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US diplomats banned from Ice Bucket Challenge

It is the charity stunt that has got everyone from billionaires to pop stars and even former US presidents drenched by buckets of freezing water.

But don’t expect American diplomats to get involved in the fast-growing Ice Bucket Challenge -- in support of Lou Gehrig’s disease research -- any time soon.

The State Department has issued an internal telegram forbidding US ambassadors and other high-profile foreign service officers from participating in the forfeit, in which people either pledge $100 to ALS research or record themselves getting soaked by frigid water, then post it online and challenge others to do the same.

"It’s not just about ambassadors. Federal government ethics rules prevent us from using our public offices, such as -- high public offices such as ambassadors -- for private gain, no matter how worthy the cause is," State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said Thursday.

"For that reason, high-ranking State Department officials are unfortunately unable to participate in the ice bucket challenge."

President Barack Obama has declined a dare from Ethel Kennedy, the 86-year-old widow of late senator Robert F. Kennedy. Obama promised to make a gift instead.

Pop star Justin Bieber and former US president George W Bush and Microsoft founder Bill Gates are just some of the celebrities who have drenched themselves in icy water in support for the cause.

And its popularity has spread around the globe, particularly to Australia, Britain, Canada, Germany and New Zealand.

However, US Ambassador to Thailand Kristie Kenny has already joined the charity campaign, according to a photo she has tweeted.

"Can’t choose just one. Join me in supporting charities of your choice. Volunteer, make a difference," she said in her Tweet message in which she posted her photo being poured with water.




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