The Latest | Southern California breaking news and trends

KPCC DIGEST AM (Oct. 11)—Blue bandwagon, Nobel Peace Price, mail-order drugs, GOP courts Latinos, bye Scantron

Photo by Steven Depolo via Flickr Creative Commons

1. LA Dodgers playoffs: What you need to jump on the blue bandwagon (KPCC)

The Dodgers are playing for a championship again. There are those who can recite the OBP and WARP of every player on the field, and then there are those who may just now be jumping onto the blue bandwagon.

For those late to the game, KPCC's Ben Bergman has some basics for the Dodgers vs. Cardinals National League Championship Series, which starts at 5:30 p.m. Friday night.

2. Republicans courting Latinos in California and other key states (KPCC)

Republican officials are wooing Latinos in Calif., hiring a first-ever Hispanic state director to shore up the GOP presence beyond the temporary campaign offices of election season. At a Santa Ana luncheon on Thursday, new state director Francis Barraza introduced herself to Republican Latino leaders from the region.

Polls continue to show a majority of Latinos lean Democratic and are disapproving of GOP stances on immigration and health care.

3. New standardized tests boast less risk of cheating — by students and teachers (KPCC)

So long, Scantron. For more than a decade, Calif. students haven taken standardized tests by penciling in the bubbles from their desks. With increasing pressure for students to do well, some teachers gave hints as they walked around the classroom. Others used erasers. Last year, students were caught taking pictures with their cellphones.

This year, the tests are computerized, and officials can monitor when a student is logging in and out. It's unclear, however, how that adult influence will be prevented.

4. Maine becomes first state to allow prescription drug imports; should California follow? (KPCC)

Maine became the first state to enact a law allowing residents biuy mail-order drugs from some pharmacies in Canada, the U.K., New Zealand and Australia.The mayor of Portland told the Wall Street Journal the practice saved the city over $3 million from 2004-2012 on employees’ drugs.

Meanwhile, a major pharmaceutical trade group and several Maine pharmacy organizations say the law may expose consumers to tainted or bogus meds. The FDA prohibits the import of drugs by any means, but rarely goes after consumers for violating the ban.

5. Toyota not liable for death of Calif. woman in acceleration case (KPCC)

A jury says Toyota Motor Corp. is not liable for the death of a California woman who was killed when her 2006 Camry apparently accelerated and crashed despite her efforts to stop.

Noriko Uno's family was seeking $20 million in damages, claiming that the crash could have been avoided if Toyota had installed a brake override system. The Japanese automaker blamed driver error. The outcome of the case could help predict whether Toyota will be held responsible for other sudden unintended acceleration cases.

6. Chemical weapons watchdog gets Nobel Peace Prize (NPR)

The Netherlands-based "Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons," a watchdog group overseeing efforts in Syria to eliminate its chemical stockpile, has won the Nobel Peace Prize. The committee has "focused on controlling nuclear weapons and doing away with weapons of mass destruction, like chemical weapons," reports NPR.

The award came as a surprise to many who thought it might go to 16-year-old Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani shot by the Taliban for defending the right of girls to education in her native Swat Valley.

7. Highland Park gallery celebrates Dia de los Muertos (KPCC)

Make your way through a dimly lit room surrounded by candles, altars and the multicultural art of a Dia de los Muertos exhibition ,"Honoring Fallen Heroes in our Lives," at Avenue 50 Studio in Highland Park this Saturday.

"Dia de los Muertos is a time when we honor loved ones and the people we love. We remember them and connect with our ancestors," curator Kathy Gallegos told KPCC. The exhibition includes a large community altar, and features the surreal sculpture of Donald Gialanella.