World Brief is back with the latest on U.S. efforts to quell the Israel-Hamas conflict, North Korea’s missile tests, and a national security law trial in Hong Kong. Correction: In last week’s COP28 outcomes article, the agreement was to stop adding carbon dioxide, not carbon monoxide, to the atmosphere by 2050. Also, it entailed tripling the use of renewable energy sources by 2050. Sign up for World Brief in your inbox every weekday for daily updates. Transition Timeline U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s visit to Tel Aviv focuses on Israel’s plans to transition to the next phase of its war against Hamas, moving from a high-intensity conflict to more targeted actions. Austin met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and others. While the U.S. supports Israel’s right to defend itself, there has been criticism of Netanyahu’s war strategy, with Austin warning the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) of potential strategic defeat if they continue indiscriminate attacks against Palestinians. The U.S. wants Israel to transition sooner, while Israeli leaders seek more time. Discussions also involve restarting hostage negotiations and prisoner swaps with Hamas. UNITED NATIONS The UN Security Council met on Monday to vote on a proposal calling for a cease-fire in Gaza and the release of hostages. The U.S. vetoed a similar resolution last month, citing a lack of decrying Hamas violence. Today’s Most Read The World This Week Tuesday, Dec. 19: Japan’s central bank announces its interest rate decision. Tuesday, Dec. 19, to Wednesday, Dec. 20: Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin attends talks with Chinese counterpart Li Qiang. Wednesday, Dec. 20: The Democratic Republic of the Congo holds general elections. Morocco hosts the Russian-Arab Cooperation Forum. What We’re Following. North Korea launched two intercontinental ballistic missiles on Monday, raising concerns about its nuclear capabilities. In Hong Kong, pro-democracy activist Jimmy Lai’s trial began, and Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi secured a third term. In Serbia, President Aleksandar Vucic’s party won the parliamentary election amidst opposition claims of voting irregularities. More than 55% of Chileans rejected a draft resolution to replace the Pinochet-era constitution. Odds and Ends: Turkey’s central bank chief Hafize Gaye Erkan opened up about her struggle with rising inflation, revealing that she moved in with her parents due to high rent in Istanbul. Similarly, living in Washington, D.C., I can relate to economic challenges.