The Republic of Ireland takes over the presidency of the European Union, succeeding Italy, whose presidency is widely criticised as having been a failure due to the collapse of efforts to adopt a European constitution. 
Comparing planned United States finger-printing and photographic security controls on travelers from Brazil and other nations to Nazi actions, a Brazilian judge orders the fingerprinting of all arriving United States citizens in response. 
No leap second is added this year. This is the fifth year in a row without a leap-second after 28 years of adding leap-seconds to compensate for the slowing of the Earth's rotation. 
Haiti's bicentennial celebrations erupt in violence. 
It appears that Stardust has successfully flown past Comet Wild 2 collecting samples that it will return to Earth in two years time. This is the first sample return mission to a comet and the first time that samples have returned to Earth from any celestial body since 1974. The spacecraft also took detailed images of the comet's icy nucleus. 
The BBC cancels the appearance of Coca Cola sponsorship credits in the music charts in its BBC OneTop of the Pops show, after criticism from politicians and health campaigners that it would be promoting junk food and unhealthy drink products to teenagers. 
Exploration of Mars: The first of the Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit, has successfully landed on the Martian surface with a "very strong signal" being received from the lander. It was a tense few minutes as no signal was received from the lander during the minutes while it bounced over the surface. Mission Control is described as being a wild place with the mission scientists very happy. The first pictures are expected at the earliest around 0730 UTC 
Casey Kasem hosts his final edition of the popular radio program American Top 40. The following week, American Idol host Ryan Seacrest officially took over hosting duties of the show. Casey continues to host two other radio programs, American Top 20 and American Top 10.
Bolivian Gas War: In a televised speech, Bolivian President Carlos Mesa announces that a national referendum will be held on 28 March to resolve the issue of how Bolivia's large natural gas reserves will be exploited.
Britney Spears abruptly marries a childhood friend, Jason Allen Alexander, in a Las Vegas wedding chapel at 5:30 a.m.; by afternoon, the couple have arranged an annulment, which is expected to be made official when the courts reopen on Monday.
A potential local root vulnerability  has been found in Linux 2.2, 2.4, and 2.6, and Linux Kernel developers have corrected the issue in 2.4 and 2.6; distributors are expected to offer the patches soon, for the benefit of those users who do not compile their own kernels.
The man charged for the murder of Sweden's FM Anna Lindh on September 10, Mijailo Mijailović, through his defence lawyer requests an interrogation to give critical details on the stabbing. Seemingly Mijailović thereby confesses the assault.
The Daily Mirror, a British tabloid, publishes the blacked out portion of a letter wherein Diana, Princess of Wales alleged that someone was trying to kill her. The relevant portion reads: "[M]y husband is planning 'an accident' in my car, brake failure & serious head injury in order to make the path clear for him to marry." The part "my husband" (referring to Charles, Prince of Wales) had been previously blacked out, and the word "him" replaced with "Charles" in transcripts of the letter released by Diana's butler, Paul Burrell.  The revelation comes on the same day the inquest into the death of Diana and her lover Dodi Al-Fayed is officially opened. 
Pakistan and India have agreed to a new round of talks to settle the Kashmir dispute. The talks will be begin February 2004. 
Exploration of Mars: The first color images have been released from the Spirit rover on Mars. They are the highest resolution images ever taken on the surface of another planet. It has also been announced by NASA that they plan to name the rover's landing site on Mars "Columbia Memorial Station" in honor of the crew of STS-107.
In the United States, the Bush administration proposes a major reform of immigration law, creating a temporary worker program and giving legal status to both illegal and foreign workers for renewable three-year periods. 
Exploration of Mars: Mars Express failed to hear any signal from the Beagle 2 spacecraft during its first pass over the landing site. This is major blow, but scientists have once again not given up all hope. They will attempt again tomorrow using a different communication mode. The Beagle 2 mission manager, Colin Pillinger, set February 7 as the day to abandon contact efforts. By that time Beagle 2 would have switched into an autotransmit mode after having not received any signal for over a month if it was still alive .
A report from the International Monetary Fund expresses alarm regarding mounting budget deficits in the United States due to recession, tax cuts, and spending for the war on terrorism. The report says that the unprecedented level of external debt incurred poses "significant risks" not just for the United States but for the rest of the world. However, many outside economists note that other countries are also running large deficits and that underlying economic conditions in the U.S. are still robust. 
