European papers on Thursday are horrified by images of British troops allegedly abusing Iraqi prisoners and consider the implications for Britain's image abroad and Prime Minister Tony Blair's standing at home.
In France, a series of public-sector strikes continues to preoccupy the press, while in Spain, the national bishops' apparent relaxation of the rules on the use of condoms in the fight against Aids generates a debate in two dailies.
Abu Ghraib revisited
Under the headline "Britain's Abu Ghraib", Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung expresses horror at photos of the alleged abuse of Iraqi civilians released by a court martial on Tuesday.
"They are despicable, inhuman and nothing can explain or excuse them," it says.
The paper believes that the images, which it compares to those of Abu Ghraib, could have doubly devastating effects.
On the one hand, the daily suggests, they will be seized upon by radicals and terrorists in Iraq and, on the other, they will have a disastrous impact for the prime minister at home.
Even a politician as skilful as Mr Blair would find it difficult to erase such pictures from people's minds with mere words, it argues.
Die Welt says the photos "take your breath away".
"Why do people who have lost their inhibitions to such an extent even feel called upon to document their behaviour in photos?" it asks in disbelief.
Die Tageszeitung questions the role of the commanding officers.
It notes that at least 20 soldiers were present when the alleged abuse took place and believes it "highly unlikely" that the local commander was unaware of it.
The Swiss Le Temps points out that the British were "shocked by the pictures of their torturer-soldiers in Iraq".
"In a country like Britain, where military institutions enjoy huge respect, this has come as a terrible blow," the paper writes, pointing out that with only 10 days to go before the Iraqi elections, the trial "could not have come at a worse time".
France's Le Monde says the scandal creates fresh difficulties for Mr Blair, who is already facing strong criticism from his party and the general public to the Iraq war.
"This scandal puts the spotlight once again on Mr Blair's foreign policy and his relationship with the US administration."
Winter of discontent
As France braces itself for more strikes against proposed reforms in the public sector, Liberation accuses Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin of failing to tackle the issues at the centre of the dispute.
The government "can afford to lend a deaf ear both to a few hundred disgruntled rail users and several million (public sector) strikers", the daily argues, because it believes that budgets reign supreme.
The government is "playing with two variables - the number of wage earners and the overall wage bill" and it now finds itself "caught up in its own purse strings".
Mr Raffarin "has chosen to duck the issue rather than confront it. But what else has he done other than ducking for the past 18 months?" it asks.
Meanwhile in Spain, El Pais is disappointed that Spanish bishops have "backtracked" on their support for the use of condoms to fight Aids, suggesting that they acted on "a swift and sharp call to order from Rome".
In an apparent shift from traditional Roman Catholic teachings which ban contraception, a spokesman for the bishops said on Tuesday that the use of condoms and practising abstinence appeared the best strategy to tackle the disease.
"The surprise" at the initial announcement and the "hope of many", says El Periodico "lasted only a few hours".
The bishops' opposition goes against the international bodies and scientific evidence and could put many more lives in danger, El Pais says.
"If the Church insists upon upholding chastity and marital fidelity as the only (moral) methods of Aids prevention," it adds, "then it should take responsibility for the grave risks it creates to the health and lives of those who breach such a norm."
"In opposing or conditioning the state's preventive measures", the paper argues, the Church "is interfering in something that is none of its business" with an attitude that "might pose a serious threat to public health".
"We would all understand," El Periodico says, "if the Catholic Church were to declare it morally preferable for the faithful, but without excluding other methods [as] immoral."
"But the Vatican's intention," it believes, "is to hinder... a method that saves human lives." So the Church "should not be scandalized if many believe that this where the real immorality lies".
The European press review is compiled by BBC Monitoring from internet editions of the main European newspapers and some early printed editions.