The following news items were compiled from Associated Press reports.

House approves individual religious exemption to health care law
WASHINGTON — Individuals who practice faith healing instead of seeking medical attention would be exempt from the health care law’s insurance requirement under legislation passed March 11 by the House.

The bill would exempt Americans who notify the IRS that covered health care would violate their “sincerely held religious beliefs.” Insincere applicants would forfeit the exemption and be fined if they voluntarily sought medical treatment. California Democrat Henry Waxman warned that the legislation would force the IRS to approve almost all requests for the exemption or try to determine whether religious beliefs are “sincerely held.” He said the IRS also would have difficulty determining whether an exempt person’s medical treatment was voluntary. It’s unlikely to pass the Democratic Senate.

Donations taken from safe at Osteen’s megachurch

HOUSTON — Authorities are investigating after $600,000 in checks and cash was stolen from a safe at Pastor Joel Osteen’s Houston megachurch, which has one of the largest congregations in the country.

On March 11, Police spokesman Kese Smith said $200,000 in cash and $400,000 in checks were stolen from a safe sometime between 2:30 p.m. Sunday and 8:30 a.m. Monday.

The theft was reported March 10 by a church employee and an off-duty sheriff’s deputy who provides security at the facility. Smith said no arrests have been made.

Lakewood Church said the money and checks taken, as well as some envelopes with written credit card information, were limited to funds given during the past weekend’s Saturday and Sunday services.

More than 40,000 people attend weekly services led by Osteen, whose televised sermons reach nearly 100 countries.

UN starts Central African Republic investigation

GENEVA — Leaders of a U.N. investigation of human rights abuses in Central African Republic said they will look into “reports of genocide.”

The chair of the investigation, Bernard Acho Muna, said he’s concerned that hate propaganda used by both Christians and Muslims in the conflict will fuel more violence.

Political disputes in Central African Republic are turning increasingly sectarian as Muslims are killed, Qurans are destroyed and mosques are set on fire. Tens of thousands of Muslims have fled to neighboring countries in recent months.

In December, the 15-nation Security Council mandated an investigation of human rights abuses in Central African Republic for an initial period of one year to compile information and help identify perpetrators with an aim toward prosecuting them.