- Russia Cuts Off Gas to Ukraine (Jan. 1): In a dispute over pricing, state-owned company Gazprom reduces the flow of natural gas to Ukraine. The move affects exports to countries in Western Europe. (Jan. 2): Facing criticism from customers in Western Europe, Russia resumes full flow of gas.
- Iran Says It Will Resume Nuclear Research (Jan. 3): In a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran states that it plans to restart work on its “peaceful nuclear energy program.” (Jan. 10): Iran breaks the seals on three of its nuclear facilities. The U.S. and several European nations condemn the move.
- Insurgents Launch Several Attacks in Iraq (Jan. 4 et seq.): More than 50 people are killed in central Iraq by suicide bombers and car bombs. About 30 Shiites die in an attack on a funeral in Miqdadiya. (Jan. 5): Suicide bombers kill about 130 Shiite pilgrims in Karbala. Another 50 men, who were lined up to apply for jobs with the police force, die in Ramadi. (Jan. 9): Two suicide bombers carrying police badges blow themselves up near a celebration at the Police Academy in Baghdad, killing nearly 20 police officers. Al-Qaeda in Iraq takes responsibility.
- Sharon Suffers Massive Stroke (Jan. 5): Israeli prime minister undergoes emergency surgery to stop bleeding on the brain. Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is named acting prime minister.
- U.S. Helicopter Crashes in Iraq (Jan. 8): Army Black Hawk helicopter crashes between Mosul and Tal Afar, killing 12 Americans.
- U.S. Targets al-Qaeda Leader (Jan. 15): Air strike in the Bajaur tribal region in northwest Pakistan is intended to kill Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda's second in command. Pakistan officials say al-Zawahiri did not die in the attack. About 18 civilians, however, were killed in the operation.
- Mass Graves Found in Iraq (Jan. 18): Bodies of 36 Iraqis are found in two towns north of Baghdad. Victims, many of whom were police recruits, were shot execution style.
- Bin Laden Warns U.S. (Jan. 19): After a year of silence, Osama bin Laden says al-Qaeda is planning to attack the United States. He also extends a truce, but does not provide any details of its terms.
- Results of Iraqi Election Released (Jan. 20): Coalition of Shiites and Kurds wins 181 out of 275 seats in parliament, but they are just shy of the two-thirds majority required to form their own government. Sunnis take 58 seats. The results follow a report by the International Mission for Iraqi Elections that finds the vote was flawed but mostly democratic.
- New Judge Appointed to Preside Over Hussein Trial (Jan. 23): Raouf Rasheed Abdel Rahman, a Kurd, is named to replace Rizgar Muhammad Amin, who resigned after facing criticism from Iraqi officials. (Jan. 29): Hussein's trial resumes, with four defendants, including Hussein, ejected from the courtroom. The defense team was replaced after its members walked out of the courtroom.
- Canada Elects Conservative Prime Minister (Jan. 23): Stephen Harper's Conservative Party narrowly defeats the Labor Party, led by outgoing prime minister Paul Martin, in parliamentary elections.
- Audit Critical of Handling of Reconstruction Funds (Jan. 24): Report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction finds evidence of fraud, that money for rebuilding was casually and insecurely stored, and that contract work was improperly certified as complete.
- Hamas Prevails in Elections (Jan. 25): Militant Palestinian group that has called for the destruction of Israel takes 74 out of 132 seats in legislative elections, handing a stunning defeat to Fatah, which won just 43 seats. Fatah had been in control for 40 years. Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei, of Fatah, resigns. (Jan. 29): Acting Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert says Israel will not “hold any contacts” with Palestinians unless Hamas agrees to recognize Israel and renounce violence.
- Journalists Injured in Iraq (Jan. 29): Bob Woodruff, ABC's evening news co-anchor, and his cameraman, Doug Vogt, are hit by a roadside bomb northwest of Baghdad.
- Republican Lobbyist Reaches Plea Deal (Jan. 3): Jack Abramoff, a powerful Washington lobbyist with ties to several members of Congress, strikes a deal with federal prosecutors to plead guilty to fraud, public corruption, and tax evasion—all felonies—and to testify against politicians and former colleagues. In exchange, Abramoff will receive a reduced sentence.
- DeLay Ends Effort to Resume Leadership Position (Jan. 7): Facing pressure from fellow Republicans after lobbyist Jack Abramoff agrees to testify, Rep. Tom DeLay announces he will give up his plans to resume his post as House majority leader.
- Pentagon Study Finds Marine Deaths Were Preventable (Jan. 8): Report in the New York Times reveals that about 80% of the U.S. Marines who died of torso wounds in Iraq could have been saved if they had adequate body armor.
- White House Predicts Deficit Increase (Jan. 12): Bush administration expects shortfall to increase to over $400 billion in 2006, up from $319 billion in 2005.
- Both Parties Release Lobby-Reform Proposals (Jan. 17 et seq.): Republican plan includes a ban on congressional travel paid for by outside groups and a $20 limit on gifts to lawmakers. (Jan. 18): Democratic proposal calls for banning gifts to lawmakers and forcing lawmakers leaving office to indicate when they are negotiating future employment offers.
- White House Refuses to Turn Over Storm Documents (Jan. 24): Bush administration cites confidentiality when it says it will not comply with requests of a Senate committee, which is investigating the response to Hurricane Katrina, to turn over correspondence between members of the White House staff.
- Alito Confirmed as Associate Justice (Jan. 31): The Senate votes, 58–42, to confirm Samuel Alito as an associate justice on the Supreme Court. He's sworn in as the Court's 110th justice hours after the vote. He replaces retiring justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
- Bush Addresses the Nation (Jan. 31): In his fifth State of the Union speech, the president denounces Iran, calling it a country “held hostage by a small clerical elite that is isolating and repressing its people.” He also attacks Democrats for questioning the war in Iraq and urges Americans to end their “addiction” to oil, calling on the country to replace 75% of oil imports from the Middle East with ethanol and other energy sources.
- Explosion Traps Miners in West Virginia (Jan. 2): Tallmansville mine owned by International Coal Group leaves 13 workers trapped 260 feet underground. (Jan. 4): After a report that 12 of the miners had been found alive, officials from International Coal Group announce that all but one died. (Jan. 21): The bodies of two other miners are found at a mine in Melville, W.Va.
- New Treatment for Cancer Increases Life Expectancy (Jan. 5): Report in New England Journal of Medicine says that women with advanced ovarian cancer can expect to live up to 16 months longer when cancer drugs are administered directly into their abdomens.
- Dow Hits Milestone (Jan. 9): Dow Jones industrial average tops 11,000 for the first time since June 2001.
- Hundreds Killed in Stampede (Jan. 12): More than 360 people are crushed by rushing crowds when they trip and fall over luggage at the entrance to Jamarat Bridge in Mina, Saudi Arabia, during the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.
- Spacecraft Heads to Pluto (Jan. 19): New Horizons craft will travel three billion miles over nine years to study Pluto's atmosphere and surface.
- Pope Issues Encyclical (Jan. 25): Benedict XVI discusses his views on love and charity in his first encyclical.
- Smithsonian Selects Location for Museum (Jan. 30): The National Museum of African American History and Culture will be located on the Mall near the Washington Monument.
- Woman Goes on Shooting Rampage at Postal Plant (Jan. 31): Jennifer Sanmarco kills seven people before turning the gun on herself at a sorting facility in California.
- Senate Confirms Federal Reserve Chief (Jan. 31): Ben Bernanke chosen to succeed Alan Greenspan, who held the position for 18 years.