Australia seeks to extradite IS terror suspect
Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona hailed Fidel Castro as “a second father”.
In the US, there were sharply different reactions from outgoing President Barack Obama and Presidentelect Donald Trump.
Mr Obama, who embarked on a historic rapprochement with Cuba in 2014, said the US extended a “hand of friendship” to the Cuban people.
But Mr Trump called Castro “a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades”.
The future of the US-Cuban thaw looks uncertain under Mr Trump.
He has threatened to reverse course if Cuba does not allow greater human rights. Cuba says it refuses to be dictated to by foreign powers.
Fidel Castro came to power in 1959 as a black-bearded, cigar-chomping 32-year-old, in a revolution against dictator Fulgencio Batista.
“When this war is over, a much longer greater war will begin: the war that I am going to wage against them,” he said in 1958, referring to the United States. “That will be my true destiny.” Living by the slogan “socialism or death”, he kept the faith to the end.
He endured more than 600 assassination attempts, according to aides, and the disastrous US-backed Bay of Pigs invasion attempt in 1961.
His outrage over that botched plot contributed to the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, when the Soviet Union agreed to his request to send ballistic missiles to Cuba.
The discovery of the missiles by the US pushed the world to the brink of nuclear war.
“If I am considered a myth, the United States deserves the credit,” Mr Castro said in 1988.
Born August 13, 1926, to a prosperous Spanish immigrant landowner and a Cuban mother of humble background, Mr Castro was said to be a quick learner and a keen baseball player.
He formed a guerrilla opposition to Batista’s US-backed government, leading a failed uprising in 1953.
Defending himself at his trial, the trained lawyer said defiantly, “History will absolve me.”
After serving two years in prison then going into exile in Mexico, he set sail for Cuba on December 2, 1956, with a band of rebels.
Twenty-five months later, they ousted Batista and Mr Castro was named prime minister.
He threw Cuba’s lot in with the Soviet Union, which bankrolled his regime until 1989, when the Eastern Bloc’s collapse sent Cuba’s economy plunging. Still, Mr Castro managed to hang on.
He ceded power to Raul, now 85, in July 2006 to undergo intestinal surgery. He faded from public view, but continued publishing diatribes in the state press and wielding influence behind the scenes.
A Casanova with many lovers, Castro married three times and is known to have fathered eight children.
He was last seen in public on his 90th birthday on August 13. – AUSTRALIA is seeking the extradition of its most wanted Islamic State terror suspect who was thought to be dead but has been captured by Turkey.
The announcement followed a New York Times report that so-called Islamic State group operative Neil Prakash had been caught by Turkish forces several weeks ago as he tried to enter their country from Syria.
“An individual we believe to be Neil Prakash has been arrested and detained in Turkey,” a government spokesperson said.
“He is subject to a formal extradition request from Australia.”
Mr Prakash was a senior recruiter for IS and has been linked to terror plots to kill Australians.
In May he was reported dead by Canberra on advice from Washington that he had been killed in a US airstrike in northern Iraq.
However, the Times said he was only wounded, not killed, in Mosul on April 29. Mr Prakash left Australia in 2013.
He has been linked to a failed Melbourne plot to behead a police officer in April last year, as well as to an 18-year-old who was killed after stabbing two police officers in Melbourne in 2014.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has called Mr Prakash the senior Australian operative in IS.
Reported to be of Indian, Fijian and Cambodian background, Mr Prakash used the internet “to promote the evil ideology” of the jihadist group “and recruit Australian men, women and children – many of whom are either still in the conflict zone or dead. –