Spain faces ecological disaster as bid to empty Greek ship fails Rescue crews yesterday struggled to hold back a giant oil slick off Spain’s northwestern coast as dead birds washed up on beaches and rough seas hampered efforts to transfer 70,000 tons of oil out of a battered Greek-owned tanker over 100 kilometers offshore. Environmental groups reiterated fears that the Bahamas-flagged Prestige – which has lost close to 4,000 tons of oil since it sprung a leak in a storm on Wednesday – would split in two, as the hole in its side is now 50 meters wide. Spanish authorities suspended fishing along a 96-kilometer stretch of the coastline. Yetsterday, the Prestige’s Greek captain, Apostolos Magouras, was remanded in custody on charges of disobeying authorities and damaging the environment. Smugglers sought Port authorities from the city of Volos and the Aegean island of Skiathos searched in vain on Saturday for the vessel which carried 28 Iraqi migrants, discovered on Friday, to Volos, the Merchant Marine Ministry said on Saturday. Also on Saturday, Kalymnos port authorities detained a Greek man and three self-proclaimed Turks – two carrying forged Bulgarian passports – after a coast guard patrol boat spotted the four in a fishing boat off the eastern coast of the Dodecanesean island. Corfu quake An undersea quake, measuring 4.8 on the Richter scale, occurred yesterday evening off the northwestern coast of the Ionian island of Corfu. No damage or injuries were reported. Farmers protest Farmers from Tyrnavos in Thessaly, central Greece, who are demanding state compensation for crop damage they suffered during last January’s frosts, are to shut off access to the northern town with their tractors on Wednesday, protesters decided late on Friday. Albanian books The first exclusively Albanian bookshop in Greece opens in Thessaloniki today following its official launch yesterday by former Albanian President Rexhep Meidani, who traveled to the northern city specifically for the inauguration that was attended by dozens of local Albanians. Meidani, who was accompanied by a senior official from his country’s Culture Ministry, stressed the need for the education of Albanian immigrants in Greek alongside the preservation of their mother tongue. Fossilized forest Scientists on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos have recovered several prehistoric tree trunks – fossilized following volcanic upheavals millions of years ago – up to 10 meters in length following excavations in the island’s western region of Skiamouda, near Antissa, the Athens News Agency reported yesterday. The finds include fallen and upright trees, including the 10-meter trunk of a conifer tree with a 2-meter perimeter. The trunks are the continuation of a fossilized forest concentrated around the western port of Sigri. Firebomb attack A homemade explosive device, comprising three gas canisters tied together, caused minor damage to a bank in the central Athens district of Neapoli when it detonated early yesterday morning. Those behind the attack had not been identified yesterday.