1946 – Trygve Lie of Norway is picked to be the first United Nations Secretary-General.
1946 – The Parliament of Hungary abolishes the monarchy after nine centuries, and proclaims the Hungarian Republic.
1953 – North Sea flood of 1953 is caused by a heavy storm which occurred overnight, 31 January-1 February 1953; floods strike the Netherlands, Belgium, and the U.K.
1960 – Four black students stage the first of the Greensboro sit-ins at a lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina.
1964 – The Beatles have their first number one hit in the United States with “I Want to Hold Your Hand”.
1965 – The Hamilton River in Labrador, Canada is renamed the Churchill River in honor of Winston Churchill.
1968 – Vietnam War: The execution of Viet Cong officer Nguyễn Văn Lém by South Vietnamese National Police Chief Nguyễn Ngọc Loan is recorded on motion picture film, as well as in an iconic still photograph taken by Eddie Adams.
1968 – Canada’s three military services, the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army, and the Royal Canadian Air Force, are unified into the Canadian Forces.
1968 – The New York Central Railroad and the Pennsylvania Railroad are merged to form Penn Central Transportation.
1972 – Kuala Lumpur becomes a city by a royal charter granted by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia.
1974 – A fire in the 25-story Joelma Building in São Paulo, Brazil kills 189 and injures 293.
1979 – Iranian Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returns to Tehran after nearly 15 years of exile.
1989 – The Western Australian towns of Kalgoorlie and Boulder amalgamate to form the City of Kalgoorlie–Boulder.
1991 – A runway collision between USAir Flight 1493 and SkyWest Flight 5569 at Los Angeles International Airport results in the deaths of 34 people, and injuries to 30 others.
1992 – The Chief Judicial Magistrate of Bhopal court declares Warren Anderson, ex-CEO of Union Carbide, a fugitive under Indian law for failing to appear in the Bhopal disaster case.
1996 – The Communications Decency Act is passed by the U.S. Congress.
1998 – Rear Admiral Lillian E. Fishburne becomes the first female African American to be promoted to rear admiral.
2002 – Daniel Pearl, American journalist and South Asia Bureau Chief of the Wall Street Journal, kidnapped January 23, 2002, is beheaded and mutilated by his captors.
2003 – Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated during the reentry of mission STS-107 into the Earth’s atmosphere, killing all seven astronauts aboard.
2004 – Hajj pilgrimage stampede: In a stampede at the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, 251 people are trampled to death and 244 injured.
2005 – King Gyanendra of Nepal carries out a coup d’état to capture the democracy, becoming Chairman of the Councils of ministers.
2009 – The first cabinet of Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir was formed in Iceland, making her the country’s first female prime minister and the world’s first openly gay head of government.
2012 – Seventy-four people are killed and over 500 injured as a result of clashes between fans of Egyptian football teams Al-Masry and Al Ahly in the city of Port Said.
2013 – The Shard, the tallest building in the European Union, is opened to the public.
Celebrating Birthday’s Today
1975 – Big Boi, American rapper and producer
1975 – Martijn Reuser, Dutch footballer
1976 – Phil Ivey, American poker player
1976 – Mat Rogers, Australian rugby player
1977 – Lari Ketner, American basketball player (d. 2014)
1977 – Robert Traylor, American basketball player (d. 2011)
1978 – Tim Harding, Australian singer, and actor
1978 – K’naan, Somali-Canadian hip-hop artist
1979 – Valentín Elizalde, Mexican singer-songwriter (d. 2006)
1979 – Jason Isbell, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
1979 – Juan Silveira dos Santos, Brazilian footballer
1980 – Héctor Luna, Dominican baseball player
1980 – Moisés Muñoz, Mexican footballer
1980 – Otilino Tenorio, Ecuadorian footballer (d. 2005)
1981 – Rob Austin, English race car driver
1981 – Hins Cheung, Hong Kong singer-songwriter
1981 – Christian Giménez, the Argentinian footballer
1981 – Graeme Smith, South African cricketer
1982 – Gavin Henson, Welsh rugby player
1982 – Shoaib Malik, Pakistani cricketer
1983 – Heather DeLoach, American actress
1983 – Kevin Martin, American basketball player
1983 – Anna Suzuki, Japanese actress, and model
1983 – Jurgen Van den Broeck, Belgian cyclist
1983 – Andrew VanWyngarden, American singer-songwriter, and guitarist
1984 – Darren Fletcher, Scottish footballer
1985 – Dean Shiels, Irish footballer
1986 – Jorrit Bergsma, Dutch speed skater
1986 – Lauren Conrad, American fashion designer, and author