The orphans of Odebrecht

The first night in jail was probably not too uncomfortable for Ecuador’s once-powerful vice president Jorge Glas. But this wasn´t where he was supposed to end up after president Lenin Moreno moved into Carondelet palace in May. Like Moreno himself, the impact of the region-wide Odebrecht corruption scandal that landed Glas behind bars was underestimated from the start.

An Ecuadorean court yesterday granted a request by the attorney general’s office to detain Glas for alleged bribery and conspiracy, accusations that have already tainted senior politicians from Brasilia to Bogotá after the contractor signed a 2016 international plea deal over its elaborate bribery scheme. The region´s new heroes are state prosecutors like Brazil´s Rodrigo Janot, Ecuador´s Diana Salazar and Venezuela´s Luisa Ortega.

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Does big data mean big profits for refiners?

At a recent refining conference in Brussels, Italian refiner Saras’ managing director, Dario Scaffardi, extolled the virtues of big data and digitisation to a packed auditorium.

The possibilities, he said, are huge. Maintenance activities, process control and commercial marketing all fall under its umbrella. Digitisation has a role to play in simulation, additive manufacturing, 3D manufacturing and robotics, and in using virtual reality to predict how a unit will run — and when it will fail.

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Saudi women permitted to drive — what does it mean?

Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdel-Aziz’s decree to allow women to hold driving licences from June 2018 has come as something of a surprise. No leaks, trial balloons or statements were issued to signal that the decision was imminent.

But the text of the king’s decree also shows that he believes change must be controlled, and must be initiated from the top, rather than coming from the bottom upwards.

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