On This Day

What Happened in January 2021

Historical Events

  • Jan 1 Cuba's "day zero" unifies its two currencies by withdrawing the Cuban convertible peso (CUC), alongside steep increases in prices and salaries, effectively devaluing the remaining Cuban Peso for the first time since 1959 [1]
  • Jan 1 African Continental Free Trade Area, signed by 54 countries comes into effect, largely symbolically with full implementation expected to take years [1]
  • Jan 1 107th Rose Bowl: #1 Alabama beats #4 Notre Dame, 31-14; MVPs: DeVonta Smith (WR, Alabama) & Patrick Surtain II (CB, Alabama)

Historic Event

Jan 2 US President Donald Trump says to Georgia's secretary of state Brad Raffensperger "I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” in recording released by the Washington Post

  • Jan 3 Welshman Gerwyn Price wins his first PDC World Darts Championship; beats Gary Anderson of Scotland, 7-3 at the Alexandra Palace in London
  • Jan 4 1st Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines given to the general public with 82 year old Brian Pinker in the UK first to be jabbed [1]
  • Jan 4 South Korea, already the country with world's lowest birth rate, records more deaths than births for the first time [1]

COVID-19 Pandemic

Jan 4 Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces new national lockdown for England following Scotland, as COVID-19 variant spreads rapidly with hospitalizations now higher than the first wave

  • Jan 5 Six Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, sign an agreement to ease the blockage with Qatar, in place since 2017
  • Jan 5 Daily new cases of COVID-19 top 60,000 in the UK as data reveals one in fifty in England had COVID-19 within the last week
  • Jan 5 In Georgia Senate run-off elections Raphael Warnock (D) defeats Kelly Loeffler (R) and Jon Ossoff (D) defeats David Perdue (R) to give Democrats control of the US Senate
  • Jan 5 86th Heisman Trophy Award: DeVonta Smith, Alabama (WR)
  • Jan 6 More than 50 pro-democracy activists rounded up and arrested in Hong Kong
  • Jan 6 North Korean leader Kim Jong-un says country's five-year economic plan has failed at opening of a rare meeting of the Workers' Party
  • Jan 6 Supporters of President Donald Trump storm US Capitol in Washington during congressional certification of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris's win, resulting in five deaths and prompting evacuation of lawmakers and vice-president Mike Pence

Historic Event

Jan 7 US Congress completes the ceremonial certification of Joe Biden's presidential victory late in the night after an earlier unprecedented breach of the Capitol by Trump supporters

  • Jan 7 Arizona is now the COVID-19 “hotspot of the world" according to local health officials with an average of 118.3 new cases per 100,000 people

Historic Event

Jan 7 Elon Musk, co-founder of Tesla, becomes the world's richest man, worth $186 billion, overtaking Amazon founder Jeff Bezos

  • Jan 7 WHO warns Europe needs to do more to "flatten the steep vertical line" of COVID-19 cases and control the spread of the new variant, with 230 million already living under lockdown

Historic Event

Jan 7 Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg blocks President Donald Trump from Facebook and Instagram till January 20, following suspension of his other social media accounts the previous day

COVID-19 Pandemic

Jan 8 Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declares a state of emergency for Tokyo and surrounding areas after COVID-19 cases surge to their highest level

  • Jan 8 Twitter bans US President Donald Trump permanently "due to the risk of further incitement of violence"
  • Jan 8 Storm Filomena hits Spain with 50cm (20 inches) of snow falling on Madrid, resulting in four deaths and leaving thousands stranded

Historic Event

Jan 8 US Speaker Nancy Pelosi demands President Donald Trump's resignation or he will face impeachment, while also calling for vice-president Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him

