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Jorge Saenz

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For a number of reasons, natural and human, people have recently evacuated or otherwise abandoned a number of places around the world -- large and small, old and new. Gathering images of deserted areas into a single photo essay, one can get a sense of what the world might look like if humans were to vanish from the planet altogether. Collected here are recent scenes from nuclear-exclusion zones, blighted urban neighborhoods, towns where residents left to escape violence, unsold developments built during the real estate boom, ghost towns, and more. [41 photos]

A tree grows from the top of a chimney in an abandoned factory yard in Luque, on the outskirts of Asuncion, Paraguay, on October 2 , 2011. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)

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Fireworks explode in the sky over Bucharest, Romania, at midnight, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012, during street celebrations of the new year. Large crowds gathered around the word to bring in 2012. Los Angeles Fire Department firefighters assist a man out of his apartment along with a cage of birds as multiple cars burn in a [...]

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Since October 14, more than 6,000 athletes have been participating in the 2011 Pan-American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. The athletes, who hail from 42 nations in North and South America, are competing in traditional categories such as diving, fencing, and wrestling, but there are also newer sports on the program, including roller skating, BMX biking, and waterskiing. Collected here is a small set of images from the past two weeks in Guadalajara. The closing ceremony will take place on Sunday. [50 photos]

Fireworks light up the Omnilife Stadium during opening ceremonies for the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, on October 14, 2011.(AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)

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