11 babies too.

Post by jen.

7.08am LOCAL SPORT:FootballSouth Coast announced the opening of the region’s first Girls Football Academy on Monday. Very cool.

7.06am TV NEWS:Breaking Badspin-offBetter Call Saulhas broken a ratings record.The highly-anticipated drama drew an audience of 6.9 million during itslaunch on Sunday in the US – that makes it cable television’s highest-rating debut in the 18-49 demographic. Sheesh!

7.04am POLITICS:Independent senatorJacqui Lambie is threatening to introduce a private senator’s bill to stop what she believes is “halal money” funding terrorist group Islamic State. Read more.

7.02am CELEB NEWS: Hundreds have flocked to a candlelight vigil for Bobbi Kristina Brown, Whitney Houston’s daughter.

Post by bobbi.

7am If you missed this yarnby the talented Bri Parkins over the weekend, grab a cuppa and read it now – we love small bars!

6.58am Good morning! Welcome if you’re just tuning in.Today, we’re in for another partly cloudy day with a slight chance of a shower this morning. Expect a top of 26 degrees. All good on the roads & rail.

6.56am Awww look at this little goat. CUTE!

Post by goat.

6.54am Finally, the truth is out there – women ARE better drivers than men. Well at least in NSW. And probably not me because I really am a HOPELESS driver. Here’s the story:figures released by the Roads Minister Duncan Gay show female drivers in NSW are benefiting at an outsize rate from a scheme that gives discounts to motorists with unblemished driving records.

6.52am Don’t forget this Saturday is Valentine’s Day. Oooo.

6.50am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Garbage singer Shirley Manson has hit out at Kanye’s Grammys rant re Beck v Beyonce, stating:”You make yourself look small and petty and spoilt… I am pretty certain Beyoncédoesn’t need you fighting any battles on her account. Seems like she’s got everything covered perfectly well on her own.” Ouch! #kanyevhollywood #ohkanye

Post by kanye.

6.48amNSW: Some commercialdivers in Newcastle havevideoed a HUGE shark under their boat as they prepared to enter the water. Freaky!

6.46am Want to win a family pass to the Pixar Film Festival on Feb 21 @ Greater Union Shellharbour? We’ve got some to give away. Enter here.

6.44am In some weeeirrdnews this morning, convicted killer Charles Manson and his 27-year-old fiancee have called off their wedding. Because … she was only marrying him to SECURE THE RIGHTS TO HIS CORPSE. WHA!?

Post by manson.

6.42amQantas Airwaysfrequent flyers will be allowed to bid for upgrades to any empty business class seats a week before they fly, in an initiative designed to increase loyalty to the ­airline and boost revenue.

6.40am SYDNEY:A Sydney GP has been found incompetent to practise medicine because he has a narcissistic personality disorder, which impairs his ability to relate to, diagnose and treat patients. Read more.

6.38am O-Week is coming! And to celebrate, His Boy Elroy is hosting 99c wings on Wednesday night, $5 hot dogs on Thursday night & cheap drinks over the weekend. Nice!

Post by oweek.

6.36am LOCAL NEWS:The imminent arrival of the Qantas 747-400 has been the major focus for HARSin recent months, but another new addition will take centre stage this week -a former Royal Australian Air Force Mirage.

*Reporter Alex Arnold has the story.

6.34am TV NEWS: in what can only be described as perfect casting (pun completely intended), Eddie Perfect has joined the cast of Play School.

Eddie Perfect.

6.32am People, a diary date: local historical documentary Pig Iron Bob will screen at the Wollongong Town Hall on March 21.

6.30am WORLD NEWS:US President Barack Obama has confirmed the death of Kayla Mueller, a US aid worker who had been held hostage by Islamic State militants, saying the US would “find and bring to justice the terrorists who are responsible”.

Kayla Mueller. Photo: AFP/Mueller family

6.28am POLITICS:So big is the hit to the budget from commodity prices and the measures held up in the Senate it may “never get back to surplus”, Treasurer Joe Hockey has told the Coalition party room. Ouch. Read more.

6.26am Awww, does anyone else have a puppy that has THIS face?!

Post by dog.

6.24am MOVIE NEWS: Okay, so 50 Shades of Grey opens in theatres tomorrow. Will you be going to see it? I’m not keen – I feel like it’s come WAAAY too late after the “buzz” of the books. Thoughts?

6.22am Have you been snapped out & about in the Illawarra? Check out this week’s social pics – you never know who you might spot.

6.20am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Got a spare $3.88 mil? Excellent – you could snap up this pad from Scarlett Johansoon who just bought this LA home.

Post by la.

6.18am NATIONAL:Australian households are paying far more than people in comparable countries in electricity network charges, with huge discrepancies across different states, a new report has found. Read more.

6.16am LOCAL NEWS:A Sydney truck driver has been slapped with a hefty fine for sending an offensive religious text message to a North Wollongong woman.

*Reporter Bree Fuller has the story.

6.14am STRANGE BUT TRUE: I had to share this with you – I bought a robot vac awhile back and let me tell you, I eyed that thing off last night after reading this story. I don’t even know how this happens!?

Post by vac.

6.12am WORLD NEWS:South Africa has marked 25years since the day Nelson Mandela was released from prison.

South Africa has marked 25-years since the day Nelson Mandela was released from prison. #9Newspic.twitter苏州美甲美睫培训学校/zk4tEmA9nL

— Nine News Australia (@9NewsAUS) February 10, 2015Bachelor winner Anna Heinrich had been in the jungle for just one day before she started wailing on I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Outta Here. Missed last night’s ep? Here’s a recap.

6.08am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Rumours are circling that Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt are planning on adopting again. This time, a little boy from Syria.

Post by brang.

6.06am And in national news, via the SMH:

*A manpolice suspect was a mastermind of the Bali Nine drug importation is living a life of luxury in Sydney while two junior members of his syndicate, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, await the firing squad in Bali.

*A young woman has been shot dead by a police officer outside a western Sydney fast food restaurant. Read more.

*One of Georgina Bartter’s closest friends has been charged with supplying the ecstasy that led to the Sydney teen’s death at a music festival last year.

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

*A Thirroul couple whose car was wiped out by a 30-centimetre piece of falling rock as they drove up Bulli Pass say they are lucky to be alive.

*A Wollongong man who threatened to shoot and slit the throat of a child witness in a court case against him has been jailed for a minimum six months.

*University of Wollongong researchers have struck gold in their search for a more effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. Read more.

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

WEATHERMan alive, it was muggy overnight. Today, we’re in for another partly cloudy day with a slight chance of a shower this morning. Expect a top of 26 degrees.

TRAFFICAll looks good for your morning commute around town & to Sydney or south.

TRAINSThere is a good service on the South Coast line.

6am Good morning! It’s Wednesday, happy hump day. Middle of the working week already, roll on the weekend!

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