Morning Shot: @aglobewelltravelled/Instagram
Nanjing Night Net

Weather: Rain increasing and a storm likely in Newcastle (26 degrees), Nelson Bay, Toronto (both 28 degrees), Wallsend andRaymond Terrace (both 29 degrees).

Trains: Passengers are urged to allow extra travel time heading to Sydney due to signal repairs at Berowra. Good service on the Hunter line.

Traffic: Traffic lights are flashing yellow at the intersection of the New England Highway and High Street at East Maitland.

Beachwatch:Cooler on the coast with rain,onshore winds and choppy surf conditions.Swell shifting to the South and increasing to 1 to 1.5m during the morning. Wind moderate south to southeast.Start of the biggerearly high tides to suit the south facing reefs. Check Nobbys Reef,Cowrie and Merewether, Stockton and One Mile to the north.Some protection in the corners of Dudley, Caves and Catho.A few patches of kelp and sweeps to develop running north.Check your position in the flags if heading in for a swim. Water temp 23C.

Hunter headlines Evidence: American canon lawyer Father Tom Doyle (left) with parish priest and theologian Dr Michael Whelan outside the Royal Commission in Sydney. Dr Whelan believes radical change is needed in the Catholic Church.

THE percentage of Maitland-Newcastle Catholic priests who allegedly sexual assaulted children grew to its highest levels between 1990 and 2010, and to some of the highest levels in Australia, shocking new figures released by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse have shown. Read more.

Following a protest inScott Street on Friday that saw clashes between demonstrators, the already tense debate surrounding the Newcastle Supercars race has taken on another dimension. Read more.

HUNTER children entering kindergarten in 2017 will be old enough to have their own kids inschool by the time the state’s education maintenance backlog is caught up, new figures reveal. Read more.

IN the days after Renee Mitchell was killed, a jail psychiatrist found murder accused Graham Anthony George Sloanewas suffering from a psychotic episode, was disconnected from reality, had false beliefs he had been cleared of any wrongdoing and continued to repeat grandiose delusions, a jury has heard. Read more.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has fined Origin Energy $15,000 after dust from an ash dam at the company’s Eraring Power Station was blown offsite during strong winds. Read more.

Fingal Bay resident Pat Hall has canvased support for an ocean baths at Kiddies Corner. Read more.

HUNTER residents have been encouraged to take refuge from the heatwave in the region’s libraries, as forecasters predict temperatures will fall temporarily but reach the low 40s again before the weekend. Read more.

THE state’s chief magistrate has announced further sitting days at Raymond Terrace and Maitland local courts as caseloads increase. Read more.

TWIN towers Daniel and Jacob Saifiti have packed on the muscle as they strive to make an even bigger impact this season–hopefully in tandem as Newcastle’s starting front-rowers. Read more.

DAVID LOWE An awful lot happened in the A-League last weekend, but there was minimal change. Read more.

Isaac Heeney enters his third season of AFL with a six-year contract in his pocket and ever-growing expectations on his shoulders. Read more.

State of the nationNeed anational newssnapshot first thing – well, we have you covered.

Emily Jayne Collie and her partner Tom Keating were on holiday in Phuket together. Photo: Facebook/@tommy.keating.5

►Police say thepartner of a 20-year-old Victorian woman killed when two jet skis crashed at high speed in waters off the Thai resort island of Phuket will be chargedwith reckless driving causing death.

►MELBOURNE:A briefof evidence compiled by detectives investigating claims of sexual abuse made against Ballarat’s Cardinal George Pell has been returned to prosecutors for review.

Cardinal George Pell.

►HUNTER: Children entering kindergarten in 2017 will be old enough to have their own kids inschool by the time the state’s education maintenance backlog is caught up, new figures reveal.

Labor has accused the Berejiklian government of failing“a generation ofchildren” after documents released under freedom of information laws revealed there is $775 million in outstanding maintenance on the state’s schools. Read on

NSW shadow education minister Jihad Dib

► MOUNT ISA:Mount Isa MP Robbie Katter has flagged concerns about the lack of consultation in the North West regarding a Bill investigating the impact of FIFO on communities.

