Coverage of riots in cities around the UK has made headlines across the globe, with interest in the story intensified by London's hosting of the 2012 Olympic Games.

Coverage of riots in cities around the UK has made headlines across the globe, with interest in the story intensified by London's hosting of the 2012 Olympic Games.

The New York Times said a "dark shadow" had been cast on plans for the $15bn extravaganza and Britain would have to satisfy Olympic officials there was no risk of the games being disrupted, or ruined, by a replay of unrest.

The Washington Post called it "an enormously damaging blow" to the city with the games less than a year away.

The worst urban violence in 20 years had seen parts of London "morphed into lawless no man's lands".

A spokesman for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said security at the games was a top priority.

"It is, however, directly handled by the local authorities, as they know best what is appropriate and proportionate. We are confident they will do a good job in this domain."

Images of fires and looting across the capital raised questions about the Government's ability to keep the city safe, according to The Economic Times.

"There will be those who are this week weighing up a job offers based in London and other financial centres.

"The scenes on the television may be the marginal deciding factor in their choice. Boris Johnson, London's mayor, is at last returning from holiday. He has a city to defend."

Johnson, who cut short his holiday in North America, told London's Evening Standard he was sickened by the unfolding events which he watched on TV in Calgary while waiting for his flight.

"I felt ashamed - ashamed at the actions of a small but significant minority of our fellow Londoners, and the damage they are doing to their own economic prospects and the reputation of London around the planet."