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Bill Gates rode to the rescue of a beleaguered Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria on Thursday by pledging $750 million. The Microsoft founder says the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's donation to the Geneva-based fund comes on top of $650 million it contributed to the fund in the past decade. Gates said his pledge at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, a magnet for the world's business elite, is meant to inspire other potential donors. A donor backlash over reports about poor financial monitoring and extensive losses at the $23 billion fund prompted it last year to cancel more than $1 billion in new spending. The fund's executive director, Dr. Michel Kazatchkine, resigned this week.

Perry's gotten on Texas' bad side

Gov. Rick Perry's approval rating in Texas has fallen to a 10-year low since his failed presidential bid, putting him on a par with President Barack Obama in his own home state. More than half of the people who responded to a statewide poll don't want Perry to run for another term as governor and 45 percent said his failed campaign for the GOP nomination for president hurt Texas' image. The poll Jan. 21-24 was conducted for the Dallas Morning News and four other Texas newspapers, which published the results Thursday.

Faraway concern for Central Park

In the interest of preserving an already-compromised sliver of urban wilderness, state lawmakers are asking the federal government to take over Central Park. State lawmakers in Alaska, that is. Annoyed with outsiders' meddling with the right to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Republican state Rep. Kyle Johansen introduced a resolution in Juneau this week that gives the states-rights-depriving Eastern elites a taste of their own medicine. It urges Washington to "declare Central Park to be a wilderness area and to prohibit any further improvement or development of Central Park unless authorized by an act of Congress."

Times wires