Levi Strauss & Co. shuts its last U.S. jeans sewing plant in San Antonio, ending all U.S. manufacturing as it shifts to a contract production model. The closure ends a "Made in the U.S.A." tradition dating back to the 1870s. 
The New Jersey legislature passes a bill creating a domestic partnership status for same-sex couples, with many of the same legal rights as marriage. It becomes the fifth U.S. state to offer such a status to same-sex couples. 
Exploration of Mars: Engineers at JPL decide to turn the Mars Spirit Rover around on its lander after it was found the airbags could not be retracted enough to allow it to move off in a forward direction. It is expected the rover will drive off sometime next week. The Rover has also stood up and deployed its front wheels. 
Enron Corporation: Former Assistant Treasurer Lea Fastow and wife of Andrew Fastow, failed to respond to a plea agreement by the deadline. The offer would have allowed her to plead guilty in federal court to lesser charges and serve five months in return for her testimony. Her trial for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering, and tax evasion is scheduled to start February 10. 
In publicity for a new book for which former U.S. Treasury SecretaryPaul O'Neill is the primary source, 60 Minutes reveals O'Neill's claims that the Bush administration was making plans for an invasion of Iraq within days of Bush's inauguration. Bush officials note that regime change in Iraq had been official U.S. policy since 1998, three years before Bush took office. O'Neill, fired for his opposition to tax cuts, also characterized Bush as so disengaged in cabinet meetings that he "was like a blind man in a roomful of deaf people". On the positive side, O'Neill also described Bush as such a good listener that he (O'Neill) was able to give a non-stop monologue for nearly an hour in a one-on-one meeting. 
A speed boat carrying illegal immigrants from Albania, bound for Italy broke down and capsized. There were 11 survivors, while as many as 21 died due to drowning and exposure. Two have been arrested by Albanian authorities for people smuggling, while other senior officials have been implicated in connection with the tragedy. 
American Idol host Ryan Seacrest officially takes over hosting duties of the popular radio program American Top 40. His predecessor, Casey Kasem, continues to host other similar programs.
Exploration of Mars: NASA's Spirit rover now has its arm and all six of its wheels free, and only a single cable must be cut before it can turn and roll off its lander onto the soil of Mars. As that milestone is completed, scientists are taking opportunities to take extra pictures and gather other data.
Astronauts on board the International Space Station think that a leak in a hose used to stop the fogging of an Earth observation window was causing the slow loss of pressure in the station. Although it would have taken a couple of months for the crew to be in any danger, some equipment on the station was only rated to just below the normal pressure. Although the cause appears to have been located, ground controllers are still getting the crew to close the station into three sections to allow them to get baseline pressure readings and to make sure that there are no more leaks. 
Computer Associates says may face SEC civil action: Software company Computer Associates International Inc, which is under investigation by federal regulators over its accounting practices, says it may face civil charges for improper accounting of revenue in fiscal 2000. 
Iran's provincial governors are threatening to resign unless a decision by the conservative Guardian Council is reversed. 
Mars Exploration Rover Mission: The Spirit's air bags that cushioned its landing on Mars have been obstructing the vehicle's path, and this complication has postponed its exit of the launch vehicle until Wednesday or Thursday. 
AyatollahAli Khamenei, religious leader of Iran, announces that he will not intervene in a growing political confrontation between progressives and hardliners after the Guardian Council, which he controls, barred thousands of candidates from running in upcoming Parliamentary elections (including 80 current members of Parliament). 
Self-confessed killer of Swedish FM Anna Lindh, 25-year-old Mijailo Mijailović, says during cross-examination in a Stockholm court that he heard voices in his head commanding him to attack Lindh when he encountered her in a Stockholm shopping mall 10 September last year. Lindh died the next day from the many stab wounds she received. 
Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Alan Greenspan said, "It's just a matter of time before we begin to see employment start to pick up quite significantly, as it always has in the past." Greenspan is also not worried about the fall of the dollar or the half trillion dollar U.S. trade deficit. 
Jack Kelley, USA TODAY foreign correspondent and a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize just two years ago, was forced to resign after the newspaper determined he repeatedly misled editors during an internal investigation into stories he wrote. Among the stories that are being investigated is one published September 4, 2001, contains an account of an attack on Palestinians by 13 Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Mark Memmott, the reporter asked to investigate Kelley, said he could not find anyone with first-hand knowledge of the attack.
