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Bombers Strike Pakistani Cities as Army Offensive Continues

Suicide bombers attacked two major Pakistani cities on Monday — one of them the garrison city of Rawalpindi — as the army claimed control of one more Taliban stronghold in the northwestern tribal region of South Waziristan, officials said.

The Rawalpindi suicide bomber struck a few hundred yards from the headquarters of the Pakistani army and outside a branch of the National Bank of Pakistan, where soldiers and civilians had gathered to collect their monthly salaries and pension payments. At least 35 people were killed and at least 45 were wounded, security and rescue officials said.

Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, an army spokesman, said four soldiers were among the dead in Rawalpindi and nine among the wounded.

In the evening, an explosives-laden vehicle blew up at a police checkpoint near the entrance to the city of Lahore, said the city’s police chief, Pervez Rathore. Witnesses said that the vehicle was a white Suzuki and that it exploded after police officials had tried to stop it from entering the city. The two suicide bombers in the car were killed and 15 people were wounded, most of them police officers.

Despite Slump, Venture Firm Sets Up $575 Million Fund

Even amid the contraction of the venture capital industry, which fertilizes the seeds of new technology startups, some firms are expanding.

On Monday, Greylock Partners, which has backed Facebook and LinkedIn, announced that it had put together a new $575 million fund, one of the biggest to be created in the last year. It has also hired a new partner, Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn and an active investor in early-stage startups.

The venture industry has been pummeled in the last year by dismal conditions that have made it difficult for startups to go public or be acquired by bigger companies. Many have predicted that the number of venture firms could shrink by as much as half.

The list of firms that have managed to raise funds in the last year provides a glimpse of how the venture capital landscape will look once the shakeout ends. In addition to Greylock, the firms include Khosla Ventures, Sequoia Capital and Accel Partners.

The endowments, pension funds and foundations that invest in venture funds have been cutting back because of losses in their portfolios and shrinking returns in venture capital. In the third quarter, only 17 venture firms raised fresh capital, down from 63 in the same period last year and the lowest number since 1994, according to the National Venture Capital Association.