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Happy Thursday, dear readers. On Tuesday evening, I was lucky enough to speak with Emily Rauhala, Beijing correspondent for the Washington Post, at one of our Journalism & Drinks meet-ups. It was a great success! Rauhala and I discussed the Communist Party Congress, online censorship, and the travails of working as a female foreign correspondent. Proceeds from the event went to fund the Kim Wall Memorial Fund, and we were honored to have Kim’s parents in attendance. You can donate to the fund here and I hope you’ll join us next time.

In honor of our talk, a little China reading: why China believes its Internet policy has been vindicated. We know next to nothing about Chinese politics, so why do we keep writing about it? An infographic guide to China’s leadership.

And happy Diwali, all! It’s the festival of lights, the triumph of light over darkness, and while that may seem 100 percent improbable right now, I had a samosa this morning and it made me feel like anything is possible. So get yourself some firecrackers and make some samosas and remember to hope. While you’re at it, here’s an interesting article on the making of a South Asian diaspora in the U.S. (subscription required, but the Caravan is awesome, so get one!).

We have an article up this week on a shrimp and petroleum festival in Louisiana this week, and like the author, I, too, “am thinking about some of these things—oil, energy dependence, supply chains, weather systems, development, inescapable death and destruction.” Did you know that Chef José Andrés and his team have served more meals in Puerto Rico than the Red Cross? He is indeed an American hero. Here’s how one small town found food and community, by R&K friend Molly Crabapple. And please, let’s not forget about the Caribbean.

And a few random things I’m reading this week: “It’s the divide between the technophile cornucopians and the techno-skeptic redistributors,” could refer to almost every major schism in American life right now. George Saunders, an American, won the Man Booker Prize for his novel Lincoln in the Bardo. As R&K contributor Dur e Aziz Amna pointed out, not everyone is happy about Americans getting all up in the Booker prize system. (Excellent shade thrown in that URL, btw.) Speaking of people unhappy about the Americans, here’s a bonkers look at the unraveling of the State Department. With tourism declining, should the U,S, focus on re-branding abroad? Here’s a thought: why don’t we stop alienating the entire world instead? No, no, that’s crazy. Re-branding it is!

Esquire’s 18 best new restaurants in the U.S. How being a line cook ruined me. As someone who worked as a line cook briefly, I had some real laugh/sob moments while reading that. Spam heists! Who needs Spam, let’s eat Georgian breakfast instead! That reminds me, let’s make our own khachapuri this weekend. You can eat it while you watch the meteor shower. And since you made it this far, some excellent dog photos courtesy of R&Ker Alexa van Sickle: Britain’s pub dogs and the UPS drivers who love the dogs on their route. If that doesn’t make you feel that the triumph of light over darkness is truly upon us, I don’t know what will.

That’s it for this week! See you again next week for more of the best in food, politics, and travel from around the web. Tweet me stories you want to see here @caraparks.