A secondary school student in the Netherlands kills a teacher in his school cafeteria. 
U.S. President George W. Bush, in a speech at NASA headquarters, announces a plan to develop a new space vehicle to return humans to the moon by 2015 and proposes the retirement of the space shuttle fleet by 2010 along with a $1 billion funding increase for NASA. 
Enron Corporation: Former CFOAndrew Fastow and his wife Lea Fastow, former Assistant Treasurer, accept a plea agreement. Andrew Fastow will serve a ten-year prison sentence and forfeit $23.8 million. Lea Fastow will serve a five-month prison sentence and a year of supervised release, including five months of house arrest. Both will provide testimony against other Enron corporate officers. 
Turkey and Greece: 22 Turkish military aircraft entered into the Greek AthensFIR. Five of these aircraft were loaded with ammunition. Greek aircraft intercepted them. Source: Athens News Agency and in.gr.  (Greek)
Noted author d.g.k. goldberg died after a long and hard-fought battle with brain tumors and lung cancer.
30,000 Shiite protesters in Basra call for immediate country-wide elections in Iraq, a move that would give them more power than the UN-backed plan for regional caucuses mandated by the US-led coalition 
South Korea's foreign minister Yoon Young-kwan resigns after a controversy in which his ministry was accused of diverging from the government's policy of increased independence from the United States. 
Exploration of Mars: The Spirit Rover has rolled off its lander to start its exploration. The first journey was only three metres. It took the rover about 78 seconds, ending with the back of the rover being 0.7 metres from the lander. 
Human cloning: Fertility expert Dr. Panos Zavos claims to have successfully transplanted a two-week-old embryo into a 35-year-old woman. He said he had not done the act anywhere where "the spirit of the law" was against such a procedure. 
George Papandreou of Greece promised that he will suggest to sign a mutual agreement with Turkey for lowering their defense military expenses.  (Greek).
Protesters call for resignation of German Federal Police chief Ulrich Kersten: about 6,000 people demonstrates against moving Germany's Federal Police (BKA) headquarters from Wiesbaden to Berlin. 
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon praises the Israeli ambassador to Sweden, Zvi Mazel, for vandalising the artwork entitled "Snow White and The Madness of Truth" displayed at a Stockholm museum. The piece, created by an Israeli-born composer/musician, consists of a white float carrying a picture of a Palestinian suicide bomber in a pool of blood-coloured water. Mazel was caught on surveillance video disconnecting the electric power from the display and throwing a lamp into the water. Mazel says, "This exhibit was the culmination of dozens of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish events in Sweden." 
Cargo ship MS Rocknes with a crew of 30 including the pilot capsizes near Bergen, Norway at 1630 local time (1530 UTC). Two people are reported dead and 24 still missing the morning after the accident. The ship was carrying a heavy load of rocks for use as shielding on top of a gas pipeline to Emden, Germany, from the Norwegian Ormen Lange offshore gas field.
The English Court of Appeal calls for an end to the prosecution of parents whose babies may have died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (cot death) in cases where the only evidence is contended expert testimony. 
Martha Stewart pleads not guilty to five criminal counts that include conspiracy, obstruction of justice and securities fraud stemming from a sale of ImClone stock in 2001. Conviction on any of the charges against her could put Ms. Stewart in federal prison. The five counts carry a total prison term of 30 years and a $1.25 million fine.
Colonel Rashid Abu Shbak of the Palestinian Authority, said that information was still coming in and the investigating team had been upgraded, but he had no new leads on who was behind the bombing attack of an American diplomatic convoy on October 15, 2002. Three people died in the attack. U.S. officials have been stopped from going to Gaza since the attack. No decision has been made yet on when they might be allowed to return. Col. Shbak blamed Israel for the lack of progress in the investigation.
Maher Arar sues the United States government for having deported him to Syria and not Canada, his country of citizenship. He was reportedly tortured in Syria.
Enron Corporation: Richard Causey, former chief accounting officer was indicted in Houston, Texas, on federal charges of securities fraud and conspiracy for his role in masking Enron's faltering fiscal health in late 2001. He has pled not guilty. 
Zimbabwe's only independent daily newspaper resumes publishing. 
