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Australia The Loop: Astronomers reveal discovery of 'spooky' space object, national cabinet to meet today, huge Australian Open schedule

23:20  26 january  2022
23:20  26 january  2022 Source:   abc.net.au

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Hellooooo. It's Thursday, January 27 and you're reading The Loop, your TL;DR for today's news headlines.

Let's start here

Astronomers have discovered a powerful source of radio energy that switches on and off, coming from within our galaxy, and it's sending researchers into a spin.

Natasha Hurley-Walker, an astrophysicist at Curtin University and the international centre for radio astronomy research, says the object is about 4,000 light years away and is "very, very spooky".

"I initially expected [the object] to be something that we already knew about, like the signature of a star exploding, or two stars colliding," Dr Hurley-Walker says.

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"This thing was just there one minute and then gone the next. Nothing does that, that's crazy."

The plan now is to find out more about it, and to see if there are other similar objects out there, which experts say is more than likely.

New telescopes such as the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder in Western Australia, the MeerKAT in South Africa and eventually the Square Kilometre Array across both continents will add more power to the search.

One thing you’ll be hearing about today

National cabinet is back in session.

It's expected they'll be addressing calls from retailers to relax rules around COVID-19 isolation for workers even further than they already are to try to manage ongoing supply chain disruptions.

Requirements have already been relaxed for workers in transport, freight, logistics, emergency services, teaching, childcare and non-public facing healthcare, but now retailers are calling for exemptions to be expanded further to include all retail, warehousing and distribution centre workers.

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Australian Retailers Association chief executive Paul Zahra says access to affordable rapid antigen tests is crucial to making this whole thing work, but they're still near-impossible to find and can be really expensive.

News while you snoozed

  • US-backed Kurdish-led forces say they have wrestled back control of the last section of a prison controlled by Islamic State militants, ending a week-long battle with extremists at one of Syria's largest detention facilities, however, the fate of an Australian teenager caught in the cross-fire remains unknown
  • A 24-year-old man has been charged with animal cruelty after a duck was decapitated in the New South Wales Southern Highlands on the weekend. Police charged the man from Colo Vale with several offences, including recklessly beating and killing an animal.

What Australia has been searching for online

  • Daniil Medvedev. The Russian seed came back from two sets down to beat Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime in a five-set marathon at the Australian Open overnight, meaning he advances to the semi-finals
  • The Sydney Sixers. It came down to the last ball of the game, but the men in magenta are through to the BBL final after a dramatic four-wicket win over the Adelaide Strikers. They'll face the Perth Scorchers on Friday.

One more thing

If you only watch one day of this year's Australian Open, we reckon today is going to be the day to do it.

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  • The morning kicks off with Rennae Stubbs and Mark Philippoussis taking on Pat Rafter and Zimbabwe's Cara Black in the legends doubles
  • Then we're expecting an entertaining match, regardless of the result, when the special K's take the court in the men's doubles semi-finals
  • That will take us through to the quad wheelchair singles final, where our very own Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott will be vying for his EIGHTH Aus Open title
  • Then, tonight, world number one Ash Barty will meet on-fire American Madison Keys in the women's singles semi-final.

HUGE day. Head over to ABC Sport to keep up to date with it all.

You're up to date

Thanks for reading. We'll be back with another update to keep you in The Loop a little later.

ABC/wires

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