- Relief Pours into Asia (Jan. 2): Helicopters based on American aircraft carriers off the Indonesian coast begin dropping tons of supplies to survivors of the tsunami that devastated 11 Asian nations. International community has pledged more than $2 billion in aid. (Jan. 19): Number of victims in the disaster reaches more than 225,000. Indonesia hit the hardest by far, with about 150,000 victims.
- Iraqi Violence Intensifies as Election Nears (Jan. 4): Ali al-Haidari, governor of Baghdad Province, assassinated by insurgents who seek to thwart upcoming elections. (Jan. 10): Deputy police chief of Baghdad and his son, a policeman, assassinated by insurgents in Baghdad. Militant group headed by Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi takes responsibility. (Jan. 11): Iraqi prime minister Ayad Allawi admits that some areas of Iraq are likely to be too dangerous to hold elections. (Jan. 19): Five car bombs explode in Baghdad and kill 26 people, including several Iraqi security troops. (Jan. 30): Rocket attack on the American Embassy in Baghdad kills two Americans. (Jan. 30): About 8.5 million Iraqis, 57% of the population, turn out to vote in first democratic elections in more than 50 years. Election-day violence kills more than 40, but vote was much smoother than anticipated. Iraqis vote to select a 275-seat National Assembly and 18 provincial assemblies.
- Abbas Wins Election in a Landslide (Jan. 9): Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, takes 62.3% of the vote in race for president of the Palestinian Authority. Abbas succeeds Yasir Arafat, who died in Nov. 2004.
- Sudanese Government and Rebels Sign Peace Agreement (Jan. 9): Islamic government and Christian rebels from the south agree to end 20-year conflict that has claimed about two million people.
- U.S. Ends Search for Weapons (Jan. 12): The White House announces that the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, one of the main justifications for the war, is over and that no such weapons were found.
- Palestinian Militants Attack Israelis (Jan. 13): Six civilians killed in Gaza Strip. Israelis respond by killing the militants. (Jan 14): Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon announces he will not engage Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas until he moves against militants.
- New Ukrainian President Sworn In (Jan. 23): Viktor Yushchenko, who defeated Viktor Yanukovich in third round of controversial election, takes oath of office in Kiev.
- Dozens of Marines Die in Copter Crash (Jan. 26): On the deadliest day in Iraq in nearly two years, 31 U.S. soldiers are killed when their helicopter goes down near the Jordanian border.
- UN Reports on Darfur (Jan. 31): Commission investigating violence finds war crimes and crimes against humanity have occurred in western Sudan, but genocide has not.
- Former Presidents to Lead Aid Drive (Jan. 3): President Bush calls on George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton to lead a nationwide charity campaign to raise funds for victims of Dec. 2004's devastating tsunami.
- House Changes Ethics Rules (Jan. 3): At the request of House majority leader Tom DeLay, Republicans vote to rescind a rule enacted in Nov. 2004 that would allow leaders and committee members to retain positions if indicted. Rule was passed on behalf of DeLay, who was admonished three times in 2004 for ethical missteps. (Jan. 4): On the opening day of the 109th Congress, House votes, 220–195, to dismiss complaints if the ethics committee deadlocks.
- Attorney General Nominee Faces Tough Questioning (Jan. 6): Abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison dominates often contentious questioning by both Democrats and Republicans. Alberto Gonzales says the U.S. will follow international law and not use torture in the interrogation of terror suspects.
- Bush Nominates Homeland Security Secretary (Jan. 11): If confirmed, Michael Chertoff, federal appeals judge and former prosecutor, will succeed Tom Ridge.
- Abu Ghraib Abuser Convicted (Jan. 13): U.S. Army reservist Charles Graner found guilty by a military jury of abusing prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. (Jan. 14): Jury sentences Graner to serve 10 years in a military prison.
- President Bush Begins Second Term (Jan. 20): George W. Bush is officially sworn in by Supreme Court chief justice William Rehnquist. Referring to the war in Iraq, Bush says, “All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.”
- Senate Confirms Rice (Jan. 26): Senate votes, 85–13, to confirm Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state. She's the first black woman to hold the position.
- Train Crash Kills Several in South Carolina (Jan. 6): Mistake involving a switching mechanism causes train in Granitesville to crash into parked railcars, killing nine people and releasing toxic chlorine gas.
- Heavy Rains Cause Landslides (Jan. 10): Mudslide in coastal town of La Conchita, Calif., kills 10 people and destroys 15 homes.
- Government Changes Dietary Guidelines (Jan. 12): Updated Dietary Guidelines for Americans say that people should exercise at least 30 minutes every day.
- European Spacecraft Lands on Saturn Moon (Jan. 14): Photos of Titan sent back to Earth by craft Huygens reveal rocky surface and lakes of what astronomers think are frozen gases.
- Largest Passenger Plane Launched (Jan. 18): The prototype of the Airbus A380 debuts in France. The plane is seven stories high and can seat 555 passengers.
- Cancer Top Killer in U.S. (Jan. 19): Replaces heart disease as No. 1 cause of death for people ages 85 and under. Number of deaths from both, however, have fallen.
- FCC Head Announces Resignation (Jan. 21): Michael Powell will step down as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.
- Deficit Expected to Continue to Grow (Jan. 25): The bipartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates a 2005 deficit of $368 billion, excluding expenses incurred in Iraq. The White House releases its own estimate—$427 billion, including an additional $80 billion for Iraq.