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HANNAH BEECHDIED. FRANK YANKOVIC,83, accordion-pumping serenader, who was acknowledged as America's Polka King by seven decades of fans; in New Port Richey, Florida. Traveling across the U.S. in a converted 1939 school bus, the Grammy-winner spread his Slovenian-style polka across the nation's heartland and modernized a musty music form into a pop chart-topper.DIED. WEST NKOSI,58, ebullient South African saxophonist, who blended traditional Zulu tunes with modern pop to create mbaqanga, a spicy fusion that took its name from a local stew; in Johannesburg. A prodigious producer and songwriter, Nkosi helped usher sax jive onto the world stage, where American songwriter Paul Simon seized on the indestructible beat for his 1986 album Graceland.DIED. MAYNARD PARKER,58, driven editor of Newsweek, who in his 16 years at the helm transformed the newsweekly into a lively talking piece; in New York. Despite his foreign-correspondent roots, Parker veered his magazine away from international affairs to issues that resounded more deeply with the American public, like health, religion and technology (see Eulogy, below).RESIGNED. ANDRIJA HEBRANG,reformist Croatian Defense Minister, after despairing the rise of right-wingers in the ruling party; in Zagreb, Croatia. Hebrang was replaced by Pavao Miljavac, the hawkish chief of staff of Croatia's armed forces. Reformists accuse President Franjo Tudjman and his cronies of defying nato standards and funneling cash to Croat nationalists in Bosnia's southern flank--a slap in the face of the Dayton peace accords that called for a unified Bosnia.RETURNED HOME. WOLE SOYINKA,64, outspoken Nigerian 1986 Nobel laureate, after having evaded the nation's dictatorship four years ago by slipping across the border; to Lagos. The writer's return from exile renewed hope that the long era of military domination will soon be over. Strongman Sani Abacha died in June after five years in power, and the new government has released scores of political prisoners in a lead-up to planned civilian elections next May.NOMINATED. OSKAR LAFONTAINE,55, chairman of Germany's Social Democratic Party, as Finance Minister, by Chancellor-designate Gerhard Schroder; in Bonn. The old-style interventionist helped choreograph Schroder's victory in last month's national elections, and his party discipline won him the powerful post, though without a special European-affairs brief to expand the ministry's powers.CHARGED. ERIC ROBERT RUDOLPH,32, fugitive American carpenter, with three Atlanta bombings, including the 1996 Olympics blast and a 1997 gay bar attack; in Washington. The secretive outdoorsman, who is also charged with the bombing of an Alabama abortion clinic last January, has so far eluded an fbi manhunt that has combed the rugged North Carolina countryside for some eight months.Both in person and in the pages he produced each week, Newsweek editor had an edgy energy that was rooted in a passion for the news. Often tightly coiled and always ready to spring, he had the gleeful ability to rip up his magazine as it was going to press in order to make it more exciting. Every Monday I felt the special kinship that comes from having tried to pull off the same feats: I could admire the smart way he had packaged a cover, spotted a trend or elicited a nugget of reporting.Maynard was one of the creative editors of the '80s and '90s who reinvented and revitalized newsmagazines, once considered news-rehashing dinosaurs. Although he had the hard-news instincts of a foreign correspondent, he developed a fingertip feel for the kind of cultural, social, family and health trends that transcend last week's headlines and become next week's dinner-table conversations. His competitive instincts caused him, like the rest of us, to make an occasional mistake, but his legendary intensity made him not merely a survivor but a person who prevailed in the struggle to keep journalism smart and relevant. I hope, and I suspect, that he would consider it a compliment and an accomplishment that he made all of us--not only his colleagues at Newsweek but his competitors at Time and elsewhere--better at what we do.Walter Isaacson, managing editor