  • Jan 9 Sriwijaya Air Flight 182 crashes in the Java Sea just after take off from Jakarta, Indonesia, killing all 62 on board
  • Jan 9 China places two cities, Shijiazhuang and Xingtai, under lockdown after over 130 cases of COVID-19 reported
  • Jan 10 America records more than 3,000 deaths a day for the first time reaching 3,249, passing 375,000 deaths in total a day later
  • Jan 10 PGA of America pulls 2022 PGA Championship from Trump National GC at Bedminster, NJ, days after supporters of President Donald Trump attacked the US Capitol
  • Jan 11 Ireland becomes the country with the world's highest COVID-19 infection rate after a dramatic surge results in seven-day rolling average of 1,394 cases per million
  • Jan 11 US House Democrats introduce one article of impeachment against President Donald Trump for "incitement of insurrection" for encouraging his supporters to riot at the Capitol
  • Jan 11 College Football, National Championship, Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida: #1 Alabama beats #3 Ohio State, 52-24
  • Jan 11 The king of Malaysia, Al-Sultan Abdullah declares a state of emergency over COVID-19 till 1 August, suspending parliament and giving the government new powers
  • Jan 12 India's Supreme Court puts on hold three controversial new farm laws that ignited weeks of protests by farmers in Delhi
  • Jan 13 President Donald Trump is impeached by the US House of Representatives voting 232-197, for “incitement of insurrection”, first time in history a US President is impeached twice
  • Jan 13 Deadliest air raid by Israel on Syria since 2018, when 10 soldiers and 47 allied fighters killed in attacks on military positions [1]
  • Jan 13 Irish PM Minister Micheal Martin issues apology for treatment of unmarried mothers and babies in church-run institutions 1920-1990s after report 9,000 children had died [1]
  • Jan 13 World's oldest known cave painting of an animal - a pig, 45,000 years old, discovered in Leang Tedongnge cave, island of Sulawesi, Indonesia [1]
  • Jan 14 Uganda elections re-elect President Museveni (in power since 1986), with main opposition presidential candidate Bobi Wine disputing the result

COVID-19 Pandemic

Jan 14 Pope Francis, 84, and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

  • Jan 14 Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder charged and pleads not guilty to two counts of willful neglect of duty over the Flint water scandal that killed 12 people
  • Jan 14 Brazilian governor of Amazonas state Wilson Lima says their COVID-19 surge is now as bad as April 2020, with hospitals running out of oxygen and patients ventilated manually
  • Jan 14 US Secret Service takes control of Joe Biden's inauguration as 20,000 troops authorized to guard Washington D.C., more than those stationed in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Somalia
  • Jan 15 Global death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic passes 2 million (true total likely much higher)
  • Jan 15 Dutch government led by PM Mark Rutte resigns after falsely accusing thousands of families of welfare fraud
  • Jan 15 6.2-magnitude earthquake on Indonesia's island of Sulawesi kills at least 42 with hundreds injured
  • Jan 16 India begin the vaccination of its 1.3 billion people for COVID-19

Election of Interest

Jan 16 Armin Laschet is elected leader of Germany's Christian Democrats (CDU), to replace long-serving leader Angela Merkel

  • Jan 16 10 Nepali climbers become the first to reach the summit of K2 in winter on the China-Pakistan border
  • Jan 17 Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny is arrested immediately on his return to Russia after recovering from nerve-agent poisoning [1]
  • Jan 18 Brazil begins vaccinations for COVID-19 with the world's second-highest death toll at 209,000

Historic Event

Jan 19 US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says China is committing genocide in its repression of Uighurs and other Muslim people

  • Jan 19 The US death toll from COVID-19 passes 400,000
  • Jan 20 Joe Biden is inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States of America and Kamala Harris as the 49th Vice President, the first female, black or south Asian Vice President. Amanda Gorman recites "The Hill We Climb".
  • Jan 20 US President Joe Biden signs 15 executive orders on his first day in office to re-join the WHO, the Paris Climate Agreement, revoking the Keystone XL Pipeline and mandating masks on federal properties

Historic Event

Jan 21 Avril Haines is sworn in as the first female US Director of National Intelligence by VP Kamala Harris

  • Jan 22 Lloyd Austin confirmed as defense secretary by the US Senate, and the first black head of the Pentagon

Appointment of Interest

Jan 25 Janet Yellen is confirmed as the first female treasury secretary by the US Senate

  • Jan 26 Antony Blinken confirmed by US Senate as Secretary of State
  • Jan 28 Share trading app Robinhood, favored by Reddit, suspends trading of Gamestop amid huge surge in share price of the previously short listed stock by Wall Street

