BBC news with Nick Kelly.

Raging wildfires threatening the Greek capital have forced thousands of people from their homes. The greater Athens local governor has called the fire an ecological disaster. Malcolm Brabant reports from Athens.

The fire has been so enormous that the emergency services have been unable to cope. There weren’t enough planes to water-bomb all the hot spots. Other Mediterranean countries are sending reinforcements. But to many homeowners, their arrival would be too late. Mercifully, there have been no fatalities, but the biggest casualty has been the environment. The loss of so much foliage is going to have a negative impact on air quality in Athens. The wooded hillsides on the outskirts of the capital acted as its lungs and air conditioning units, providing much needed oxygen and cooler air.

The two-week offensive by the Yemeni government intended to crush a long-running rebellion in the north of the country is continuing with air strikes on rebel positions. The army says it's killed more than 100 militants, but rebel sources dispute this. Sebastian Usher reports.

The Yemeni army launched its offensive in the north two weeks ago with the aim of crushing the rebels once and for all. Air strikes, artillery and tanks have been used. The government claims success, saying two of the rebel leaders have been killed. But the rebels deny this and accuse the army of killing civilians. The militants have been sporadically fighting the government for years. They are drawn from a Zaidi Shia religious sect that seeks the restoration of Shia rule in the north of the mainly Sunni country. There have also been months of protests, anti-government clashes in the south, raising concern that Yemen's fragile stability could collapse.

26 accused of planning attacks in Egypt on the orders of the Lebanese movement Hezbollah have pleaded not guilty at the start of their trial in Cairo. They have been charged with planning to target Israeli tourists in the Sinai. Yolande Knell reports.

The accused include two Lebanese, five Palestinians and 19 Egyptians. Four remain on the run and have been tried in their absence. The Egyptian authorities began arresting members of the alleged Hezbollah cell last year, ratcheting up tensions with the Lebanese group and its state backer Iran. Relations worsened in April after the Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah admitted that one of the Lebanese men now on trial was his agent in Egypt charged with smuggling arms to Hamas.

The lawyer who defended the Lockerbie airliner bomber, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, during the 1990s has CRIticized the decision of the Scottish authorities to send him back to Libya. Ibrahim Legwell said releasing Mr. Megrahi to hospital in Britain might have shown greater compassion because of Libya's lack of specialist cancer care. Mr. Megrahi has terminal prostate cancer. The Scottish authorities have again defended their decision to release Mr. Megrahi on compassionate grounds despite fierce CRIticism.

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A state-run newspaper in Cuba has published a new picture of the ailing former leader Fidel Castro in which he appears in much better health. Mr. Castro has been out of the public eye since he underwent an operation in 2006. Here's Emilio San Pedro of our America's desk.

This latest image of Fidel Castro which takes up a large part of the Communist Youth newspaper shows him talking to the Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa in Havana. In it, a relaxed Mr. Castro is standing and wearing a white dress shirt. More importantly, he appears to be in better health than at any point since he became ill in 2006. The very fact that the picture was given such prominence in the communist party newspaper demonstrates how keen the Cuban authorities are to dispel the persistent rumors in Cuba and abroad surrounding Mr. Castro's health.

An influential member of the Iranian parliament is reported to have said that the nominee for the post of defense minister Ahmad Vahidi will be confirmed in the job despite accusation that he was involved in the deadly bombing of a Jewish cultural center in Argentina in 1994. The chairman of the Foreign Policy and National Security Committee, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, told the official IRNA news agency that the allegations against General Vahidi might even increase his support among MPs. The Iranian parliament is expected to vote on General Vahidi's nomination on September 1st.

And in CRIcket, England have regained the Ashes after winning the final deciding Test against their great rival Australia on the fourth day of play at the Oval in London. The England player Andrew Flintoff who's retiring from Test cricket said it was a moment to treasure.

"It seems a bit of dream to be involved in an Ashes winning side again, to be at the Oval, walking around the ground with the urn and the medal round your neck. It's almost surreal in some ways. I think it will take some time to sink in. I am not quite sure if I have ever thought I’ll get to this again. So having been here, I'm sure I'm gonna enjoy it." Andrew Flintoff.

And that's the latest BBC news.

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