YELTSIN OUTLINES A NEW CONSTITUTION Members of a constitutional convention voted yesterday to support President Boris Yeltsin's framework for a post-Soviet-era charter that includes a new legislative system and private land ownership rights. The vote by the 700 delegates does not ratify the new constitution, but is a significant step forward in Mr. Yeltsin's attempts to revamp the Russian political order. Yeltsin summarized in a statement the basic principles of the constitution that he hopes the convention will draft after it resumes work J une 26. The principles favored by Yeltsin called for a new, bicameral legislature to replace the Congress of People's Deputies, which has hindered Yeltsin's reforms. US housing starts up

Housing starts rose 2.4 percent in May to the highest level in five months, the government said yesterday. Construction increased in the South and Midwest, but slipped in the Northeast and West.

Analysts attributed the sales activity to pent up demand, an improving jobs and income picture, and mortgage rates that remained at 20-year lows. Somalia relief resumes

Trucks trundled out of Mogadishu port yesterday, signaling the resumption of relief operations halted a week ago to pave the way for UN air raids. Three trucks, cheered by a large crowd of Somalis, ferried 90 tons to the northern part of Mogadishu for distribution to feeding centers that closed last week after aid workers were evacuated to neighboring Kenya.

Their return was announced Tuesday after a meeting with Adm. Jonathan Howe, UN special envoy to Somalia, who diplomats said assured aid agencies there would be no more military strikes to punish a defiant Somali warlord. Pepsi says `no recall'

Responding to reports of syringes and needles being found in Pepsi cans, Pepsi-Cola's US chief said yesterday it was virtually impossible for any tampering to have occurred at bottling plants.

People in 18 states have reported finding syringes and hypodermic needles in Pepsi cans over the last week, according to police and news reports.

Pepsi-Cola Co. has said it has no plans for a recall, and federal officials caution that the claims appeared unrelated and many could be hoaxes. School equity ruling

Massachusetts' Supreme Judicial Court Tuesday ruled that the state has failed to provide equal education opportunities to all public school students, and ordered the legislature and governor to address inequities in school funding.

The legislature recently passed an education reform bill that is designed to bring each school district up to an average per pupil spending level of at least $5,550 within seven years. Lt. Gov. Paul Cellucci (R) said the administration will maintain its no-new-taxes pledge while making good on the commitment to public schools. Gov. William F. Weld (R) is likely to sign the bill Friday. EC economies to shrink

The European Community yesterday predicted the economy of the 12-nation trading bloc would contract by 0.5 percent this year, the worst performance in nearly two decades. The community predicted worsening unemployment, with the jobless rate expected to surge to 12 percent in 1994, its highest level since World War II. North Korea nukes

The International Atomic Energy Agency said yesterday it would seek to resume inspections of North Korea's nuclear facilities after Pyongyang decided against pulling out of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The statement welcomed the "positive outcome" of talks June 11 in New York, which resulted in North Korea suspending its withdrawal from the treaty, which is designed to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. Nigeria results delayed

Nigerians who voted for a president June 12 faced an uncertain Wednesday after a high-court order halted an announcement of final vote results, and the embittered trailing party cried foul. Neither President Ibrahim Babangida's military government nor its electoral commission commented Tuesday night on the latest threats to a thrice-delayed program to return the country to civil rule.

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