Hunter roads: There are scheduled road works at McFarlane Street Bridge in Cessnock. Motorists are advised to use diversions and allow extra time. All other roads are clear.
Hunter trains: There is a good service on the Central Coast and Newcastle line and the Hunter line.
Hunter weather: Cloudy with showers in Newcastle (23 degrees), showers with a possible thunderstorm in Raymond Terrace (23 degrees), cloudy day in Maitland with showers and a possible thunderstorm (26 degrees) and a cloudy day in Scone with afternoon showers (29 degrees).
Hunter beachwatch by Dave Anderson: Fresh onshore winds with a rising swell.Conditions to be messy but there is a big morning high tide. Swell swinging back to the South to S/E inceasing 1 to 2m.Wind tending S/E to East by the afternoon. Check the southern facing breaks at Merewether and Nobbys.Tide right for Flatrock early.Smaller breaks in the corners of Stockton and One Mile.Blacksmiths and Catho to the south. Careful if in for a swim as sweeps to develop to the north.Choose a patrolled beach if going in.Water temp 20C.
► OPAL Everett is only five years old, but has been preparing for school for more than two years. Her older sister, Hannah, said Opal regularly copied her siblings by sitting at her own desk with books and a row of pens and telling her family she was doing her maths or English homework. More here.
► Between November 2016 and January 2017, there have been five bushfires in the Coalfields area. More here.
► LIFE is a beach. Gumboots on, floodlights blaring as waves lap the shore – they are the tireless tradies working through the night to give new life to Newcastle Beach. More here.
► A “FIRST of its kind” social inclusion program trialed in the Hunter is having a “profound effect” on the lives of people with disabilities, Urbis analysts say. More here.
► JOEL Parkinson will revive his love affair with Surfest next month and join the likes of six-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore and 2016 winner Sally Fitzgibbons as headline acts at Merewether. More here.
► THE Hunter’s hot dry summer is taking its toll on the region’s water supplies. More here.
► CONSTRUCTION crews will descend on Honeysuckle next week as work to strengthen part of the harbourside seawall begins. More here.
► POLICE are appealing for help to find a man who disappeared from Morisset with his three-month-old daughter on Sunday afternoon. More here.
► Newcastle Jets striker Morten Nordstrand has received a medical clearance to return in Friday’s A-League game against Melbourne City at Coffs Harbour. More here.
► A MOTORBIKE rider has died and another is injured after a crash on The Bucketts Way near Stroud. More here.
► A Weston man has been charged with arson in relation to a fire that raged out of control and threatened properties at Kurri Kurri on Tuesday. More here.
► Double demerits are will be in effect from Wednesday until Sunday, with drivers to face extra penalties for speeding, seatbelt, mobile phone and motorcycle helmet offences. More here.
► Residents of Tenambit disability support service ACCnet21 have been left house-bound after the service’s wheelchair-accessible van was torched in the driveway. More here.
► Rio Tinto has agreed to sell two major Australian coal mining assets to Chinese controlled miner Yancoal for $US2.45 billion ($3.2 billion), under a deal that all but completes the company's exit from power generation coal. More here.
► Maitland will have a regular local produce market on The Levee with plans to start the sale next month. More here.
► Kurri Kurri woman Jillian Loux couldn’t believe her luck when she returned from holidays on Monday evening. More here.
► The Wollombi School Community Education Trust (WSCET) will direct its appeals to keep the school site in public hands to the state’s new deputy premier John Barilaro. More here.
► The Vacy community has rallied around a family whose Summerhill Road home was gutted by fire. More here.
► MUSWELLBROOK Butcher Dyson Lea is a cut above the rest. The Chop Shop Butchery employee walked away from a recent Australian Meat Industry Council Apprentice of the Year competition as the NSW runner up. More here.
► Lower Hunter firefighters responded to a grass fire that broke out at Main Creek, near Dungog on Monday night. More here.
► THE New South Wales racing Industry is mourning today following the sudden passing of Scone Race Club chairman Noel Leckie. More here.
► MOTORISTS are advised Kayuga Bridge across the Hunter River at Muswellbrook will be closed to traffic for up to five days early next month. More here.
► Dangerous weather conditions with high temperatures and gusty winds saw firefighters using all their available 'tools' to control a grass fire at Camberwell. More here.
State of the nation
Need a national news snapshot first thing – well, we have you covered.
► The 2017 Australian of the Year Awards will be announced on Wednesday, January 25, in The Great Hall of Parliament House in Canberra.
► KURRI KURRI, NSW: A local man accused of lighting a blaze which threatened scores of his neighbours’ properties on Tuesday has also been grilled over similar blazes which have been sparked within a few hundred metres of his home.
The Weston man, 26, was arrested near the scene of the latest blaze after exhausted firefighters and fed-up police raced to the third inferno to be deliberately-lit during extreme weather conditions in Kurri Kurri bushland in less than a week. Read more.
► TAS: Seven Tasmanian children in out-of-home care were subject to substantiated sexual, physical or emotional abuse in 2015-16.
The figure was detailed in the Productivity Commission’s comprehensive report on government services, released on Tuesday.
