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GS 2 The bilateral transformation India and Bangladesh must seize the opportunity to further enhance connectivity and trade ties Strange bedfellows in West Asia Increasing intimacy between Saudi Arabia, the so-called bastion of Islamic orthodoxy, and Israel, the Jewish state carved out by the colonial powers in Arab Palestine, appears astonishing at first sight. GS 3 Parliamentary committee irked by States’ insensitivity to Western Ghats The panel has urged the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to constitute a committee to address the issues and grievances of local people. Cinereous vulture seen in Jharkhand It is usually during the winter that a distinctly dark large bird – the Cinereous vulture, with a blacked-tipped pink beak – migrates from the mountainous regions of Europe and Asia to warmer places, including India. Ganga water quality has improved, govt. tells RS The statement said “dissolved oxygen” levels had improved at 39 locations, and “biological oxygen demand” (BOD) levels and faecal coliform had decreased at 42 and 47 locations respectively. Global advertising meet in Kochi on February 20-22 The International Advertising Association (IAA) will host the IAA World Congress at Kochi from February 20-22. The event, covering marketing, advertising and media, would be held at the Grand Hyatt Lulu International Convention Centre in that city. Signs of a turnaround Regulatory vigil should not ease after the half-yearly decline in banks’ gross NPA ratio Boost to plain packaging This year, Thailand and Saudi Arabia will join a growing club of nations introducing plain packaging of tobacco products. They are the first in the Asian and Arab regions, respectively, to adopt the tough measure in order to curb tobacco consumption — from September in Thailand, and May 1 in Saudi Arabia’s case Reserve Bank relaxes debt recast norms for MSMEs Following a demand from the government for a debt recast package for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has relaxed the provisioning norms for lenders for restructuring loans of up to ₹25 crore.