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PAGE 6 MeDirect Bank (Malta) plc, company registration number C34125, is licensed to undertake the business of banking in terms of the Banking Act (Cap. 371) and investment services under the Investment Services Act (Cap. 370). Invest. Save. Trade. You can do it all at MeDirect. TRUTH IS OF NO COLOUR WWW.MALTATODAY.COM.MT/COVID19 SUNDAY • 23 JANUARY 2022 • ISSUE 1160 • PUBLISHED EVERY WEDNESDAY AND SUNDAY maltatoday JAMES DEBONO THE number of excess deaths from March to December 2020 in Malta was more than twice that of COVID-19 deaths, a report by the OECD and the European Observato- ry on Health Systems and Pol- icies reveals. While 217 people lost their life to COVID-19 between March and December 2020, Malta registered around 500 extra deaths over and above what is normally registered in pre-pandemic years. The cumulative mortali- ty rate from COVID-19 to the end of August 2021, was about 46% lower in Malta than the average 855/million across EU countries, com- pared with an EU average of about 1,590. MARIELLA DIMECH COVID deaths may have been 'underestimated' Femicide Say hello to Europe's newest power couple... the Metsolas PAGES 10-11 Consultants say refugee centres should be relocated due to noise pollution PG 15 HAL FAR TRACK Excess deaths over and above pre- pandemic averages being analysed in depth by Malta's public health officials Massive 35-storey tower proposed on St George's Bay as proponent for low-rise project approved in 2018 now goes back to Planning Authority asking for more PG6 The nightmare before the elections: Abela and the Muscat factor PAGES 2-5 The need to legislate a hate crime PAGE 12 Labour banks on Delia 'fraud' case STEWARD €1.95 A tall order for Malta's first chair of the fledgling 'cannabis authority' INTERVIEW MT2 MATTHEW VELLA THE Maltese government has entered into a stalemate in negotiations with Steward Healthcare, on the future of the maligned hospitals privatisation contract. MaltaToday is informed that the Labour administration – despite voting in an ad- ditional multi-million budgetary spend on staff resources for the American company's operations – is refusing an €80 million exit request for Steward. Instead it is awaiting the outcome on a court case filed by Nationalist MP Adrian Delia, the former Opposition leader, call- ing for the rescission of the Steward con- cession. PAGE 3

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