Regional public hearings on the Strong and Sustainable Resource Communities Bill 2016 are set to be held this month but not one of them will be in the North West Minerals Province.

Robbie Katter has expressed his disappointment at the North West missing out on FIFO hearings.

► MUDGEE:A disturbing social media post regarding the death of a number of dogs in Gulgong, has sparked an investigation.

The post on theMudgee Community Grouppage claimed–“a Navara Utility, with a canopy, parkedin Gulgong -which had four dogs in the back, wasleft for the majority of the day with no water.”

Photo: iStock

►KATHERINE: Adecision to make some UHF radios illegal from June this year has been reversed.

A decision has been reversed over the use of 40 channel UHF radios, or citizens band (CB) radios, which was set to begin in June this year. Picture: ACMA

►BENDIGO: Bill Johnson never expected to be involved in a crash.

The closest the Eaglehawktruck driver of 25 years had come to an accident was attending crash scenes during his volunteer work with the CFA.

So when a car was suddenly coming straight at his truck on the Midland Highway in Goornong on Sunday afternoon, it was unknown territory. Read on

Bill Johnson says nothing could have prepared him for the moment a car was coming straight at his truck. Picture: DARREN HOWE

National news►Conservative MPs are scrambling to prevent a push byLiberal MPs to allow a free vote onsame-sex marriage, warning “this is not a fight we should be having now”.

The chances of the issue being debated in the partyroom meeting scheduled for this week receded on Monday, swamped by the revelation that South Australian Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi plannedto resign as soon as Tuesday and set up a new party.

Same-sex marriage is being debated by the Liberal Party, again. Photo: Chiang Ying-Ying

► An international yachtsman was allegedly duped intothe biggest cocaine bust in Australian historywhen his first mate suddenly changed the co-ordinates of theirboat, his wife says.

Hamish Thompson is arrested by police after they allegedly seized 1.4 tonnes of cocaine from the yacht Elakha. Photo: Australian Federal Police.

►A Sydney Uber driveraccused of raping a woman in the back seat of his car says she called him handsome and asked to have sex while he protested that he had a family.

Muhammad Naveed arrives at Sydney’s Downing Centre during the trial. Photo: Kate Geraghty

►A safe drug-injecting room for Melbourne will be considered by the Andrews government after a spate of overdose deaths.

Political support for the controversial idea is gathering pace amid concern that the government’s tough-on-crime approach has taken the focus off harm minimisation.

Photo: Jason South

National weather radarInternational news► WASHINGTON:There’s madness in the method of this White House. But what’s the objective – is itmerely to give Donald Trump’s critics whiplash, or is it an opening blitzkrieg of ordersand insults that calculatedly defines a new ‘normal,’ by which the outrageous becomesjust irritating?

The short answer is – Americans can’t be sure.

US District Judge James Robart is a Republican appointee known for his sharp legal mind. Photo: NBC News

►INDONESIA:Indonesian President Joko Widodo is slated to visit Australia at the end of this month, with Jakarta confirming its outgoing ambassador Najib Riphat Kesoema had been asked to stay on for the presidential trip.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo being interviewed by Fairfax journalists Jewel Topsfield and Peter Hartcher at the presidential palace in Jakarta in November 2016. A visit planned at that time was cancelled due to unrest in the Indonesian capital. Photo: Jefri Tarigan

On this dayThe faces of Australia: EmilyErnestiIn October 2014, Emily Ernesti was a regular 13 year old who attended school, hung out with her friends, played sport, and always had a smile on her faces.

UnfortunatelyEmily’s life was ripped apart when, after several weeks of feeling unwell, a test revealed that she had a brain tumor. Read on

Emily Ernesti had a tough Christmas being stuck in hospital due to swelling in her brain, but continued to have a smile on her face despite the situation.