That’s all for today. Enjoy your weekend and please join us again on Monday from 7.00AM.
►Moss Vale High’s best swimmers competed at the Zone Swimming Championships on February 23.
The championships were held at the Queanbeyan Swimming Centre.
It was the largest team that Moss Vale High School had taken to the championships to date and there were some fantastic performances across the board.
►The Mittagong Lions will attack the new season with an international force.
The Lions have signed Glaswegian centre Scott Plumridge with first grade for 2017. More here.
►Bring your magic tricks, music acts, drama skits and secret talents to the stage at the Moss Vale Show.
The inaugural Moss Vale’s Got Talent competition is here, and all ages and talents are welcome.
The Magic Jester Shayne Richards has come on board to help coordinate the talent quest.
►Follow the story of nine-year-old Dutch boy Thomas, who sees things no one else can see.
Oxley College’s senior production for 2017 is The Book Of Everything, an adaptation of Guus Kuijer’s book of the same name.
►Most people have an opinion on politics, but whether they choose to share it or not is another story.
For years, Cathy Wilcox has enjoyed a successful career sharing critiques of the Australian political scene with cartoons printed in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
She has won two Walkley Awards and national prizes for her work, and has also won the Australian Children’s Book Council ‘Picture Book of the Year’ award twice. More here.
►Take care on the roads as flash flooding causes Highlands roads to close. More here.
TRAFFIC: The road is closed in both directions at Robertson on the Illawarra Highway between Jamberoo Mountain Road and Broughton Avenue. Allow extra travel time or delay journey. Motorists are reminded not to drive through flood waters.
TRAINS: Commuters can expect a good service on the Southern Highlands today.
WEATHER: A cloudy day with a high (80%) chance of showers, most likely this morning and evening, winds S 25 to 40 km/h increasing to 35 to 50 km/h early in the morning then decreasing to 25 to 40 km/h in the middle of the day and a daytime maximum temperature of 18 can be expected in the Highlands today.
Here's a look at what the local weather is doing right now:
7.00AM: Good morning and welcome to the Southern Highlands Rise and Shine. Over the next few hours we will be bringing you as much information as possible from across the Southern Highlands and nationally.
Weather, road conditions, breaking news, we will have it all - and we'd love to have your help! If there's anything happening in your part of the world, drop us a line! Email firstname.lastname@example.org
St Patrick’s Day
Leprechaun hats, ginger beards and pints of Guinness will be the staples as people take to the streets to celebrate St Patrick’s Day.
To keep with the theme, we’ve whipped together a quiz that will test your Irish knowledge.
State of the nation
Need a national news snapshot first thing - well, we have you covered.
►SA: Relations between the Commonwealth and South Australia have turned toxic after an angry row between the the federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg and the state's Labor Premier, Jay Weatherill, played out on live television.
In bizarre scenes, the two figures stood shoulder-to-shoulder as they exchanged claims of hypocrisy, panic, and abject failure in the increasingly fraught energy policy debate. Read more
►WA: Horrified parents at a religious school south of Perth are threatening to pull their children out after learning a convicted child sex offender and an accused child rapist were among the students.
The two boys, aged 17 and 12, are accused of separate child rapes - with teachers, students and parents unaware of their alleged offences until the details began to spread on social media on Tuesday. Read more
►VIC: The Great Moscow Circus has cancelled its Ballarat tour, just days after the show visited Bendigo.
Ticket holders were left in limbo after performers were told at the last minute that last night’s opening show would not go ahead at the Ballarat showgrounds.
The show had been in Bendigo from March 2 to March 12 and was due to run for five days in Ballarat.
The Great Moscow Circus said “very soft ticket sales” were the reason for cancelling its tour in Ballarat in a Facebook post on the Ballarat event page. Read more
►TAS: Respected economist Saul Eslake believes three key issues are impacting Tasmania’s economic health: education, jobs, and healthcare, with education leading.
►NSW: A Riverina councillor has landed himself in hot water after he likened a young disabled boy to a “drunken Japanese tourist” in an embarrassing social media gaffe.
Bland Shire Councillor Murray Thomas has faced severe community backlash after his comments, with some community members calling for his immediate resignation. Read more
The Korean man, aged in his 40s, tried to drive his removalist truck through flood waters south of Miles about 11pm on Wednesday, when his vehicle became trapped. Read on
►NEWCASTLE: A Proposal to redraw the Supercars track has been rejected by race organisers, who say Newcastle council’s request is too late in the piece and unlikely to ever happen.
Supercars Australia was forced to defend the track on Wednesday, after Labor councillors backflipped on the agreed route the night before, deciding the council would reverse its support for the politically sensitive East End track and push for the race to run along Shortland Esplanade. Read more
►The federal government will increase its stake in the Snowy Hydro if NSW and Victoria refuse to help finance Malcolm Turnbull's ambitious expansion plan.
The Prime Minister says his government is prepared to go it alone and put up equity to fund the "game changing" $2 billion development, increasing the Commonwealth's current approximate shareholding of $800 million, or 13 per cent of the asset. Read more
►Confidence in the housing market has collapsed, with the number of Australians describing property as the wisest place to put their savings falling to its lowest level in more than 40 years.
The Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research has been asking about the wisest place to store savings since it began its consumer confidence survey in 1974. Read more
National weather radar
What’s coming you way …
►JERUSALEM: Progressive, left-leaning Westerners travel to Palestine to identify with the struggle and get an authentic "occupation experience". British artist Banksy's new "Walled Off Hotel" offering a view of the West Bank barrier wall in Bethlehem is the latest example of this trend.
Although these two tourism streams appeal to entirely disparate markets, they both rely on the idea of a static, mythical Palestine, not a living place inhabited by real human beings. Read more
►LONDON: Rupert Murdoch's $18.7 billion bid to takeover Sky News in the UK has been referred to the media regulator, with the Tory government citing concerns about "broadcasting standards" and "media plurality."
Ofcom, Britain's media regulator, will spend the next forty working days investigating whether the media mogul is a "fit and proper" person to acquire total ownership of Sky and if the takeover will further shrink Britain's news media offerings, with a report due on May 16. Read more
On this day
The faces of Australia: Ella Ebery
Believed to be Victoria’s oldest citizen with an active driver’s licence, 101-year-old Ella Ebery has defied the limits of age.
“When you get to my age, you have to try to be active in a small country town. If you cannot drive, you’re housebound,” the St Arnaud resident said.
“Being housebound is the biggest imposition anyone could put on me.”
She sat her licence renewal test three weeks ago and passed. Read more