Hunter roads: All Hunter roads are clear this morning.
Hunter trains: There is a good service on the Hunter line and delays on the Central Coast and Newcastle line. Trains travelling towards the city are not stopping at Redfern Station due to infrastructure repairs at Redfern. Passengers should change at Strathfield or Central for a train to Redfern. Passengers should allow extra time listen to announcements and check indicator boards.
Hunter weather: Cloudy and a very high chance of showers in Newcastle (25 degrees), Raymond Terrace is in for a cloudy day with showers (24 degrees), cloudy day for Maitland with showers (28 degrees) and a cloudy day with a high chance of showers in Scone (31 degrees).
Hunter beachwatch: There’ll be no improvement in beach conditions today with more onshore winds and rain on the agenda. The wind will be north-east with the swell from the east around 1 to .15 metres. Like yesterday most breaks will be quite choppy with the northern protected corners the only spots worth checking. In the city try Newcastle, South Bar and Redhead. Further south try North Catho and Soldiers. At Port Stephens try Samurai and Birubi. Most beaches will have sweeps to the south and there will be some heavy edges so be extra careful if swimming. The water temperature is 21 degrees.
► LYNDA Garlinge spent nearly 10 years dealing with severe and disabling complications after surgery for incontinence in 2004, without knowing she had been implanted with mesh. More here.
► BALLINA might have gained a reputation as the state’s shark capital, but a trial of aerial surveillance drones has found more large sharks off Redhead beach than any other part of NSW. More here.
► A TRUCK driver who hit and killed a cyclist at Wallsend in 2013 has been released on parole more than nine months ahead of schedule after the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal found the terminal illness of a close family member constituted “truly exceptional circumstances”. More here.
► 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. More here.
► KNIGHTS coach Nathan Brown is in no rush to include Anthony Tupou in his squad, saying it will be a case of quality not quantity for the former Test forward. More here.
► ROGILLA and Luskin Star beat Choisir to the line to join jockeys Robert Thompson and Wayne Harris, trainers Paul Perry and Max Lees and associates Alf Ellison and Billy Hill in the inaugural Newcastle and Hunter Racing Hall of Fame on Wednesday night. More here.
► A MAN accused of causing the death of his brother in a crash at East Gresford told police his brother had distracted him and pulled the handbrake in the moments before the crash, according to court documents. More here.
► A MINE site auction featuring more than $8m worth of equipment is currently underway at the former Drayton location. More here.
► A NEWCASTLE-BASED syndicate has purchased the Maryland Shopping Centre and has promised it has “big things” in the pipeline for the retail hub. More here.
► A man has been extradited to Maitland from South Australia over alleged sexual assault offences dating back to the 1970s. More here.
► It’s funny how one mystery can lead to another. As devoted readers would know, we’ve been writing about the Tasmanian tiger in recent weeks. More here.
► A 19-year-old has admitted to using a stolen credit card to try and buy Gatorade from a Beresfield business. More here.
► Maitland councillors are reeling after learning that the September local government election is likely to cost almost $500,000. More here.
► LOCALS who come across dead rabbits are being urged to report them via the national RabbitScan portal, as authorities assess the effectiveness of a new strain of calicivirus. More here.
► A rally will be held outside Maitland Hospital on Thursday to send a strong message to the state government about the new hospital. More here.
► LAKE Macquarie mayor Kay Fraser has offered support for the “Our Knights, One Chance” model of community ownership for the embattled NRL franchise. More here.
► AN exciting new development on the Raymond Terrace riverfront may be the spark that reinvigorates King Street. More here.
► STORMS and housing developments across the Tomaree Peninsula have slowly eaten into the Port koala population’s food tree supplies. More here.
► Port Stephens MP Kate Washington has challenged the mayor Bruce MacKenzie to fix his own roads before he commits ratepayers to fixing Dungog’s pot holes. More here.
State of the nation
Need a national news snapshot first thing - well, we have you covered.
Police raided eight homes at Unanderra, Warrawong, Warilla, Corrimal, Port Kembla and Cringila about 8.30am on Wednesday.
Seven kilograms of MDMA, ice, cannabis, cocaine and heroin were seized during the searches. Read more
►SA: South Australian Irrigators will receive the full 100 per cent water allocation for 2017/18, thanks to the highest flows in the River Murray for 23 years.
The opening 100 per cent allocation follows high rainfall in spring and the state’s wettest summer since 1937.
It means South Australia is now expected to receive its full State Entitlement Flow of 1,850 gigalitres. Read more
►QLD: New technology described as a “fitbit for a cow combined with a virtual fence” will hit the market later this year, taking grazing to a whole new level.
Ian Reilly, chief executive officer of Agersens, said the Livestock Virtual Shepherd involved the grazier using their phone or table to create a fence from a grazing program, and moving the fence or stock from that device. Read more
►VIC: A band of residents and business owners from rural towns across Victoria are demanding a ban on duck hunting, a move they say would protect the animals and safeguard tourism to their regions.
Dozens of people with property and businesses backing on to popular hunting sites have joined new group Regional Victorians Opposed to Duck Shooting in the last fortnight. Read more
The AMC is in the process of engaging with the Tasmanian government to develop a state-wide defence strategy that could feed into the national industry. Read on
►NSW: In late summer and early autumn the processionary caterpillar has been known to horrify the odd gardener on the New South Wales Mid North Coast.
They travel in long lines of hundreds or more in search of food or a suitable place to begin the transformation into their adult form: the bag-shelter moth (Ochrogaster lunifer). Read more
►Labor leader Bill Shorten distanced himself from the newly minted ACTU leader Sally McManus after the union boss condoned breaking laws she sees as "unjust."
Ms McManus was endorsed as the ACTU's first female secretary on Wednesday. In her first major interview, Ms McManus was asked if she would distance herself from the CFMEU union, which its critics describe as militant.
"There's no way we'll be doing that," Ms McManus told the ABC's 730 program. Read more
►A delegation of Australians has travelled to India to confront Gautam Adani over the proposed Carmichael coal mine, urging the business tycoon to abandon the project and protect the environment.
The group - comprised of businessman, conservationist and former Howard government adviser Geoff Cousins and three other campaigners - will also deliver a letter signed by 90 prominent Australians. Read more
National weather radar
What’s coming you way …
►SPAIN: Spanish police have seized more than 10,000 weapons of war, including assault rifles, anti-aircraft machine guns, shells and grenades, destined for criminal and terrorist groups in Europe.
The massive haul was seized by Spanish National Police with help from Europol in January, but its scale was only announced on Tuesday (local time) because of the time it took to compile a complete inventory, a police statement said. Read more
►GENEVA: The Turnbull government has refused to back an international investigation into atrocities against Rohingya Muslims despite a motion passed in the Senate urging Australia to call for a United Nations commission of inquiry.
Australia's statement at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva called for Myanmar to conduct its own investigation with international help into what the UN says could amount to ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity in the country's western Rakhine state, home to more than one million Rohingya. Read more
On this day
The faces of Australia: Mel Wells
Mel Wells has given her two friends the ultimate gift.
The Northern Tasmanian woman gave birth to a baby boy she carried for a same-sex male couple from Sydney.
Ms Wells, a first-time surrogate, was a self-proclaimed “oven” for the baby, conceived with an embryo from a Melbourne donor through IVF.
She laughed that the situation was the epitome of a modern family. Read more