The report also detailed less spending by each notification, investigation and substantiation case by the Liberal government in 2015-16, compared to the previous Labor government, although noted a change in calculating methodology due to reduced overheads and internal restructuring within the department. Read more.
► KEMPSEY, NSW: Iris Wu has been waiting a long time for the day she will join 11 other Macleay Valley residents to officially become an Australian citizen.
Kempsey Shire Mayor Liz Campbell will conduct the formal ceremony on Australia Day Eve, January 25, at the Slim Dusty Centre in South Kempsey.
Mrs Wu said she took the citizenship test in August 2016, achieving a score of 100, before waiting another three months to find out she would receive her citizenship. Read more.
► BALLARAT, VIC: A new digital technologies curriculum will begin in most Ballarat schools this year.
It will use computer coding, combined with critical thinking, to help students unravel problems and then design and generate digital solutions.
This will include students being taught how computers work, how they are built and how to create code.
However, 50 per cent of the curriculum can also be taught without using a computer, or via “unplugged learning”. Read more.
► WA: The National party has raised the possibility of building a fast train between Mandurah to Bunbury, in an effort to provide better public transport in the regions, but they have stopped short of making the idea an election commitment.
The Nationals WA candidate for Bunbury James Hayward said he would throw his in-principle support behind the development of a Perth to Bunbury fast-train link after Nationals WA leader Brendon Grylls attempted to reinvigorate the idea last Wednesday.
The plan, which was first proposed almost a decade ago, had languished on the drawing board after the Public Transport Authority said it was not a priority, even though spending $1 million planning the route. Read more.
► NARROMINE, NSW: Something struck home for artist Lottie Rae when she read an article about suicide amongst rural men in Australia.
Miss Rae grew up on a farm in Narromine and she now lives on a property in Gin Gin, she found it shocking how many farmers take their own lives.
The painter decided to create an artwork representing theses feelings, and when she received an overwhelming response on social media, she auctioned it off to raise money for mental ill health awareness. Read more
Photo spotlight – Australian Open Day 8
Click on the photo for more images from the Australian Open
► TRADE: Former Foreign Minister Alexander Downer is pressing the possibility of subbing Indonesia or China into the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) now President Donald Trump has withdrawn the United States from the trade deal.
But the Trade Minister Steve Ciobo is stressing Australia's bilateral trade deals and touting the likelihood of the deal going ahead without the United States - the so-called 12 minus one option.
Mr Downer spent most of Tuesday at 11 Downing Street for talks with the Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond and Treasurer Scott Morrison who is in London and Frankfurt this week for talks. Read more.
► PENALTY RATES: Labor is preparing to fire a fresh salvo in the political fight over penalty rates, ahead of a long-awaited decision from the Fair Work Commission on whether to cut Sunday penalties.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten will promise in a speech on Wednesday evening that if the commission decides to reduce Sunday overtime - a move that could affect nearly 800,000 people in the retail and hospital industry - Labor will move to change the law to protect workers' take-home pay.
Mr Shorten's promise stops short of the Greens' pledge, during the 2016 election, to put a floor under penalty rates but enshrines in law workers' overall take-home wage. Read more.
National weather radar
On this day
1980 – Mother Teresa is honored with India's highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna
1996 – Billy Bailey becomes the last person to be hanged in the USA.
1998 – During a historic visit to Cuba, Pope John Paul II demands political reforms and the release of political prisoners while condemning US attempts to isolate the country.
1999 – A 6.0 Richter scale earthquake hits western Colombia killing at least 1,000.
2011 – The first wave of the Egyptian revolution begins in Egypt, with a series of street demonstrations, marches, rallies, acts of civil disobedience, riots, labour strikes, and violent clashes in Cairo, Alexandria, and throughout other cities in Egypt.
► Bail: Byron Bay murder suspect Sara Connor has claimed she didn't report a vicious fight on Kuta beach to police because she didn't want the officer involved to get into trouble.
Ms Connor and her British DJ boyfriend David Taylor are both facing charges of murder, fatal group assault or assault leading to death after Balinese police officer Wayan Sudarsa's battered corpse was found on Kuta beach on August 17 last year.
Speaking outside her murder trial in the Denpasar District Court on Tuesday, Ms Connor insisted she never knew the police officer was seriously hurt after a fight with her boyfriend.
► London: Britain's highest court has ruled that Parliament – not the government – must fire the starting gun for Brexit.
The decision means both houses of Parliament will have the chance to debate, and potentially even block, the triggering of the 'Article 50' clause in the European Union constitution that starts Britain's withdrawal.
Prime Minister Theresa May has said she wants to trigger Article 50 by the end of March, so negotiations over the terms of Brexit can begin. Read more.
Faces of Australia: Zac Sheehan
It has taken almost 12 months, but Bendigo’s Zac Sheehan finally has his baggy green cap for representing Australia in last year’s Blind Ashes Series.
Sheehan was part of the Australian team that was beaten 5-2 by England in the Blind Ashes Series early last year, but due to a glitch there were no baggy greens available for the Aussies to wear.
However, the wait has been well worth it for 19-year-old Sheehan, with his prized baggy green recently arriving in the mail. Read more