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Liability law called crucial for business

A national product liability law is essential to U.S. competitiveness in the world market, according to business executives and Wendell Wilkie II, general counsel for the Commerce Department. Federal product liability law would make the rules for doing business "clear, consistent, uniform and predictable," Wilkie said in testimony before a Senate panel Thursday. A bill on the matter is pending.Mack wants Cuba monitored on rights

Sen. Connie Mack, R-Fla., was headed to Geneva on Thursday to urge the United Nations Human Rights Commission to investigate rights abuses by Cuba. Mack hopes the commission's investigation will continue to focus world attention on rights abuses. Mack also plans to ask the Senate to pass a resolution condemning Cuba for 137 complaints of human rights detailed in a 1988 report by the U.N. commission.

Panel approves conservative judge

The Senate Judiciary Committee has voted overwhelmingly to approve the nomination of Clarence Thomas to sit on the influential U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Thomas is a 41-year-old black conservative who is known principally for his outspoken opposition to affirmative action programs that include quotas and timetables to aid minorities. On Thursday, the panel voted 13 to 1 in his favor. The full Senate is expected to approve the nomination next month.

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Vice President Dan Quayle will travel to South America for presidential inaugurations in Chile and Brazil next month. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., will join the delegation going to Chile.

Britain's Prince Charles had lunch with President Bush and his top advisers Thursday at the White House.

The Senate has refused to end a filibuster against a proposal that would declare a day of remembrance for "Armenian genocide."