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Artist Vladimir Mnev displays a portrait of Ariel Sharon that he painted (epa) 11 January 2006 -- Hospital officials say Ariel Sharon's condition improved slightly today as doctors were trying to bring the Israeli prime minister out of a medically-induced coma.


A statement from the Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem where Sharon is being hospitalized said he remains under light sedation.


Doctors had earlier said the Israeli leader will be removed from sedatives completely today.


Sharon has been in an artificially-induced coma since suffering a massive stroke on 4 January, his second in just over two weeks.


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