Historic Event

Jan 28 Bernie Sanders mittens worn to the inauguration raise $1.8 million for Vermont charities after images go viral

  • Jan 28 Mexico's COVID-19 death toll becomes the world's third highest, overtaking India's at 155,145 [1]
  • Jan 29 Johnson & Johnson's Janssen single-dose vaccine shown to be 66% effective in trials, with complete protection against hospitalization and death [1]
  • Jan 29 Novavax vaccine shows 89% efficacy in UK trials, including against UK variant [1]
  • Jan 29 "Proposal to Prevent the Feminisation of Male Adolescents" published by China's Education Ministry asks schools to use sports to cultivate masculinity [1]

Historic Event

Jan 31 Widespread protests in Russia against detention of opposition leader Alexei Navalny and the government with 5,000 people arrested


Famous Deaths

  • Jan 1 Floyd Little, American Pro/College Football Hall of Fame halfback (Syracuse University; 5 x Pro Bowl; First-team All-Pro 1969; Denver Broncos), dies from cancer at 78
  • Jan 1 Misty Morgan, American country keyboardist (duo with Jack Blanchard - "Tennessee Bird Walk"), dies of cancer at 75
  • Jan 2 Don Salls, American football linebacker (Alabama) and coach (Jacksonville State University 1946-52, 1954-64), dies at 101
  • Jan 2 Paul Westphal, American Basketball Hall of Fame guard (NBA C'ship 1974; NBA All-Star 1977–81; Boston Celtics, Phoenix Suns) and coach (NBA: Phoenix, Seattle, Sacramento), dies from glioblastoma at 70
  • Jan 3 Roger Hassenforder, French racing cyclist (8 stage wins Tour de France 1955-59), dies at 90
  • Jan 3 Gerry Marsden, British rock vocalist and TV personality (Gerry & Pacemakers - Ferry Cross The Mersey), dies at 78 [1] [2]
  • Jan 4 [Victoria] Tanya Roberts, American actress (Charlie's Angels, 1980-81; A View To A Kill; That 70's Show), dies of sepsis at 65 [1]
  • Jan 4 John Muckler, Canadian ice hockey coach (Stanley Cup Edmonton Oilers 1990; Buffalo Sabres, NY Rangers) and executive (GM Ottawa Senators), dies at 86
  • Jan 4 Albert Roux, French chef and restaurateur (Le Gavroche, 1st Michelin three-starred restaurant in Britain), dies at 85 [1]
  • Jan 4 Gregory Sierra, American stage and screen actor (Barney Miller - "Chano"), dies of cancer at 83
  • Jan 5 Colin Bell, English soccer midfielder (48 caps; Manchester City 394 games), dies at 74
  • Jan 5 Bob Brett, Australian tennis coach (Boris Becker, Goran Ivanišević, Marin Čilić), dies from cancer at 67
  • Jan 5 Pat Patrick, American auto racing team owner (Patrick Racing; Indianapolis 500, 1973, 1982, 1989; Emerson Fittipaldi IndyCar title, 1989), dies at 91
  • Jan 6 Satya Paul, Indian fashion designer and entrepreneur who invented the modern sari, dies of a stroke at 79 [1]
  • Jan 6 Bobby Few, American jazz pianist and vocalist, dies at 85
  • Jan 7 Vladimir Kiselyov, Russian athlete (Olympic gold, Soviet Union, shot put 1980), dies at 64

Tommy Lasorda

Jan 7 Tommy Lasorda, American Baseball Hall of Fame manager (World Series 1981, 88; NL Manager of the Year 1983, 88; LA Dodgers 1976-96), dies of a heart attack at 93 [1]

