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President: Dwight D. Eisenhower (R)
Vice-President: Richard M. Nixon (R)
House: 231 (D) 197 (R) 7 (Vacant)
Southern states: 99 (D) 7 (R) 1 (Vacant)
Senate: 49 (D) 47 (R)
Southern states: 22 (D)
GDP growth: -0.7 % (Annual) Recovering from
2.3 % (Quarterly) recession.
-0.7 % (Since 2Q1957)
Fed discount rate: 2¼ %
Inflation: 3.6 %
Unemployment: 7.4 %

Apr 3: Fidel Castro’s revolutionary army instigates a general strike in Havana. Dictator Fulgencio Batista invokes anti-strike measures, including a decree that allows government and private employers to fire on striking workers.

Apr 5: Lana Turner’s fourteen-year-old daughter, Cheryl Crane, stabs to death Johnny Stompanato, her mother’s boyfriend. She says she killed Stompanato, an underworld gambling figure, “to protect my mother” after allegedly overhearing Stompanato threateningTurner.

Apr 14: In a temporary break in Cold War tensions, pianist Van Cliburn wins the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow.

Apr 14: Sputnik II falls to earth and burns on re-entry over the Caribbean.

Apr 17: With the economy still showing weakness from the worst recession since World War II, the Federal Reserve reduces the discount rate from 2¼% to 1¾%. The discount rate is the interest rate the Fed charges member banks when they borrow money from the Fed to maintain required reserves. The discount rate is now at its lowest level since August 1955. The Fed also reduces banks’ reserve requirements in order to free up more money to put into the economy.

Apr 19: The U.S. State Department eases travel restrictions for singer and activist Paul Robeson. He is now free to travel in the Western Hemisphere where no passport is required. But he is still barred from obtaining a passport, which means he is unable to travel to Europe or elsewhere. The State Department revoked Robeson’s passport in 1950 and barred his leaving the country following a world tour in which Robeson denounced the U.S.’s racial policies.

Apr 21: A United Airlines DC-7 collides with an F-100F jet fighter at an altitude of 21,000 feet near Las Vegas. All 49 persons on board both aircraft are killed.

Apr 23: President Dwight D. Eisenhower says that the recession is a “minor emergency” that people should not get “hysterical” about. He denounces the House Democrats’ plan to extend unemployment benefits, saying it would destroy the historic Federal-state relationship in the operation of the plans.

Apr 28: A US Navy attempt to launch a Vanguard satellite fails when the third-stage rocket does not fire to boost the satellite into orbit.