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HANNAH BEECHRESIGNED. DAVID COULTER,51, president of BankAmerica Corp., just days after the financial house reported that its quarterly earnings had plunged 78% due to colossal trading losses and bad loans; in New York. Securities regulators are examining whether the company, a mega-merger of Bank of America and NationsBank, improperly withheld information from shareholders about a risky $1.4 billion unsecured loan to Wall Street hedge fund D.E. Shaw & Co.NAMED. JOHN PODESTA,49, U.S. presidential point man for Whitewater and other Clinton imbroglios, as White House chief of staff, by President Bill Clinton; in Washington. The veteran troubleshooter replaces Erskine Bowles, who is rumored to be considering a gubernatorial bid in North Carolina. Bowles is among several top aides who left the White House in recent weeks, including senior adviser Rahm Emanuel and press secretary Mike McCurry.DIED. JORGE ORTEGA,40, impassioned Colombian union boss, after a suspected right-wing gunman pumped three bullets into his head and back; in Bogota. Ortega's assassination added fuel to a two-and-a-half-week-old nationwide strike by 700,000 state workers, as union representatives abandoned the negotiating table and blamed the government for the killing. Union leaders estimate that 2,500 activists have been killed in the past 10 years by paramilitary hitmen.DIED. JON POSTEL,55, cool conceptualist of the Internet, whose visionary blueprints helped millions of computer users navigate the complex channels that veer through cyberspace; in Los Angeles. The pony-tailed professor headed the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, a governing agency that oversaw the Internet's intricate infrastructure and allowed non-digital whizzes to go online without computer-science degrees.REGAINED LICENSE. MIKE TYSON,32, ear-chomping boxer, who was kicked out of the ring for nearly 16 months after biting Evander Holyfield during a June 1997 bout, from the Nevada Athletic Commission; in Las Vegas. Ex-basketballer Magic Johnson and former heavyweight champ Muhammad Ali both testified on Tyson's behalf. Arguing that Tyson should have another chance, Ali said: There are only a few punishments worse than being denied the right to make a living.OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. BRITANNIA,plush imperial yacht, after 43 years as a cruising ground for Britain's royal family; in Leith, Scotland, where it will serve as a floating museum. The luxury vessel, which hosted such notables as Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, was decommissioned in December after it became too costly to operate: British taxpayers spent some $20 million a year keeping the Britannia afloat.ON TRIAL. ALEXANDER NIKITIN,46, retired Russian naval officer-turned-environmentalist, on treason and espionage charges for allegedly leaking classified documents to a Norwegian environmental group; in St. Petersburg. The amateur ecologist co-wrote a whistle-blowing report warning of the decrepit state of nuclear submarine installations in the northwestern coastal regions of Russia. Human-rights monitors have characterized Nikitin's trial as a landmark opportunity for Russia to disassociate itself from its Kafkaesque judicial history.