Good morning and welcome to the Morning Buzz for Monday, December 18. Be prepared for a mostly sunny day. Temperatures are expected to hit 30 in the city and up to 38 in the west. Enjoy your day!
Quirky toys, games and electronics at the top of Australians' Christmas lists
With a clear wrapper, a plastic shell, and layers of packaging inside, one of this year's most popular children's Christmas gifts has been labelled the "toy of your capitalist nightmares".
The LOL Surprise toy contains seven layers of wrapping containing surprises like stickers and charms and a brightly coloured doll, of which there are nearly 80 to collect.
Their popularity stems from the bizarre online craze of "unboxing", which involves people filming themselves opening presents or pristine packaged goods and then posting the video online. Read more.
Macarthur Park hosts Australia’s first legal same-sex wedding
It was an historic day at Macarthur Park on Saturday, with the beautiful Camden location hosting Australia’s very first legal same-sex wedding.
"You may now kiss your beautiful bride," said civil celebrant, Janice Bradley.
And with those words, Lauren Price, 31, and Amy Laker, 29, turned to each other and embraced. Read more.
Optus taken to court by ACCC for allegedly misleading 20,000 customers
Singtel Optus is being taken to court by the competition regulator over allegations the provider misled 20,000 customers by telling some they needed to switch to the national broadband network sooner than required and creating the impression it was the only provider able to deliver the NBN.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission claims Optus wrote to thousands of customers using pay TV cables, known as Hybrid Fibre Co-Axial (HFC), telling them it would disconnect their service within a certain time period as the NBN would be coming to the area. Read more.
Budget update to show debt $11.9 billion lower
The Turnbull government will reveal an $11.9 billion projected improvement to the budget bottom line on Monday, confirming Australia is on track to return to surplus by the end of the decade.
The reduction in net debt, the figure most commonly used by economists, means it will now peak at a lower than expected 19.2 per cent of GDP in 2018-19, down from the 19.8 per cent forecast in May. Read more.
Ginger Jiang sues after being forced to jump from burning apartment
A young woman who was forced to jump from a burning building in Sydney's west is suing her landlord and body corporate in the Supreme Court, alleging her apartment had an increased risk of fire because it did not have sprinklers installed and was modified without council approval.
Yinou "Ginger" Jiang and her friend Pingkang "Connie" Zhang were inside a fifth-floor apartment at the West Terrace development in Bankstown on September 6, 2012, when a fire started on the balcony and quickly spread inside. Read more.
Starc's cracking ball leaves Australia on brink of Ashes glory
The Ashes is there for the taking on the final day in Perth and a crack in the WACA pitch looms as the key after a Mitchell Starc wonder ball edged Australia closer to regaining the sport's most treasured prize.
Steve Smith's men enter the fifth day of the third Test within touching distance of taking an unassailable 3-0 series lead and reclaiming the Anglo-Australian bragging rights they surrendered with defeat on the last Ashes tour of England in 2015. Read more.
Reffing disgrace: FFA stands by video reviews as criticism grows
Football Federation Australia remains committed to its trial of the controversial Video Assistant Referee and will continue to use the innovation in the A-League for the foreseeable future, in spite of a series of errors and delays to games.
Head of the A-League, Greg O'Rourke, refused to suspend the season-long trial of the VAR after a series of delays, inconsistencies and errors plagued another weekend of games.
Central Coast Mariners had two players sent off in their 2-0 loss to Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday night after the VAR intervened in the on-field decisions to award yellow cards to Wout Brama and Jake McGing, encouraging the referee to upgrade the punishment to red-card offences. Read more.
Wanderers end rut after senior players take responsibility: Santalab
Western Sydney Wanderers ended their poor run of form only after the senior players took responsibility for their own performances following a week of soul searching in the wake of their painful derby defeat.
The Wanderers claimed their first win under the tenure of new coach Josep Gombau and their first three points since the opening day of the season after beating Central Coast Mariners 2-0 in Gosford on Saturday night. Read more.
How Wests Tigers coach Ivan Cleary got his players ‘on the bus’
When Ivan Cleary uttered the words "On the bus", he didn't expect them to resonate.
It was April, Wests Tigers were in disarray and everyone had come to hear what the new man in charge was going to do about it. Cleary, no stranger to rebuilds, summed it up perfectly.
It was time for everyone to come together. Read more.
Destanee Aiava wins women's Australian Open wildcard playoff
Teen sensation Destanee Aiava has booked her spot in the women's singles at next month's Australian Open at the second attempt with a crushing win over Tammi Patterson in the wildcard playoff final.
The 17-year-old Aiava won 6-4 6-0 on Sunday against the third-seeded Patterson at Melbourne Park.
The victory comes a week after Aiava was beaten by Jaimee Fourlis in the final of the Australian under-18 championship, with the winner of that match also guaranteed an Open wildcard. Read more.