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In Magento Admin System->Configuration->General->Countries options default country is --Please Select-- but In frontend it's null. Check the attached image. In billing.phtml templates echo $this->getCountryHtmlSelect('billing'); is showing list of all countries fine from admin but when by default it's showing blank if '--Please Select--' is selected.

Why it is showing blank tab instead of '--Please Select--' ? How I can show all counties with '--Please Select--' selected by default?

enter image description here

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I've got it working using following code in billing.phtml

<?php $_countries = Mage::getResourceModel('directory/country_collection')
                                    ->loadData()
                                    ->toOptionArray(false) ?>
<?php if (count($_countries) > 0): ?>
    <select name="country" id="country">
        <option value="">-- Please Select --</option>
        <?php foreach($_countries as $_country): ?>
            <option value="<?php echo $_country['value'] ?>">
                <?php echo $_country['label'] ?>
            </option>
        <?php endforeach; ?>
    </select>
<?php endif; ?>

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