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Automakers reported strong US sales in July, boosted by sport utility vehicles, as the industry benefited again from lower gasoline prices and a steadily improving US economy. General Motors, the biggest US automaker, said July sales surged six percent from a year ago to 272,512 vehicles behind a strong performance in pickup trucks, SUVs and some sedan lines. "The second half of 2015 is off to a great start, with industry sales above expectations," said GM vice president for sales Kurt McNeil.
Nigeria's military said Monday it had "besieged" Boko Haram positions in the Islamist militant group's northeastern heartland after setting free 178 hostages, mainly women and children. The ongoing operation has led to the capture of a Boko Haram commander, according to the army, while a "large number" of the extremists have been killed in air strikes. The hostages were released on Sunday near Aulari, about 70 kilometres (40 miles) south of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, once a jihadist stronghold.