- Israelis Rally in Jerusalem (Jan. 8): Religious and nationalist groups gather to “pledge allegiance” to the Holy City and protest an American plan for its division.
- Iran Sentences Reformists (Jan. 13): Metes harsh jail terms to several leaders and a prominent journalist for attending “un-Islamic” conference in Germany.
- Congo President Assassinated (Jan. 16): Laurent Kabila shot dead by bodyguard. He had overthrown dictator Mobutu Sese Seko in 1997 but led country into increasing instability and a brutal civil war.
- Britain Outlaws Fox Hunting (Jan. 17): Parliament votes to ban traditional sport despite opposition.
- Pope Appoints New Cardinals (Jan. 21): John Paul II names a record 37, including three Americans, in move to shape future of Roman Catholic Church. (Jan. 28): In unexpected move, pontiff appoints seven more cardinals.
- Libyan Convicted in Flight 103 Bombing (Jan. 31): Scottish court finds Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, an intelligence officer, guilty of murder in deaths of 270 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. Court convened in Netherlands. A second defendant is released. In Washington, White House says verdict will not end sanctions on Libya.
- Bush Names Democrat to Cabinet (Jan. 2): Fills cabinet by picking Norman Mineta, Clinton's commerce secretary, to head Department of Transportation.
- INS Moves to Protect Jailed Immigrants (Jan. 2): Agency sets new standards in response to complaints and lawsuits concerning alleged mental abuse of prisoners.
- Logging of Oldest Trees Banned (Jan. 8): Head of Clinton's Forest Service halts harvesting of old-growth timber on public lands.
- Bush Cabinet Choice Withdraws (Jan. 9): Linda Chavez withdraws her nomination to be labor secretary after admitting to providing shelter and financial assistance to an illegal immigrant in the early 1990s.
- Clinton Presents Final Message (Jan. 14): Departing president urges Congress to enact broad program to promote racial unity between whites and minorities.
- Clinton Settles Long Legal Battle (Jan. 19): Forges deal with Independent Counsel Robert W. Ray to avoid a possible indictment by admitting that he gave false testimony about relationship with White House intern. He also agrees to give up law license for five years.
- In Final Days, Clinton Issues 140 Pardons (Jan. 20): List includes Marc Rich, billionaire fugitive financier, and other prominent figures.
- George W. Bush Sworn In as 43rd President (Jan. 20): In inaugural speech he plans to unite nation after one of most-disputed elections in history. He says “civility is not a tactic or a sentiment” but “a choice of trust over cynicism.”
- Bush Bars Abortion Aid Overseas (Jan. 22): Moves to deny federal funds to groups that provide abortion counseling or help women to have abortions.
- Gore Says He Plans to Teach (Jan. 24): Defeated Democratic candidate to take posts at three universities—Middle Tennessee State, Fisk, and Columbia. He also plans to write book with his wife, Tipper.
- Bush Seeks to Fund Church Groups that Offer Social Services (Jan. 28): Sets up first federal office to promote integration of religious and government programs.
- Federal Reserve Cuts Rates (Jan. 3): Alan Greenspan reduces rates by one half a percentage point to stem an economic slowdown. (Jan. 31): Fed slashes rates another half a percentage point. More cuts expected.
- Louisiana Ex-Governor Sentenced (Jan. 8): U.S. judge sentences Edwin W. Edwards, 73, to 10 years in prison and fines him $250,000 for extortion from casinos.
- AOL–Time Warner Merger Approved (Jan. 11): F.C.C. sanctions creation of world's largest media business but imposes conditions to prevent monopoly.
- Earthquake Rocks Central America (Jan. 13 et seq.): Landslide buries hundreds of houses in El Salvador. (Jan. 17): Death toll reaches 700. Hundreds missing.
- Oil Spill Threatens Pacific Wildlife (Jan. 16 et seq.): Tanker rams reef off San Cristobal Island in the Galápagos. Spill estimated 144,000 gallons. Rescue crews struggle to prevent environmental disaster.
- Power Crisis Hurts California Business (Jan. 19): Workers and consumers also suffer from wide interruptions at major electrical plants.
- Earthquake Kills Thousands in India (Jan. 26 et seq.): Massive temblor, registering 6.9 on scientific scale, rocks subcontinent. Thousands missing. (Jan. 29): Search for survivors gives way to excavating the dead. Homes and other buildings in ruins.