VIDEO: Today's Headline News from Associated Press

BEIRUT (AP) -- Several United Nations peacekeepers from the Philippines who were abducted by Syrian rebels said in videos posted online Thursday that they are safe and sound, even as activists reported clashes and shelling in the area where U.N. troops are being held.

Opposition fighters detained 21 Filipino peacekeepers near the village of Jamlah in the Golan Heights on Wednesday. The abduction marked the first time since U.N. troops began patrolling an Israeli-Syrian armistice line in the Golan Heights nearly 40 years ago that U.N. forces have encountered trouble during their mission, said Timor Goksel, a Beirut-based former United Nations official in the region.

One of the videos posted online shows three men dressed in camouflage and blue bullet-proof vests emblazoned with the U.N. and "Philippines."


NEW YORK (AP) -- Amid chatter of "Facebook fatigue," real or imagined, the world's biggest social networking company is getting ready to unveil a new version of News Feed, the flow of status updates, photos and advertisements its users see on the site.

Facebook Inc. is hosting an event at its Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters on Thursday to show off "a new look for News Feed." The company offered no other details on what the changes will be in an invitation sent to journalists and bloggers. It will be Facebook's second staged event at its headquarters since the company's May initial public offering. The company unveiled a search feature at the first one in January.

If past site changes are any indication, the News Feed tweaks may take some getting used to and will likely lead to user grumbles. Facebook users often complain about changes to the site, whether it's cosmetic tweaks or the overhaul of privacy settings


Willpower apparently can be bought. The chance to win or lose $20 a month enticed dieters in a yearlong study to drop an average of 9 pounds - four times more weight than others who were not offered dough to pass up the doughnuts.

Many employers, insurers and Internet programs dangle dollars to try to change bad habits like smoking or not exercising, but most studies have found this doesn't work very well or for very long.

The new study, done with Mayo Clinic employees, was the longest test yet of financial incentives for weight loss. Doctors think it succeeded because it had a mix of carrots and sticks - penalties for not losing weight, multiple ways to earn cash for succeeding, and a chance to recoup lost money if you fell off the "diet wagon" and later repented.

Incentives are "not like training wheels where people learn healthy habits and then will continue them on their own" - you have to keep them up for them to work, said one study leader, Dr. Steve Driver of Mayo in Rochester, Minn.


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Republicans split bitterly Thursday over a GOP senator's old-school filibuster of President Barack Obama's CIA nominee John Brennan amid claims that the administration could use drones to target Americans suspected of terrorism.

Just hours after Sen. Rand Paul ended his nearly 13-hour talkathon - and got an endorsement from Minority Leader and fellow Kentuckian Mitch McConnell - two senior Republicans on the Armed Services Committee dismissed Paul's claims as unfounded and ridiculous.

Both Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina also challenged members of their own party.

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