- UK’s first day properly outside the European Union since 1973.
- Portugal takes EU presidency.
A judge at the Old Bailey hands down her ruling in the extradition case against the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, who is wanted by the US on charges of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.
- Georgia Senate runoffs. The Republican senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue face the Democratic challengers Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff in election runoffs that will decide control of the US Senate.
- Ugandan presidential and parliamentary elections.
- Joe Biden inaugurated as 46th president of the United States.
- German CDU picks new leader to take party into September elections at which Angela Merkel will be replaced as chancellor.
- MH17 trial begins in the Netherlands of four people accused of shooting down an airliner over Ukraine, killing 298.
- The men’s Six Nations rugby championship kicks off for England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales (until 20 March).
- Ecuador holds presidential and parliamentary elections.
- Tenth anniversary of Hosni Mubarak stepping down as Egyptian president.
- Berlin film festival becomes first to define its performance prizes in a gender-neutral manner, eliminating the categories of best actor and best actress.
- Lunar new year, as Year of the Ox begins.
- Golden Globe awards, California.
- China mission to Mars lands probe on the planet. Three Martian landers are scheduled to arrive at the red planet: China’s Tianwen, UAE’s Hope Mars mission and Nasa’s Mars Rover.
- Mikhail Gorbachev turns 90.
- The UK marks one year since the first confirmed coronavirus death in the country and the beginning of the UK’s first lockdown (24 March).
- Pope Francis is due to make his first international visit in 15 months, becoming the first pontiff to visit Iraq (5-8 March).
- Uffizi gallery in Florence marks 700th anniversary of Dante’s death.
- Dutch parliamentary elections.
- UK holds first nationwide census since 2011.
- WWF Earth Hour – individuals, businesses and organisations to switch off all non-essential lighting at 8.30pm local time.
- The much-delayed latest instalment of the James Bond franchise is due to be released.
- Peru’s presidential and parliamentary elections.
- Queen Elizabeth II turns 95.
- The Oscars (delayed from 28 February).
- Two hundredth anniversary of the first edition of the Guardian.
- UK local elections.
- Scottish parliamentary elections.
- London mayoral elections.
- FA Cup final.
- World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
- Eurovision song contest final, Rotterdam.
- Iraq parliamentary elections.
- Duke of Edinburgh turns 100.
- European Football Championship.
- Tentative date for Iranian presidential elections.
- Tour de France departs from Brittany (until 18 July).
- UK hosts G7 summit.
- Slovenia assumes presidency of the council of the EU.
- On what would have been Princess Diana’s 60th birthday, her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, unveil a statue in her honour at Kensington Palace.
- 100th anniversary of founding of Chinese Communist party.
- Olympic Games start in Tokyo.
- Microsoft pulls the plug on its 25-year-old browser, Internet Explorer.
- Thirtieth anniversary of the failed August coup in the Soviet Union.
- Paralympic Games begin in Tokyo.
- Hong Kong holds delayed polls for its legislative council, the first since Beijing imposed its new restrictive national security law on the territory.
- Twentieth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
- UN general assembly opens.
- Ryder Cup begins in Wisconsin, US (until 26 September).
- Germany’s parliamentary elections.
- Russian parliamentary elections.
- Dubai hosts the World Expo, becoming the first Middle Eastern venue to do so (until 31 March 2022).
- US government agencies declassify more documents relating to the 1963 assassination of President John F Kennedy.
- Japan’s parliamentary elections.
- T20 cricket World Cup, India.
- Nobel prizes are announced.
- Cop26 climate change conference, Glasgow (until 12 November).
- Thirtieth anniversary of the dissolution of the Soviet Union.