NASA's Spirit rover communicated with Earth in a signal detected by NASA's Deep Space Network antenna complex near Madrid, Spain, at 12:34 Universal Time (4:34 am PST) this morning. The transmissions came during a communication window about 90 minutes after Spirit woke up for the morning on Mars. The signal lasted for 10 minutes at a data rate of 10 bits per second. Mission controllers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, plan to send commands to Spirit seeking additional data from the spacecraft during the subsequent few hours.  The flight team for NASA's Spirit received data from the rover in another communication session that began at 13:26 Universal Time (5:26 am PST) and lasted 20 minutes at a data rate of 120 bits per second. 
A Thai man suspected of having bird flu died, according to the Public Health Ministry. 
At least 51 people, including a bridegroom, were killed on Friday when a fire ripped through a makeshift wedding hall in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu during a marriage ceremony.
An explosion has killed two people at Zhengzhou railway station, one of the People's Republic of China's biggest transport hubs.
David Kay says, in his opinion, Iraq had no banned WMD stockpiles: "I don't think they existed", Kay said, "What everyone was talking about is stockpiles produced after the end of the last (1991) Gulf War, and I don't think there was a large-scale production program in the '90s." David Kay also says that part of Saddam Hussein's secret weapons programme may have been hidden in Syria.  Syria denies receiving Iraq arms. 
Avian influenza has now been detected in a total of nine countries, with Pakistan and Laos as the latest additions. Pakistan has detected less dangerous strains H7 and H9. A six-year-old Thai boy became the seventh victim in Asia, with another ten suspected cases in the country. Around 19 million chickens have been slaughtered as a result of fighting the spread of the flu. The World Health Organisation expresses concern about a serious human outbreak. (WHO)
Top Hamas official Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi offered a 10-year truce if Israel would withdraw from territory occupied since 1967 and acknowledge the creation of a Palestinian state. Israel dismissed the peace offer as "ridiculous". 
The People's Republic of China announces an outbreak of the deadly H5N1 strain of avian influenza in the autonomous region of Guangxi, becoming the 10th country in Asia to do so . There are suspected cases in Hunan and Hubei provinces .
David Kay testifies before a United States Senatecommittee stating that evidence of weapons of mass destruction was based on inaccurate intelligence. "I believe that the effort that has been directed to this point has been sufficiently intense that it is highly unlikely that there were large stockpiles of deployed, militarized chemical weapons there" and, even if Iraq did not have weapons stockpiles, this does not mean that nation was not dangerous. Kay urges for an inquiry into the intelligence failure and states that the United States needed better intelligence. 
A 60-ton sperm whale carcass explodes in downtown Tainan, Taiwan, causing traffic delays and showering vehicles and pedestrians with blood and entrails. 
A report submitted today to the State of Maryland states that the electronic votingmachines made by Diebold Election Systems "have such poor computer security and physical security that an election could be disrupted or even stolen by corrupt insiders or determined outsiders". The machines have been purchased by a number of states in the United States.  This is the third report to state that the machines do not meet the security requirements of an election. Previous reports are available online: , .
Hutton Inquiry: The BBC Director-General, Greg Dyke, resigns in the continuing fall-out from the report. Mr Dyke is the second high-ranking BBC official to resign. Mark Byford is appointed Acting Director-General.  The UK media in general condemns the report as a whitewash. 
Former French Prime Minister and current Mayor of BordeauxAlain Juppé is convicted of a party funding scam in the 1980s and early 1990s, and is given an 18-month suspended jail sentence and disqualified from elected office for 10 years, although he retains his mayoralty pending his appeal. He had been viewed as Jacques Chirac's likely successor in the 2007 Presidential election. 
Sheik Ahmed Yassin, leader of Hamas, announces that his group is making an all-out effort to kidnap Israeli soldiers to use as bargaining chips for Palestinians in Israeli prisons, following the prisoner exchange between Israel and Hezbollah in which the remains of three Israeli soldiers and a businessman were exchanged for over 400 prisoners on January 29, 2004. 
The Svalbard Undersea Cable System is officially put into operation, giving the island group at 78° North a 40Gb connection to the Norwegian mainland. The dual 1,440 km fiber optic lines from Svalbard to Harstad is needed for communicating with polar orbiting satellite stations on Svalbard, some owned by NASA and NOAA. ,