Evening top 5: Nine dead after Berlin truck crash; Putin calls Russian ambassador assassination a 'provocation'

The top stories this evening...

At least nine people have died after a lorry ploughed into a crowded Christmas market in Berlin in a possible terror attack.

Around 50 others were injured, including four seriously, and the suspected driver has been arrested, possibly close to the city zoo.

A passenger reportedly died in the crash at Breitscheidplatz, near the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in central Berlin.
Witnesses said it was not an accident and the lorry had shown no signs of slowing down.

One spoke of the vehicle "going through people" and "pulling everything down" as it tore through tables and wooden stands.

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Vladimir Putin tonight condemned the killing of the Russian ambassador as a 'provocation' aimed at sabotaging ties between Moscow and Ankara.

The Russian president said the death of Andrei Karlov, 62, was designed to 'disrupt the peace process in Syria' as he vowed to 'step up the fight against terrorism'.

He ordered security at Russian embassies around the world to be stepped up and said he wanted to know who had 'directed' the gunman's hand. 

Russian investigators will be sent to Ankara to investigate the killing, he said at the meeting tonight. Moscow has branded the killing as a 'terrorist act'.

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New Orleans' mayor has announced $13.3 million in settlements of lawsuits over police shootings after Hurricane Katrina.

At a news conference today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu also apologised to the victims' families and said he hopes their forgiveness will help the city find peace in the future.

Landrieu said the settlements are with 17 plaintiffs.

A spokeswoman for the mayor's office says the settlements resolve lawsuits over the deaths of three people who were killed in two separate police shootings after the 2005 hurricane and a fourth person who was fatally beaten by an officer shortly before the storm struck.

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Northern Ireland's First Minister Arlene Foster has survived a motion of no confidence, over her handling of the so-called "cash for ash" controversy.

However, a majority of politicians in Stormont voted in favour of Arlene Foster stepping aside to allow an investigation into the affair.

The motion only fell because it did not get the support from a majority of both the nationalist and unionist factions.

Sinn Féin abstained in the motion, but MLA Conor Murphy says the party still wants Mrs Foster to step aside and allow a full investigation.

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Minister for Arts Heather Humphreys confirmed that she has added a surrender letter written by Pádraig Pearse to the Register of Cultural Objects after it failed to sell at auction.

Under Section 48 of the National Cultural Institutions Act, 1997, this will delay the issuing of an export licence for the letter for a year.

The letter was withdrawn from auction in recent weeks after it failed to reach the guide price of €1.5 million. The Department received a request for an export licence for the letter.