Today’s top world news from The Washington Post:

Today’s top world news from The Washington Post:


-France drowning in rules and regulations, critics say--France and its southern European neighbors, such as Italy and Greece, are increasingly being buried in such norms, rules and directives. In the past two decades, the number of legal do’s and don’ts has become so great that businessmen and economists warn that it is smothering growth just as the continent tries to dig out of its worst slump in a generation. The regulations almost always flow from a desire to meet recent and broadly accepted social goals, such as environmental protection, accident prevention or access for the disabled. But as lawmakers pass more legislation and bureaucrats scribble more implementation orders, specialists say, the result looks like a vast straitjacket holding back economic activity at a time when Europe needs it most, reports Edward Cody.


-A final farewell to the Iron Lady--The bells of Big Ben fell silent on Wednesday as Britain began its final farewell to Margaret Thatcher with a funeral procession of sober pageantry through central London, starting a day of commemoration for a transformative leader who in death as in life continues to deeply divide this nation, reports Anthony Faiola.


-Venezuelan government blames losing presidential candidate for deadly violence--Venezuela’s socialist government, stung by nationwide protests against interim leader Nicolas Maduro’s razor-thin win in Sunday’s presidential election, on Tuesday blamed opposition leader Henrique Capriles for the disturbances and for violence that officials say has left at least seven people dead, reports Juan Forero. 




-Judiciary underestimated costs for building plans, report says--The federal court system failed the transparency test and underestimated projected costs with its five-year capital-projects plan, according to a congressional watchdog report obtained by The Washington Post. The Government Accountability Office plans to release an analysis of the one-page, $1.1 billion construction proposal on Wednesday morning, before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure holds a hearing on the matter.


-Immigration measure’s opponents hope delays will kill bipartisan bill--Leading Capitol Hill opponents of a Senate proposal to overhaul the nation’s immigration system are coalescing around a strategy to kill the bill by delaying the legislative process as long as possible, providing time to offer “poison pill” amendments aimed at breaking apart the fragile bipartisan group that developed the plan, according to lawmakers and legislative aides, report David Nakamura and Aaron Davis.


-OPINION by Greg Sargent: How out of touch is today’s GOP?--At what point does failure to support proposals designed to address the problems facing the country--ones backed by majorities — create a serious enough general problem for the GOP, by contributing to an overall sense that the party has simply ceased being capable of compromising on solutions to the major challenges we face? The GOP’s awful “in touch, out of touch” numbers would seem to get at this.


-Letter sent to Miss. senator believed to be laced with poison--The letter was addressed to Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and initially tested positive for ricin, but officials familiar with the case said it was undergoing further testing late Tuesday. The officials gave no indication why the letter was sent to the second-term senator, report Ed O'Keefe and Paul Kane.


-Facebook flexes political muscle with provision in immigration bill--The payoff on the immigration provision could be substantial, allowing Facebook and other technology companies to avoid a requirement that they make a “good-faith” effort to recruit Americans for jobs before hiring from overseas, report  Peter Wallsten, Jia Lynn Yang and Craig Timberg.


-Boston Marathon bombs had simple but harmful design, early clues indicate--The bombs that tore through a crowd of spectators at the Boston Marathon could have cost as little as $100 to build and were made of the most ordinary ingredients — so ordinary, in fact, that investigators could face a gargantuan challenge in attempting to use bomb forensics to find the culprit, report Joby Warrick and Sari Horwitz.


-Many Boston Marathon bomb victims cope with leg injuries--Scores treated at Boston Medical and many of the 12 other hospitals caring for victims had suffered wounds from BB-sized pellets and nails, as well as metal debris blasted into tissue and bone at close range. The disproportionate number of leg injuries has convinced some medical experts that the bombs were on the ground or not high above it. The carnage from two- to three-millimeter diameter pellets and half-inch nails has convinced some that the main goal of the bombs was to injure as many people as possible, report David Montgomery, Mary Beth Sheridan and Lenny Bernstein.


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