Top Asian News 3:19 p.m. GMT

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said in an annual New Year’s speech Friday that he was ready for war if provoked by “invasive” outsiders, but he stayed away from past threats involving the country’s nuclear weapons and long-range missile ambitions. His comments stuck to well-worn propaganda meant to lift his image for the elite residents of one of the world’s poorest, most closed countries, and could be read as an attempt to keep ties with rivals Washington and Seoul from getting worse so he can try to turn around a miserable economy and further solidify his leadership.

Firefighters tackle Dubai blaze after all-night effort, investigate cause

A fire engulfs The Address Hotel in downtown Dubai in the United Arab EmiratesFirefighters on Friday appeared to have mostly extinguished a blaze that suddenly engulfed one of Dubai’s most prominent skyscrapers on New Year’s Eve, witnesses said. Plumes of white smoke still emanated from the charred, 63-storey Address Downtown Dubai hotel and residential block at daybreak, but civil defense crews had mostly extinguished the flames which erupted around 2130 (1730 GMT). An investigation is ongoing,” the spokesperson wrote in an email.

EU-Ukraine trade deal comes into force, angers Moscow

A bulldozer crushes boxes of peaches outside Smolensk in August 2015 after Russian officials began a controversial drive to destroy Western food smuggled into the crisis-hit country despite a public outcryUkraine’s free-trade deal with the EU comes into effect Friday, coinciding with the start of Moscow’s food embargo against Kiev that will force the impoverished former Soviet republic to revisit its economic model. The free-trade accord is part of the broader EU Association Agreement — signed at the end of June 2014 — and stands at the heart of the drastic deterioration of Ukraine’s relations with Russia, furious at seeing its Soviet-era satellite turn to the West. Ukraine, whose market has been traditionally oriented toward Russia, will now have to turn itself toward the European market and abide by its rules.