U.S. Worker Killed, Another

Is Wounded in Kuwait Shooting

One civilian contractor for the U.S. military was killed in Kuwait and a second one was injured when their four-wheel drive vehicle was sprayed by gunfire from an assault rifle. The attack was the third on Americans in Kuwait in less than four months, as the United States builds up its forces for a possible invasion of Iraq.

The Kuwaiti Interior Ministry announced Thursday that it had taken into custody a Kuwaiti man who has asserted responsibility for the Tuesday shooting and who expressed support for Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda organization.

The man, Sami Mutairi, 25, was arrested by Saudi border guards as he tried to slip from Kuwait into Saudi Arabia and was handed over to Kuwaiti security officials, the ministry said. Investigators have not ruled out the possibility of more arrests and are still trying to determine if the attack was hatched independently or sponsored by an outside organization.

The dead man was identified as Michael Rene Pouliot, 46, a software engineer for Tapestry Solutions of San Diego. He was killed when the vehicle was hit by a fusillade from an AK-47 assault rifle. The driver, David Caraway, a senior software engineer for the same firm, sustained gunshot wounds in the shoulder, chest and thigh.

-- Jonathan Finer

Bush Medicare Plan Would Link

Drug Benefits to Managed Care

The Bush administration is finalizing a proposal that would fundamentally redefine Medicare, creating a prescription drug benefit and offering it to patients who are willing to join a new version of the program that relies on managed care, sources said.

The plan is aimed at slowing the growth of Medicare costs over the coming decades by attracting patients into what administration officials hope will be a less expensive system dominated by health maintenance organizations and other private health plans.

The proposal would not compel any older American to leave traditional fee-for-service Medicare and join a private plan.

But it would include a variety of popular features -- including the drug coverage and a new provision to cover catastrophic medical costs -- that are intended as powerful inducements for patients to switch.

The administration is still trying to calculate how much the proposal would cost, but recent estimates have hovered at perhaps $350 billion over the next decade. That would be far more than the $190 billion the president has allotted to Medicare revisions in his past budgets -- but less than what some members of Congress in both political parties believe is needed for the drug benefits alone.

-- Amy Goldstein

Title IX Panel Weighs Curbs

On Athletic Scholarships

Colleges and universities would be allowed to limit the number of scholarships awarded to female athletes without regard to enrollment under the most controversial recommendation being considered by a national commission studying changes in Title IX, the landmark law that bans sex discrimination in collegiate sports.

Under the proposal, which is among two dozen the panel is studying, schools could devote as little as 43 percent of their athletic scholarships to women and still comply with the law -- even though women comprise 55 percent of enrollment in four-year colleges.

The proposals, obtained by The Washington Post, are the first indication of the Bush administration's plans for changing Title IX, which is widely credited with increasing female participation in collegiate sports over the past three decades.

The new recommendation would not prevent a school from awarding more than 43 percent of the spots on its sports teams to women. But the prospect of a limit on the number of scholarships and other athletic opportunities that a college would be required to offer was immediately condemned by women's sports advocates, who said it would end more than 30 years of growth in women's collegiate athletic opportunities.

-- Michael Fletcher

Black, Hispanic Populations

Nearly Even, Census Reveals

In the months following the 2000 Census, the number of Latinos who were born in the United States or who immigrated to the country grew at more than twice the growth rate of African Americans, fueling the expectation that Hispanics would soon emerge as the nation's largest ethnic group.

That day has come closer, according to census estimates released Tuesday.

The black and Latino populations were nearly deadlocked in the 2000 Census. In 2001, the new figures showed, that deadlock was even tighter: 37.7 million people were identified either as black or as black and one other race, according to the new figures. Thirty-seven million Hispanics were counted.

Latinos accounted for nearly half of the nation's total population growth from 2000 to 2001, which includes birth and immigration rates, according to the new estimates. During that time, the African American population increased by 2 percent. Blurred racial and ethnic boundaries make such estimates difficult to parse. Latinos can belong to any racial group and are often of mixed race. While nearly half identified themselves as white in the census, an equal number checked more than one race. In addition, some black Latinos identify themselves solely as African American.

-- Darryl Fears and D'Vera Cohn

Recording Firms Win Ruling

On Music File-Sharing

An Internet service provider must disclose the identity of one of its customers who is suspected of illegally trading music files, a federal judge ruled, giving the recording industry a powerful new weapon in cracking down on what it considers digital piracy.

In a closely watched test case of how much anonymity Internet users can expect, U.S. District Judge John D. Bates ordered the online division of Verizon Communications Inc. to give the Recording Industry Association of America the name of a Verizon customer who had downloaded as many as 600 songs a day using the popular Kazaa music-file-sharing service.

If the decision survives a promised appeal, it means that people who use such file-swapping programs could be targeted for legal action by entertainment companies. Because file sharing is popular among teenagers, their parents also could be in the cross hairs if they are the official subscribers of Internet service providers.

-- Jonathan Krim

Bin Laden Used Ruse to Escape

U.S. Forces, Officials Say

With U.S. forces closing in on him during the battle of Tora Bora in late 2001, Osama bin Laden employed a simple feint against sophisticated U.S. spying technology to vanish into the mountains that led to Pakistan and sanctuary, according to senior Moroccan officials.

A Moroccan who was one of bin Laden's longtime bodyguards took possession of the al Qaeda leader's satellite phone on the assumption that U.S. intelligence agencies were monitoring it to get a fix on their position, said the officials, who have interviewed the bodyguard, Abdallah Tabarak.

Tabarak moved away from bin Laden and his entourage as they fled; he kept using the phone in an effort to divert the Americans and allow bin Laden to escape. Tabarak was captured in possession of the phone, officials said.

More than a year later, Tabarak, 43, has established himself as the "emir" or camp leader of the more than 600 suspected al Qaeda and Taliban members being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to senior officials in Morocco who have visited the military compound to interview Moroccan citizens being held there.

-- Peter Finn