There was political turmoil in Nepal, a move to indict Thailand's former president and preparations in India to welcome U.S. President Barack Obama.

The week also saw Japan grapple with a chilling video showing two of its citizens taken hostage by the Islamic State group, which threatened to kill them unless a $200 million ransom was paid.

In Thailand, the military-appointed legislature voted last week to ban former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra from politics for five years and the attorney general announced plans to indict her on criminal charges in connection with a money-losing rice subsidy program. The moves were seen as an attempt to cripple the political machine founded by Yingluck's brother, Thaksin Shinawatra.

In Nepal, meanwhile, the assembly tasked with drafting the country's constitution was engulfed in chaos after opposition members broke chairs and desks and threw microphones and shoes amid disagreements over the process. The protests spilled out into the streets as well.

Workers and street artists also put the final touches on preparations for Obama's arrival Sunday in New Delhi to become the first American president to attend India's annual Republic Day festivities.