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News Wrap: New health calculator may overestimate cholesterol risk

November 18, 2013 at 12:00 AM EST
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GWEN IFILL: There’s word today that a new online calculator appears to greatly overestimate cholesterol risks. The new tech tool was unveiled last week by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology.

But The New York Times reported today the calculator can mistakenly suggest that millions of people take statin drugs when they don’t need them. The medical groups defended their overall guidelines and said they will look into the calculator issue.

In Japan, workers began a major step toward a full cleanup of a ruined nuclear power plant at Fukushima. Tokyo Electric Power Company began removing radioactive fuel rods from a reactor damaged during the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. To prevent overheating, the rods were placed in a steel cask before being lifted from a storage pool.

The utility’s president said the process is off to a good beginning.

MAN: Today, we reached an important milestone in our work at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station. I’m pleased to report to you the extraction of fuels from the unit four spent fuel pool has started on time and progressed safely.

GWEN IFILL: The operation involves moving more than 1,500 sets of fuel rods to a safer location. It’s expected to last until the end of 2014.

The man acquitted of killing Florida teenager Trayvon Martin is in trouble with the law again. George Zimmerman was charged today with assault and battery in Apopka, Florida. He’d been arrested at a home he shared with his girlfriend. Last July, Zimmerman was found not guilty in the Martin shooting. Since then, he’s been stopped for driving violations, and had a domestic dispute with his estranged wife.

NASA’s latest mission to Mars lifted off from Cape Canaveral this afternoon. The goal is to help explain why the Martian climate evolved from warm and wet in its first billion years to cold and dry today. As this NASA animation shows, the Maven explorer is to enter the red planet’s orbit in 10 months’ time, carrying eight scientific instruments to analyze Mar’s upper atmosphere.

Wall Street passed a couple of milestones today, then retreated. The S&P 500 crossed 1,800 at one point, before finishing the day with a loss. And the Dow Jones industrial average traded above 16,000 for the first time. But, by day’s end, it gained just 14 points to close at 15,976. The Nasdaq fell 39 points to close at 3,949. It was led by sell-offs of Facebook and Twitter stock.