Here are the stories making the headlines locally and across the country this morning.

Tesco Bank to be bought by Barclays in £700m deal

Barclays is to buy the banking operations of Tesco in a deal worth £700m to the supermarket giant.

Barclays will acquire Tesco Bank's credit cards, unsecured personal loans and deposits.

In addition, the two firms have agreed a partnership, initially for 10 years, under which Barclays will market Tesco-branded banking services.

Tesco said that under the deal about 2,800 of its banking staff will transfer to Barclays.

Red Sea crisis ‘risks forcing Bank of England to rethink rate cut plans’

Attacks on cargo ships in the Red Sea risk forcing the Bank of England to raise interest rates, a leading policymaker has warned.

Catherine Mann, who has repeatedly voted for further rate rises, said pressure from inflated shipping and insurance costs could reignite the cost of living crisis and force Threadneedle Street to act.

She said: “I worry that such an upward inflation shock coming on the heels of the recent high inflation environment will be more swiftly incorporated into firms’ costs and prices, exacerbating upside momentum.”

A further warning was also made about relying on falling energy prices to keep pushing down inflation, particularly as other price pressures remain.

‘Great for the city’: Thousands turn out as Spectra’s 10th anniversary kicks off in style

Thousands of people gathered in Aberdeen tonight as the light festival Spectra kicked off to help brighten up the Granite City.

Celebrating its 10th year, “Scotland’s Festival of Light” lasts for four days and will end on Sunday.

The free event – which attracted 119,000 visitors last year – aims to brighten up Aberdeen’s winter nights with a showcase of artistic talent and this year, 19 different pieces of artwork and installations will be on display.

Read more in the P&J.

Chocolate: Cocoa price hits record high as El Niño hits crops

Global cocoa prices have hit a fresh record high as dry weather hurts crops in West Africa.

Cocoa prices on the New York commodities market reached a new all-time high of $5,874 (£4,655) a ton on Thursday.

The cost of the key ingredient for making chocolate has now roughly doubled since the start of last year.

Soaring cocoa prices are already filtering through to consumers and squeezing major chocolate makers.

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