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By Michael Georgy CAIRO (Reuters) - An Egyptian court on Saturday banned the armed wing of the Palestinian group Hamas and listed it as a terrorist organization. The ruling came days after the country faced some of the bloodiest attacks on security forces in years. Hamas is an offshoot of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood which the authorities have also declared a terrorist group and have repressed systematically since the army ousted one of its leaders, Mohamed Mursi, from the presidency in 2013. "The court ruled to ban the Qassam Brigades and to list it as a terrorist group," said judge Mohamed al-Sayid of the special Cairo court which deals with urgent cases.
Call it rum and cigar diplomacy: The few Americans allowed to visit Cuba are eager to finally legally bring home the communist island's once forbidden fruits. While Washington and Havana seek to normalize ties, US President Barack Obama added rum and cigars to the diplomatic mix in January by allowing Americans to fly back with $100 worth of Cuban tobacco and alcohol. The rum company Havana Club -- co-owned by the Cuban government and French spirits giant Pernod Ricard -- says it it is ready to sell to American visitors but also has a strategy to enter the US market -- if the decades-old embargo is lifted one day. Cuban cigar sellers also want to see Americans put Cohibas and Montecristos in their suitcases.