The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees reported that 866,000 asylum applications were registered in industrialized countries last year, the highest number of claims in 22 years and a 45 percent increase over 2013. • Pope Francis prayed for the repose of the souls of the 150 passengers and crew of a Germanwings plane that was deliberately crashed in the French Alps on March 24. • The newly erected Diocese of Nogales in northern Mexico, located along the border of Arizona, will be headed by Bishop José Leopoldo González González. • An online petition issued by the Global Catholic Climate Movement on March 23 called on world leaders “to drastically cut carbon emissions to keep the global temperature rise below the dangerous threshold of 1.5°C, and to aid the world’s poorest in coping with climate change impacts.” • The United States removed 45 Cuban companies, individuals and ships from a sanctions blacklist for suspected links to terrorism or international drug trafficking, though Cuba remains on the U.S. State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism. • Kara Tippetts, 38, an evangelical Christian blogger, wife and mother of four who advocated against assisted-suicide after being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2012, died on March 22.