  • Jan 7 Michael Apted, English director and producer (7 Up, The World is Not Enough), dies at 79 [1]
  • Jan 8 Shirley Wilson, American football coach (Elon University 1967-76; Duke University 1979-82; 88–61–3), dies at 95
  • Jan 8 [William Edwin] Ed Bruce, American country singer ("Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys"), dies at 81
  • Jan 9 Isaak Markovich Khalatnikov, Russian physicist, dies at 101
  • Jan 9 Vivalyn Latty-Scott, West Indian women's cricket all-rounder (10 Tests, 25 wickets; Jamaica), dies at 82
  • Jan 10 Hubert Auriol, French off-road motorcyclist and auto racer (Dakar Rally 1981, 83, 92), dies from COVID-19 at 68
  • Jan 10 Dee Rowe, American college basketball coach (UConn Huskies men's team 1969-76; 103–78 [.569]), dies at 91
  • Jan 10 Donald Smith, English cricket batsman (3 Tests; Sussex), dies at 97
  • Jan 10 David Barclay, British hotel magnate (The Ritz) and multi-billionaire, dies at 86
  • Jan 11 Colin McDonald, Australian cricket batsman (47 Tests, 5 x 100s; Victoria), dies at 92
  • Jan 11 Wálter Taibo, Uruguayan soccer goalkeeper (30 caps; Huracán, C.A. Peñarol), dies at 89

Sheldon Adelson

Jan 11 Sheldon Adelson, American business magnate (CEO of Las Vegas Sands casino company) and major political donor to the GOP and Israel, dies at 87 [1]

  • Jan 11 Kathleen Heddle, Canadian rower (Olympic gold coxless pair, 8's 1992; double sculls 1996), dies from breast and lymph node cancer at 55
  • Jan 11 William Edgar Thornton, American medical doctor, USAF officer, and astronaut (STS-8, STS-51B), dies at 91
  • Jan 12 Frank Arok, Yugoslavian-Australian soccer coach (Australia 1983-89), dies at 88
  • Jan 12 Álvaro Mejía, Colombian athlete (Boston Marathon 1971 2:18:45), dies at 80
  • Jan 12 John Ward, New Zealand cricket wicketkeeper (8 Tests; 17 dismissals), dies at 83
  • Jan 12 Khalid bin Abdullah Al Saud, Saudi thoroughbred racing owner and breeder (Juddmonte Farms; Dancing Brave, Enable, Frankel, Arrogate), dies at 84
  • Jan 13 Tim Bogert, American rock bassist (Vanilla Fudge; Jeff Beck), dies at 76
  • Jan 13 Siegfried Fischbacher, German American entertainer and magician (Siegfried and Roy), dies at 81 [1]
  • Jan 13 Bernd Kannenber, German race walker (Olympic gold FRG 50k 1972), dies at 78
  • Jan 13 Joël Robert, Belgian motocross racer (Motocross World C'ships 250cc 1964, 68–72), dies from COVID-19 at 77
  • Jan 13 Hannes Viljoen, South African rugby union winger (3 caps; Natal), dies at 77
  • Jan 14 Sylvain Sylvain [Mizrahi], Egyptian-American rock guitarist (New York Dolls), dies of cancer at 69
  • Jan 15 Vicente Cantatore, Argentine soccer manager (Chile, Real Valladolid, Colo Colo, Real Betis, Sevilla, Sporting de Gijón), dies at 85
  • Jan 15 Bruce Headley, American thoroughbred horse trainer and owner (Breeders' Cup Sprint 2000 Kona Gold), dies from a stroke at 86

Phil Spector

Jan 16 (Harvey) Phil Spector, American record producer (Wall of Sound), and convicted murderer, dies of Covid-19 complications at 81 [1]

  • Jan 16 Jon Arnett, American College Football Hall of Fame halfback (USC; 5 × Pro Bowl; LA Rams, Chicago Bears), dies from heart failure at 85
  • Jan 17 Julian "Junior" Mance, American jazz pianist (Dinah Washington; Dizzy Gillespie), dies of a brain hemorrhage after a fall at 92
  • Jan 18 Don Sutton, American Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher (MLB All-Star 1972, 73, 75, 77; MLB ERA leader 1980; LA Dodgers), dies from cancer at 75 [1]
  • Jan 18 James Frederick "Jimmie" Rodgers, American pop singer and guitarist ("Honey Comb" ; “Oh-Oh, I’m Falling In Love Again”), dies of kidney disease at 87 [1]
  • Jan 18 Perry Botkin Jr, American arranger, composer ("Nadia's Theme"), and producer (Incredible Bongo Band), dies at 87
  • Jan 20 Peter Swan, English soccer defender (19 caps; Sheffield Wednesday, Bury), dies at 84
  • Jan 20 Ted Thompson, American NFL linebacker (Houston Oilers) and executive (GM Green Bay Packers 2005-17), dies from autonomic disorder at 68
  • Jan 21 David Bolton, English rugby league five eighth (23 caps Great Britain; Wigan, Balmain) and coach (Parramatta), dies at 83

Hank Aaron

Jan 22 Hank Aaron, American Baseball Hall of Fame right fielder (MLB record 755 HRs; NL MVP 1957; 25 × MLB All-Star; Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers), dies at 86 [1]

  • Jan 22 Nick Drake-Lee, English rugby union prop (8 caps; Leicester Tigers), dies at 78
  • Jan 22 Tony Jones, American NFL tackle (Super Bowl 1997, 98; Second-team All-Pro 1994; Pro Bowl 1998; Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos), dies at 54
  • Jan 22 Luton Shelton, Jamaican soccer striker (75 caps; Vålerenga, Karabükspor, Sheffield United), dies from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis at 35
  • Jan 22 James Purify, American R&B singer ("I'm Your Puppet"), dies of Covid-19 complications at 76

Larry King

Jan 23 Larry King [Zeiger], American radio/TV host ("Larry King Live", CNN), dies of COVID-19 at 87 [1] [2]

  • Jan 23 Hal Holbrook, American stage and screen Tony and Emmy award-winning actor (All the President's Men; “Mark Twain Tonight!”), dies at 95 [1]
  • Jan 24 George Armstrong, Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame centre (Stanley Cup 1961–62, 1962–63, 1963–64, 1966–67 Toronto Maple Leafs; 7 x NHL All Star), dies from heart complications at 90
  • Jan 24 Jóhannes Eðvaldsson, Icelandic soccer defender (34 caps; Celtic, Tulsa Roughnecks, Hannover 96, Motherwell), dies from COVID-19 at 70
  • Jan 24 Gunnel Lindblom, Swedish actress (Hunger, Virgin Spring), dies at 89
  • Jan 25 Maryan Synakowski, French soccer defender (16 caps; UA Sedan Torcy 241 games), dies at 84
  • Jan 25 Barry Heywood, British director of the British Antarctic Survey, dies at 83
  • Jan 26 Alan Ashcroft, English rugby union number 8 (16 caps England, 2 caps British & Irish Lions; Waterloo FC), dies at 90
  • Jan 26 Margitta Gummel-Helmbold, German track & field athlete (Olympic gold GDR women's shot put 1968), dies at 79
  • Jan 26 John Mortimore, English soccer defender (Chelsea 249 games) and manager (Portsmouth, Benfica, Real Betis), dies at 86
  • Jan 26 Sekou Smith, American sportswriter (The Clarion-Ledger, The Indianapolis Star, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution; NBA TV), dies from COVID-19 at 48
  • Jan 26 Peter Thorburn, New Zealand rugby union coach (North Harbour, NZ sevens, Bristol RFC, United States), dies at 81
  • Jan 26 Jozef Vengloš, Slovak soccer manager (Australia, Czechoslovakia, Malaysia, Fenerbahçe, Aston Villa, Celtic, Slovakia), dies at 84
  • Jan 27 Cloris Leachman, American Oscar and Emmy Award-winning actress (The Last Picture Show; The Mary Tyler Moore Show - "Phyllis"), dies at 94 [1] [2]
  • Jan 27 Mehrdad Minavand, Iranian soccer midfielder (67 caps; Persepolis, Sturm Graz), dies from COVID-19 at 45
  • Jan 28 Cicely Tyson, American stage and screen actress (Roots; The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman), dies at 96 [1]
  • Jan 28 Eddie Connachan, Scottish soccer goalkeeper (2 caps; Dunfermline Athletic, Middlesbrough, Falkirk), dies at 85
  • Jan 29 Hilton Valentine, British rock guitarist (Animals - "House of the Rising Sun"), dies at 77
  • Jan 29 John Chaney, American Basketball Hall of Fame college coach (Cheyney University, Temple University), dies at 89
  • Jan 29 Yvon Douis, French soccer striker (20 caps; Lille, Le Havre, Monaco, Cannes), dies from COVID-19 at 85